Indie Games Uprising III Review: Smooth Operators: Call Center Chaos

Smooth Operators: Call Center Chaos by Andreas Heydeck Games is an office simulator with some comic relief. Smooth Operators has some addictive early playing, but it fails to make the later game as exciting or economical to continue.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2BBx1nhiEA

Smooth Operators lets you control a budding call center from a one small office building with the hope of creating a 40-story monolith. The game utilizes micromanagement for many of the inner workings, and how you run your call center depends on how well you can manage the details. As the game progresses, this action becomes much easier, especially around 50- plus days.

Smooth is insanely addictive if you loved SimCity. It allows you to control many of the aspects of the call center and the character sprite animations are hilarious to watch, as are some of the employ thoughts. The inter-workings of the simulator work great and the game runs perfectly. For those unfamiliar of the game, Smooth Operators does start off with a handy and informative tutorial.

The micromanagement adds a sort of puzzle aspect to Smooth. You have to deal with angry employees and the prospect of being penalized if you don’t fulfill the vendor’s quota for the day (you can have negative money after a penalty, and workers are not especially happy if they don’t get paid for the day). You have to sprinkle in bathrooms and cafeterias so your staff doesn’t run home every hour for a potty and/or snack break. You need to stack the work place with a plethora of IT to kick the non-working computers into action, or risk the call center coming to a screeching halt. Then you need to overrun the place with an army of janitors to spruce up the place so your entire staff doesn’t give-up and quit while waiting for the one elevator to bring them to their floor.

The game is mesmerizing, and you risk losing most of your day playing if you are not careful.

Even with all the great things Smooth Operator has going for it, the game is not without its faults, or really a few criticisms that could make it better. The greatest point of frustration is the selection tool. With the controller, you move a small, white hand that easily gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the call center. Perhaps, if the selector became bigger upon movement or if it was a different color, it would be better.

Once the game hits about 50 days, the office should be close to self-sustaining, and Smooth Operators loses most of its objectives and sense of growth. The new contracts are few and far between, and the time to get a new contract does not appear to diminish with the addition of new accounts managers or upgrades. The game quickly allows for vertical growth, but the need to expand that quickly never arises because of the less than stellar work of the accounts managers of getting new accounts. You will be ready for rapid expansion, but your employees will just keep dropping the ball.

You want to build bigger, but at some point you just can’t. You would think you could build offices for future contracts and fill them in as needed, but once an office is designated to a certain vendor, for some reason it cannot be switched.

The only real hiccup in regards to gameplay was on a few occasions a poor janitor would get stuck in a flowtube, a type of advance elevator, sometime around the 80-day mark, and was more or less stuck there for the rest of eternity. Poor guys. This also meant the flowtube could not be replaced. The problem occurred after exiting the game without saving shortly after saving at midnight. Also, the game is finicky when deconstructing transportation devices; it wants all employees out of the system. So, when you select to deconstruct one, it waits for everyone to evacuate before the process goes through, this is why the janitor occupied one could never deconstruct. On more than one occasion, the device never deconstructed even when empty. However, shortly after upgrading it, the device did deconstruct.

These two have been trapped for six days, and will likely stay there for all eternity.

 Smooth Operators is an excellent city simulator with an inventive and unique micromanagement system. The game does have its flaws and becomes rather dull around 50 or 60 days, but the first 50 make this game a joy to play.

 

Final Rating: 8/10

 

CBR Break Down:

Console Played On: XBLIG

Time to completion: 6 hours to 100 days

Gamer Score Earned: N/A

Price Bought at: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)

Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)

Recommend Purchase Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)

Why you should buy it: If you want to experience one of the best games XBLIG has to offer, or if you loved SimCity.

Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you hated SimCity, crack under pressure, can’t stand firing someone or have nightmares about working in a call center.

7 comments

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  • How did you get so much money on day 7?

    I can’t even seem to make money on day 50 (I keep expanding too quickly and not taking enough calls for the employees I pull in)

    • The first four pictures are provided by Andreas Heydeck, the last I took myself. Heydeck made some cheat codes for the game that include $1000000.
      These are the cheat codes for Smooth Operators.

      dante – $1 000 000
      gustafsson – Max build height
      bengan – Everything is upgradable
      kyrksten – Increased workloads
      becca – Everyone is happy

      • I am glad that you replied. I ended up messing up and starting over. I was not 100% stable by day 50 (i.e. I did not have to do anything), but I hit that around day 60 or so.

        One thing that really changes this game up is what happened to me, which I think might have happened to you had you played it longer. It was on about day 150 and my main client (I was making up to about $85k a day since I kept expanding and got up to about 20 floors) and the workload on my main client completely dropped.

        The workload was easily in the thousands (I do not remember how high, but 20 floors of full upgraded everything was still not able to take out the workloads, I think it was close to 8000 inbound or so) and then it all dropped.

        So yeah, even if you think you have an amazing empire, if you play the game long enough, it will change. I figured I would inform you since there is really not much out there about this game, but you should totally try to keep going since the game will change on you after awhile.

        So yeah, I now have $400k and a 20 floor building trying to fire people as fast as possible since I went from making $85k a day to about $2000 or less in revenue from workloads dropping (I am guessing there is a reason why one of the codes is for increased workloads since he knows that will happen).

        Thanks for the cheats. There is very little information about this game besides maybe your review, so it is a learning experience for me (and I made it to over day 150 with a 20 floor call center, so I really do not want to start over, lol).

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