FutureFive NZ - Android App Review: Virtual Dentist Surgery

Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.

Android App Review: Virtual Dentist Surgery

There’s a lot of weird stuff on the app store, we all know that. But personally I’d consider this game to be pretty high on my list (once you ignore all the pretend-porn “sexy” games). Because this is a game where you get to do dentistry.

That’s really all there is to it. It’s a game where you fix teeth. And sometimes clean them.

The problem with Virtual Dentist Surgery for me is that the gameplay isn’t really gameplay. There are no puzzles to solve, there’s no real skill to dragging a tool back and forth over a tooth.

The most challenging part of the game is remembering which tool matches with which ailment, because you lose points if you choose the wrong one. But this means that there’s no real sense of achievement when you do manage to fix a cracked molar or scrape a bit of gunk off a tooth.

Not that that makes it easy to finish the game or anything. VDS keeps telling me ‘game over’ but I’m not sure why. Did the patient die? Did I break his jaw? Realistically, I think I just did a sub-par job of cleaning his teeth. I lost because of slight tartar. Sigh. Not as dramatic as the fiery explosions or tragic deaths that end most videogames.

I can sort of get the appeal of surgery-based games. Doctors have a position of status in our society, and TV has taught us that with every medical procedure comes the potential for nail-biting drama. Plus there’s a satisfaction to doing fiddly things well.

But dentistry? Really? Even if you take away the copious amounts of spit and halitosis (which this game thankfully does), it’s still poking at teeth.

Video games are surely about escapism – but going to the dentist is surely a situation we’d rather escape from, not to. I bet even people who are actually dentists would feel this way.

The scary thing is this isn’t the only virtual dentist game on the app store. There are heaps of them. Because the first one was so popular that lots of other developers decided to copy it? Really?

That said, at least this game addresses the issue in its description: “it is different from other dental games you can find on Google Play today. This game was invented with fun video game elements after communicating with professional dentists and referred to a large number of medical reference books.” So there you go.

Anyway. The game is free, but you have to put up with ads on the screen. Your enjoyment will depend entirely on how much you want to clean pretend teeth on your phone.

I’ll do my best not to judge you.

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