If you'd asked us six months ago whether the world needed a bathroom janitor simulator, we'd probably have said no. We'd have been completely wrong of course, and as a result we might have missed out on the toilet humor delights of Men's Room Mayhem. Even so, a call-center simulator surely seems like a stretch too far. If you've worked in one, you really don't want to go back. If you haven't, then trust us - ignorance is bliss. So how does Smooth Operators go about charming us with this dreary slice of modern life?
You start off with a small amount of cash and a single contract. The first order of business is to get a call-center floor piled on top of your receptionist area, and get the first drones - sorry, employees - at their desks. Balancing your workforce is crucial, and you'll need to hire and fire appropriately to make sure the daily demands of inbound and outbound calls - not to mention back office functions - are taken care of.
From these early days, it's much as you'd imagine the life of a call-center administrator to be. Hiring more staff enables you to complete more calls, albeit at the price of a higher salary bill. Hiring management employees allows you to expand your operations in terms of both building structure and staffing. Then there are the many more mundane sides of office life to take care of - making sure the bins are emptied, that the toilets are cleaned, and that the IT infrastructure remains rock solid.
It'll also bring out the thoroughly unpleasant manager in you. Just look at those people, you'll think, disappearing for a toilet break when we're close to nailing the day's contracts. How dare they get grumpy because they haven't been trained for a while, or had a day's vacation since 2011. If you've only ever worked at the bottom rung of call-center existence, you may find yourself getting an unpleasant taste of life on the other side of the desk.
So, as an observation on the mundanity of so much office life, Smooth Operators delivers. As a game, however, it can also be frustrating. The interface is clumsy to use, particularly when you want to rapidly navigate between floors, employees, and performance reports.. Play the game at a slow speed, and it's just a little too slow. Yet play it at a satisfyingly brisk pace and the chirping, ringing phones and general bustle will drive you insane - a neat idea if that's intentional, but annoying nevertheless.
There's lots to like about the game though, not least because this is a paid-for tower-sim that's entirely free of in-app purchases. If games like Tiny Tower tickle your fancy, yet you find the unavoidable pay-to-advance elements distasteful, you'd be silly not to at least consider calling in on Smooth Operators.
What's Hot:A solid enough management sim with plenty to keep on top of.
What's Not:The interface is often frustrating, and the incessant chirping will drive you crazy.