Surgeon Simulator might be one of the most simple virtual reality games on the Steam Store, but it is certainly one of the most entertaining games for your short time solving how to save a life. This doesn’t feel like a full game, and we wouldn’t categorize it as one, but it definitely worth the download, especially with the experience being completely free. The worst thing that will come out of this game is ten minutes of uninterrupted pure joy and fun.
In this review we will be covering the aspect of this game that make it so great. Albeit a short one, this game is going to leave loving virtual reality a little more than you did yesterday. From the tools used to the mechanics of a beating heart, this in-depth review will give you everything you need to know before you go download this free game from the Steam Store.
Getting Up and Started
This file is a small 250 MB. It is a small slice of any other VR game on the market that you will download on your PC, and in some cases, much more fun and entertaining. Regardless of your internet speed (unless you are working with a 2005 router), you will have this game installed within seconds. For us, it was downloaded before we could find which file we stored it in. It is a quick and painless process that is seamless in the game playing process.
Because you were downloading it from Steam and not Viveport, you will be able to make it have its icon on the desktop. It will make it a shortcut that allows you to start the game inside of your VR headset by simply double-clicking the icon.
Type of Game
Despite all of the categories this game is in, we were unsure to consider it before we started playing. Usually the type of game can help you know what to expect, but because this game is so short, they don’t give anything away in this short game, but you shortly find out what it is all about. You are tasked with replacing the heart of the patient. Interestingly enough, the patient looks nearly identical to you. If you look straight ahead, you will notice that the person that is representing you inside of virtual reality looks strangely similar to you.
As his heart rate increases, you realize you are operating on a human timer. This adds a level of immersion, but you are never fooled that you are in a real operating room. Just look at your surroundings. This game is a puzzle, just like real surgery, as you try to figure out how to replace this brute’s heart in the most effective way possible.
Just like any surgeon game or simulator, good or bad, you want to be in first-person. Unless you are the teacher trying to observe a student, first-person is the way to go. As a doctor, you need to be exact in your movements and technique. Although this game doesn’t allow you to be too exact (more on that later), it allows you to see your hands chin in the first-person. Bossa Studios made a fun game, and their perspective was much needed.
Theme and Story
We aren’t going to rank this game against other typical large story VR games that are $30, as that just doesn’t make any sense. We will base this judgment against other free games, and see how it stacks up. There are many free games with no objective and are simply arcade-styled. This game doesn’t do that, but it also doesn’t provide users anything past the first level. Most story-based free VR games at least provide something a little more, and it wouldn’t have hurt to see this game get a fun extra level.
There are two different controls on this game, although they operate as the same thing. We played this game with the Valve controller, so the grip is already hard enough to use. Luckily for us, and anyone else that hates using the grip button, the trigger button works just the same, although it looks slightly different. You don’t need to do anything else in this game other than your hands and thumbs to cut your buddy up and open the fridge. Unless of course you want to watch the TV while you do surgery, you can turn that on with your open hand.
Music and Sound
There is music win this game, but it is simple instrumentals. Depending on how you are doing in the operating room, the music will change. The closer you get to completing the surgery correctly, the more upbeat the music becomes. The closer you get to kill your patient, the more intense and scary the music becomes. It is a fun way to make the sounds in this game imperative. On the flip side, the sounds of the tools you use are very secondary and what you would exactly expect from a free game. Nothing to write home about, other than that they are there.
This game can be played at room-scale or sitting/standing. With that being said, the only reason you would ever be needing room-scale is if you throw your saw across the table and need to go get it. If you are sitting or standing, the patient will be directly placed right under your hands. This will also give you the ability to reach and grab everything you are needing inside of the game. It isn’t perfect, but at least it doesn’t make you sick while playing.
This game doesn’t have any sort of locomotion system, so getting sick inside of VR isn’t going to be a problem in your short time inside of this game. The developers were very cautious of this as they completely avoided any movements or systems that leave you feeling sick when you put the headset on and take it off. Even if you deny have your VR legs under you just yet, and your stomach is even slightly sensitive, this game is going to be great for you.
Environment and Immersion
There is not a big environment in this game, and there is only a little bit of immersion. Other than being surrounded by the room in 360° from a VR headset, nothing was too realistic. The human was completely oversized, the tools are nothing the resemble too much doctor tools, and the blood looked nothing like anything you would hope to see. It is not the highest graphics inside of VR, and that is okay for this free game.
This game isn’t going to end up getting a super high score, but it is something we would recommend. A short download time for free, a fun little story embedded in the game, and a rewarding ending made this game very enjoyable for the half-hour it was in front of our eyes. If you have a small 250 MB to spare and have some time to burn on your headset, we highly recommend messing around inside of this game. The score doesn’t reflect just how fun this game can be.