In most video games, the focus of the gameplay is carving through as many enemies as possible. But what about video games that are about healing others vs. hurting them? That’s where medical games come in.
In most of the games of this genre, the main goal is similar: to treat and cure as many patients as possible. The injuries range from sprained ankles to something much more devastating. Some games even throw in other goals like building and running a successful hospital.
All of the games on this list are sure to make anyone feel like they’re an actual doctor. Here are the 14 best medical video games, ranked.
Updated by Juliet Childers on November 28th, 2020: Medical-focused video games have gained popularity in recent years. They can be used for educational purposes — especially with the application of virtual or augmented reality. But plenty of people enjoy medical games for entertainment, too. Whether it’s cleaning up spaceships or building a hospital, these are the games to play for medical field enthusiasts.
14 Rex Ronan: Experimental Surgeon
This game originally came out in 1994 for the SNES console. The game’s age doesn’t detract from the intriguing nature of its purpose: to educate people about the dangers of smoking. Though it’s commonplace now for video games to be used in education, this was a fairly new concept in the mid-90s.
The game doesn’t lack character either despite its educational intentions. Rex Ronan, the experimental surgeon, shrinks down and goes into a patient’s body. This patient just so happens to be a cancer patient who smoked everyday since he was 15. Rex must remove dangerous things like nicotine and precancerous cells.
But shock: the patient worked for the tobacco company and they don’t want him blabbing about the cancer! They send secret micromachines into his body to fight off Rex. Truly the game is an absolute ride worthy of Mr. Toad.
13 Amateur Surgeon
Okay, so nothing that goes on in Amateur Surgeon would be considered ethical by any doctor (or anyone else), in the real world. But it’s a video game so things like logic, ethics, and sanitation don’t really matter.
Starting off as a mobile game by Adult Swim, the Amateur Surgeon series has spanned several different games, with Amateur Surgeon 4 as its most recent. It’s a puzzle game where players have to figure out what ailments their patients are suffering from and then use different tools made from everyday household items to cure them.
12 Two Point Hospital
Two Point Hospital is another medical game that takes a more humorous approach to running a hospital. In a style that’s reminiscent of Wallace and Gromit, players can build their own hospitals to make it the best (both in looks and functionality) one in all of Two Point County.
Players also have to treat the patients that walk through their doors. The residents of Two Point County are often plagued by bizarre illnesses and it’s up to the player to build the right rooms and staff the right doctors to find the cure.
Though sometimes challenging, the sandbox mode can be the most fun.
11 LifeSigns: Surgical Unit
LifeSigns: Surgical Unit is an adventure game that came to North America in 2007 for the Nintendo DS. It’s a direct follow-up to a game that was only released in Japan and features many of the same characters.
Players take on the role of Tendo a second-year intern as he transfers to a new hospital, Seimei Medical University Hospital. Players control Tendo as he explores the hospital and interacts with the rest of the staff and patients. Once players diagnose what ailment the patient is suffering, they can perform surgery on them.
10 Viscera Cleanup Detail
Some anime fans may be familiar with the two series called Planetes where people clean up space debris like space janitors. Well, this is the same thing, but for human organs instead. The main difference is that this has more sci-fi elements like “Save Us” written in blood all over the walls.
Players must perform basic tasks like removing amputated limbs and scrubbing off caked on bodily fluids. But they also have to deactivate anti-gravity machines and circumvent bizarre organic mouths in the floor surrounded by lava.
It may not be a strictly medical game, but the co-op function makes for some great (if gory) fun.
9 Hospital Tycoon
Hospital Tycoon is another game where players are in control of how a hospital is managed. Released in 2007, the game has a bit of a The Sims vibe to it in terms of appearance.
Players are in control of a rapidly expanding hospital and are tasked with taking proper care of every patient that walks through the doors, making sure they get the right medical treatments for their ailments. Doctors and nurses need to be taken care of too, as each doctor and nurse are ranked by how well-liked they are by patients.
8 Big Pharma
“Big Pharma” is not a phrase usually used about video games (or with positive connotations). But this video game, released in 2015, puts players in the hotseat of an industry that takes in more than $80 billion dollars each year. The player can leverage their research to help the world or make the big bucks.
Like some builder games, the gameplay involves creating facilities from empty warehouses. From there, the player can access different technologies to narrow their focus regarding which diseases they want to cure.
The UI is intuitive and slick at merging a building sim with logistics puzzles. It’s a great fit for gamers who want less medicine in their hospitals and more dollar signs.
7 Emergency Room 3
The Emergency Room series has been around since 1995, starting off as a medical simulator on the PC. Emergency Room: Real Life Rescues is the only game in the series on the Nintendo DS. Players control a paramedic as they take on different medical emergencies for Habor City Hospital.
Each case is based on real-life procedures and situations giving a bit of an authentic feel to it. And players don’t take each case on alone, as the game AI offers assistance helping players out if they find themselves in a pinch.
6 Heart’s Medicine – Time to Heal
This 2D game has everything: medical drama, personal drama, and an adorkable female protagonist just trying to find a nice guy to cuddle with while watching The Crown on Netflix. Jokes aside, the game actually has very compelling mechanics for the aspiring doctor at Little Creek hospital.
The player must perform various surgeries, apply sutures, and navigate the trappings of daily life. Even at full retail cost, it is only $13 and has a great follow up game named Heart’s Medicine – Hospital Heat.
Those who want an easy-going experience should definitely pick this one up.
5 Project Hospital
Project Hospital started out as a mystery SEGA project that got revealed in 2018. It allows players full control of their game as they get to be the doctor, the hospital manager, and the architect!
Players can build their very own hospital from the ground up, building it any style they want with tons of different objects and colors to choose from. They can also use pre-made models to skip building and jump right in.
Manage the hospital by hiring the right staff and keep them happy and working at peak performance. Players can also treat patients as well, guiding their doctors through difficult cases.
4 Plague Inc.
While most medical games focus on what players can do to save people, Plague Inc. focuses on what they can do to kill them. The original Plague Inc. had players create a pathogen that would infect the world and eventually destroy all of humankind. And Plague Inc: Evolved keeps true to that intention, with more disease types, scenarios, and ways to evolve player’s plagues to make them as lethal as possible.
Plague Inc: Evolved has even more features including a competitive multiplayer, a co-op mode and a content creator for making custom scenarios, worlds, and plague types. Moreover, the DLC “The Cure” will let players save humanity from a deadly virus instead.
3 Bio Inc: Redemption
In Bio Inc: Redemption, players take the life of a person in their hands and can choose whether to save them or slay them. Players of Plague Inc. will probably enjoy creating deadly scenarios for their patients using medical conditions and diseases or enjoy taking a break from their darker tendencies to diagnose, treat, and cure what ails their patients.
There are 18 unique cases for players to test their skills and tools. There’s also the option to choose the gender of patients, a multiplayer to battle against other people, and more!
2 Surgeon Simulator
Everyone knows that a steady hand is key to become a good surgeon, and Surgeon Simulator really shows… that most of us would make terrible surgeons. But it’s fun! Players take on the role of Nigel Burke as he performs different surgical procedures in different scenarios, like a moving ambulance or even in space!
So far, the game comes with 3 DLC features and was recently released for the Switch as Surgeon Simulator CPR. CPR stands for “Cooperative Play Ready” which allows two players to use the Joy-Con to control one of Nigel’s arms.
1 Trauma Center: New Blood
Trauma Center: New Blood is the second main game in the Trauma Center series. It follows two protagonists, Markus, and Valerie as they fight against a man-mad virus called Stigma. The series is developed by Atlus (hence the Persona like art style) and is a visual novel and surgery simulation game.
Coming out on the Wii, players use the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to select different operating tools and perform different actions like using the scale or stitching up wounds. Each operation is timed and mistakes drain the health meter of the patient.
NEXT: The 10 Best Visual Novels On Steam
Ericka Blye is a 29-year-old writer and gamer. She enjoys playing casual mobile games and deep-in-depth console games. A writer for Valnet for a little over a year, she enjoys writing about her favorite games. Currently playing The Sims 4 Discover University, Untitled Goose Game, and Monster Prom, and is slowly getting into D&D.
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