Opening Psychiatrist Simulator, the player is greeted to a view of a spacious office and a desk. Only a few quiet moments are allowed before the door begins knocking and you meet your first patient. Anna Abrahimovic self-harms and abuses alcohol, she’s come to the player for help. Lukas Eathrabari suffers from frequent nightmares, abuses dissociatives and is stressed out by his parents’ failing marriage. It’s the player’s job to lead their patients through their troubles and help them with their mental health. On the desk are two books to act as a guide for the player. One gives the game’s definitions of mental health conditions that the player can diagnose. The other has pages for each patient, along with options on how to diagnose them and also how to treat them. If all else fails sending someone to the hospital is a phone call away.
The graphics for the game are bland in the office and the user interface is blurry and out of scale more often than not. Sometimes players are given options that are the same giving them a false choice to further the conversation. The patient’s faces are surprisingly detailed in their textures. Characters have a sweaty sheen to their skin as you interrogate them. But the animations while they talk make it feel as if it’s the player who’s abusing drugs. Eyelids will clip into one another, mouths will fold in on themselves and foreheads will consume hair. The only way the faces would be somewhat acceptable would be if it was done intentionally for humor, which it may be.
The music is just one song, repeated forever. No matter what the player is doing. The only way to turn it off is to click the speaker hidden behind the desk in the office. The only alternative is silence. The patients are a mixture of acted voices and text-to-speech. The player is represented with a text-to-speech voice as well. The quality of the performed voices is passable, the characters conveying emotion through their tone and cadence. This helps to judge the moods of the characters with actual voices. These actual voices are few and far between and a majority of characters are done with text-to-speech.
Gameplay in Psychiatrist Simulator involves talking to patients, diagnosing them and treating them with either drugs or ultimately sending them to the hospital. Players will need to determine what medicines might help while also being cautious of any drugs that may be a dangerous combination. Ultimately it’s hard to determine what’s having a positive effect on patients. The dialogue is repetitive and outside of obvious hints in a few lines, there’s no way to tell if any progress is being made.
Each time the player meets with a patient there’s a loading screen where the patient’s face is frozen and waiting. For a small game, the loading screens are frustratingly long. Most notably at the end of each day the game cycles through the face of each patient, showing their status and whether they’ve been committed or not. The process is overly long and repetitive and without much useful information. The information this screen does provide could be better handled with a book or clipboard on the player’s desk.
Ultimately Psychiatrist Simulator feels like it was poorly thought out from the beginning. With “Simulator” in the title, the game is likely meant to be taken in the context of other intentionally buggy games like the famous Goat Simulator. But in the case of Psychiatrist Simulator, this connection just seems like an excuse to be lazy. The humor is needlessly edgy and without nuance, it’s designed to elicit dramatic responses from streamers as they tell a depressed man “You should kill yourself.” There’s little merit in playing the game. Players would be wise not to expect any satisfaction from finishing it.
Psychiatrist Simulator is available on Steam for $1.99.