A frantic tapping experience against a horde of paperwork.
The premise of Next Please! is simple: tap the overworked office employees to send them to a desk in order to complete massive piles of paperwork, before increasingly irate customers revolt and you are fired. The challenge comes in that one of your colleagues is out, leaving a perpetually empty desk that must be managed. The result is a quick-paced game where the objective is to beat high scores, because failure is inevitable.
Graphically, Next Please! aims for a simple pixelated look, which works well at depicting the tiny characters that shuffle into the office. Though some of the designs and references are pretty dated (Heisenberg, for instance) they all match the same theme and look well done, if not overly memorable. Animations and sound follow the same aesthetic, successfully replicating a more ‘classic’ feel but adding very little to it. The visuals get the point across, but don’t expect anything too interesting to look at.
The standard design works fine, however, because most of the time spent playing will be focused on the tiny desks at the bottom of the screen. As each line grows, the customer at the desk fills a small rage meter as they go left unattended. Gameplay is very simple, as tapping any of your workers will cause them to switch to the unoccupied seat. With an unending stream of customers, the core, and really only, tactic of the game is to try and keep each row manageable.
Where Next Please! fails to keep up, however, is that after a few rounds, there is really very little to do. Unlocking new characters is somewhat interesting, but all these really do is swap out the images of a few people, adding no new gameplay dimensions. There is the obligatory task system built in, but the coins earned all go entirely to new characters. Without any more options or variations to play, the game wears thin after three or four sessions. Unless players find the leaderboard system engaging, there really isnt a reason to play this game past day one.
As a side note, as with most modern mobile games, there are options to pay in order to remove advertisements. At this point, that can be hardly be seen as offensive, but in many cases with Next Please!, the ads covered playable areas, or popped up after a delay, causing them to be tapped by accident. Whether this is an issue with the ad provider, or the game itself, is unclear, but it hinders what was already a limited gameplay experience.
Next Please! may satisfy for a few minutes in a waiting room or on a short bus ride, but anything longer than a brief time and players are better off with another title. As mobile gaming becomes more and more sophisticated, gamers will look for depth that this title sadly doesn’t deliver.
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