Surgeon Simulator retains its grotesque hilarity in iPad debut
Surgeon Simulator was one of my favorite PC games of 2013 thanks in large part to its ridiculous premise and intentionally horrible control scheme. The game just debuted on iPad, throwing out the overly complex keyboard commands for overly complex touch controls, and amazingly the formula still works.
Surgeon Simulator is a bit of a parody of the hundreds of "simulator" games that flood the PC, and it's anything but realistic. You're given the freedom to perform complicated medical procedures with little in the way of hand-holding or direction. The patient's body is presented before you with organs exposed, and it's up to you to use the tools on your table to complete the operation.
On PC, the game assigned a key to each finger on your hand, which resulted in hilarious fumbling of surgical instruments, random objects, and even human organs. On the iPad, things are somewhat streamlined, and grabbing items -- which was a challenge on its own in the original iteration -- is much easier this time around. That being said, actually using medical tools is just as difficult as it's ever been. You can tap on an area you want to direct your instrument, but angling your hammer, saw, or scalpel is still a crapshoot.
The patient's death results in a "game over," but just about everything else is totally fine -- including yanking and discarding entire organs. If you find your patient losing blood you can calm the flow by administering a syringe of mysterious green fluid, but as with all the tools, using it isn't as easy as it sounds.
There are a few definite drawbacks to the iPad version, including a tendency for your equipment to get stuck inside the patient's body or on your tablet or other equipment. This wasn't as big of a problem in the PC version, but it's extremely common on the tablet. It doesn't ruin the experience, and it's oftentimes hilarious when you see your hammer somehow stuck behind a patient's ribcage, but it's occasionally frustrating as well.
Despite that minor complaint, the game is still a fantastic, one-of-a-kind experience. I'm really glad the developer, Bossa Studios, decided to bring the game to iOS, and at US$5.99 it's still a bargain. Pick it up and saw some bones.
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