Autopsy Simulator Review

Autopsy Simulator header screenshot

Considering the vast amount of killing and death that takes place in many games, it’s rare to have any consideration of what happens afterwards. Other than technical discussions about whether enemy bodies remain visible or disappear to save on processing power, the fate of the dead generally remains unanswered. Well, Autopsy Simulator promises to change this and puts the cadaver front and centre. Or, at least that’s what the premise of the game suggests. As things stand, however, the game actually turns out to be a rather different kettle of fish.

The simulator genre in general suggests an attempt to more or less accurately represent some kind of profession or activity, starting off with simple tutorials before developing in complexity and difficulty such games have encompassed everything from farming to power washing. Such an approach being applied to the messy but fascinating business of working a mortuary had my interest piqued. Things start off relatively well as the tutorial aspects are introduced through the fantastical in-game technique of your character filming lectures for prospective students. This beginning left me excited for the addition of more developed examples and looking forward to the training wheels being taken off. Unfortunately this never really happens and the five autopsies you carry out during the game are all strictly on rails.

Autopsy Simulator tools and gameplay

Aesthetically, Autopsy Simulator is solid enough with effective graphics and audio. The interior of the bodies and associated organs are detailed and respond to your interventions with a grisly but realistic feeling of squishiness – obviously I’m not speaking from direct experience here! Voice acting is far more important here than I expected going in, but is functional rather than exceptional. This is a shame as what the game morphs into absolutely requires you to have sympathies for your player character. This is a game that follows the trend of ‘simulator’ games being infused with stories, and it becomes clear early on that you are mourning the loss of your late wife, which becomes the dominant motif throughout. While this could have made for an emotionally involving narrative, the execution is lacking.

Rather than a clinical but mechanically deep simulator or a genuinely creepy thriller that takes advantage of the natural unease created by the proximity of corpses in the game, Autopsy Simulator plays out as a pretty generic sad guy horror game with a twist ending that is as predictable as it is disappointing. A great deal of the game ends up with you wandering around areas finding the next interactive object to unlock the next section with no real puzzles or player involvement. As a result I found myself stuck between wanting the narrative parts to be over and finding the autopsies underwhelming and overly simplistic.

The elephant in the room is the inevitable comparisons and parallels to Mortuary Assistant – many people who enjoyed that game a couple years ago will be drawn toward Autopsy Simulator for the aesthetics and seeming tone alone, but they are very different experiences. Mortuary Assistant is much more a horror game than Autopsy Simulator, which feels much more like a hidden object game and walking sim set in and around the morgue.

Autopsy Simulator environment and graphics

All this being said, there are plans for an extra autopsy only mode which will be added as a free update in the future and if this is handled well then it might be worth revisiting what feels more like a proof of concept attached to a sophomoric thriller narrative than a full game. It is a real shame as the base mechanics for the actual autopsy sections, with the building blocks of possible puzzles to ascertain cause of death, have real potential. It’s just potential that is currently unfulfilled.

Summary
I went into Autopsy Simulator with expectations and hopes for a game that confronted the messy realities of mortality and gave an insight into the neglected world of the mortuary. However, the game at present is so preoccupied with telling a hackneyed story that it is difficult to recommend. Hopefully the promised autopsy only mode will remedy this.
Good
  • Interesting autopsy mechanics
  • Solid graphical style
Bad
  • Predictable and tired story
  • Far too linear and restrictive
  • Main character never stops sighing
4
Written by
Just your average old gamer with a doctorate in Renaissance literature. I can mostly be found playing RPGs, horror games, and oodles of indie titles. Just don't ask me to play a driving game.

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