We’ve covered the iPad version of Surgeon Simulator before in Mobile Watch, but that was very much a hands off demonstration from Bossa of an early version of the game. We saw how they had changed up the controls, moving the hand out of the game and changing the way you handled objects or looked around quite a bit.
But now that we’ve got our hands on the full version, Surgeon Simulator Touch is so much more than that. It’s really expansive for a mobile game, and ultimately an iPad provides a brilliant interface for hilariously failing at transplanting a heart, kidney, eyeball or tooth.
Yes, tooth. There’s dentistry and optical surgery in this game – you’ll be taking eyeballs out in the most grotesque of ways (with a hammer and scalpel) or drilling the bad teeth, along with the good ones, out of your patient’s skull. It’s brilliantly humorous as well as downright disgusting at times, but there’s also a sense of challenge which is unmatched in many other games.
It’s just ridiculous that it is delivered through such a medium. Surgeon Simulator is arguably the most popular sim right now, and there’s barely anything linking it to the real world.
But those new controls bring it even closer. While you’d be using keyboard and mouse on PC, you’ll be getting your hands stuck into your touch screen. Two fingers moves the view around, while a lone digit picks up an item – be it hammer, bone saw or scalpel – and then a tap while holding the item gives you somewhere to aim. After tapping, you’ll be able to smash, saw or snip the desired location, performing an odd form of surgery.
It sounds remarkably easy, but it’s still extremely hard. Heart surgery and kidney transplants might be a bit easier than their keyboard counterparts, but cutting the eye tendons and drilling teeth often leads to a few surgery mishaps which soon turn to murder.
It’s also visually impressive. While I’m not sure how it’d fare on older devices, on a retina iPad Mini the visuals are sharp, clear and the framerate is constantly solid. It’s about on par with the PC version, which is really something to be marvelled at, considering the devices it can run on. The background music is also heavily inspired by hospital dramas, and thankfully there’s no screams on the audio track, which would just make it even harder.
Beyond all of that, this is also quite a deep game. There’s everything you’d expect with surgery, but Nigel’s desk is full of easter eggs, including his own device – the iZac – which features some brilliant vector notes and even games.
This is a game where not only can you play the main surgery mode, but you can tap the in-game device and play a twisted version of Snake – dubbed Worm – or even a brilliant version of Flappy Bird named Floaty Dot. It’s very simple, but it shows how easy it would be to create a clone of that.
Things like that are what makes Surgeon Simulator Touch so brilliant. And as well as the easter eggs and enhancements in gameplay, you’re now able to record your playthroughs and upload straight to YouTube or share on social feeds. This was a huge draw of the original, and Bossa clearly know this, including their own recording functionality in a very impressive and sleek way.
And then there’s even online multiplayer. This takes it beyond what we’d expect on mobile platforms, as you’re able to invite friends or play randomly against someone in a head to head match. While you can’t see what they’re up to, little messages will pop up in the corner telling you how they’re doing. It can become quite tense and really adds a new dynamic to the surgery.
If you played Surgeon Simulator on PC, or haven’t played it at all, then you’re really missing out by not owning this version. It feels like the true home for the game, and there are some really impressive inclusions which take it to the next level. It’s a hilarious, grotesque bargain which should not be missed. Rubbish simulation, though.