Every day in the United Kingdom, we spend approximately 2.5 million pounds on coffee. I, like many others, think nothing of walking into a high street coffee shop and spending three pound on my Massimo, Double Shot, Skinny Gingerbread Latte; so why do people baulk at the idea of paying that for a mobile game? I’m Professor Kelvin Harris, Codec Moments’ resident scientist. I am on a mission to document interesting games that cost less than your cappuccino, which might entertain you at home, on your way to work, or even during your coffee break. This week’s Cost of a Coffee game is Surgeon Simulator from Bossa on iOS.
Surgeon Simulator is to Surgery, like Pilot Wings is to flying an Airbus A380. It’s fair to say that it’s not an accurate representation of how complicated surgery should be performed. You play as a surgeon whom I suspect is called Nigel, going through his basic training, which consists of a game of operation where you smash the ribs with a hammer and rip out some organs. Once this extensive induction is completed, you sign your disclaimer and off you go to perform a heart transplant on your poor patient. Bob. The game consists of four operations to be unlocked as you progress, starting with a heart transplant before progressing to a double kidney transplant, eye transplant and finally the teeth transplant. Now I’m not sure that a heart transplant is the easiest of all surgical procedures and I don’t think a teeth transplant is actually a thing at all, but we’ve already highlighted Surgeon Simulators patent disregard for accuracy, so let’s not dwell on that. When you complete these procedures you unlock corridor mode, where you will repeat the operations whilst dashing down the 26 miles of corridor at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
The game is hard. The tutorial does show you the basics, but it takes practice to get to grips with the touchscreen controls and using the various surgical implements can be haphazard at best. Tools can fly from your grasp or be knocked off the trolleys onto the floor, as you play the part of ‘surgeon with no fine motor control and complete disregard for sterility of surgical equipment’. Many times have I attempted to make a fine incision, only to accidently pierce a vital organ with considerable force, killing poor Bob. The game is also quite gruesome, with the touch screen shortcomings applying to vital organs as much as your tools. Organs can pop out of your hand with a satisfying ‘squitch’ and fly across the theatre; there is even a trophy for doing this with the donor heart in the first operation, if you’re feeling particularly malpracticey. There’s more complexity than simply slicing, dicing, extracting and losing vital organs; you’ll need to monitor Bob’s vital signs and administer anaesthetic, lifesaving drugs and even use defibrillators on him if his condition worsens significantly.
Surgeon Simulator is a fun, but frustrating game. Visually the game is gloriously gruesome and it’s outrageously funny to see Bob’s lungs leap across the operating theatre, when you tried to place them neatly in a dish. Sadly it’s the same lack of fine control that makes the use of implements frustrating and negates a lot of the skill you would wish to exhibit in a title of this nature. It’s expensive for a mobile game too at £3.99, coming in at more than a Massimo Toffee Nut Caramella and a Chocolate Babyccino. My advice would be to stick to your coffee, but if you see if on offer you should whip it up faster than I can whip out Bob’s small intestine.
If you would like to recommend a game that costs less than a cappuccino, contact us via twitter @codecmoments, visit facebook.com/codecmoments or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s prof with one f for the illiterate. See you next time.