android app review: virtual dentist story

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I try to make it a point not to feed the trolls. I also try to avoid obvious spyware and the pointless mobile games that consume the masses. But I wanted to give the public the benefit of the doubt, and see what the fuss is all about in the popular Android game Virtual Dentist Story. It’s got a 4/5 rating after nearly 15,000 reviews, and somewhere between one and five million installations…so it must have something going for it? Right?

We believe,in this game, you can learn many professional knowledge of Cavity Medicine and experience how to be a real dentist.Have a good fun and a healthy teeth!

I fired up the install, not spending a second considering the ramifications of granting the game permission to snoop on my accounts, run at device startup, or know my precise location via GPS. Instead, I tried to think like the average consumer; I just wanted to drill on a tooth!

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Upon loading the game, one is greeted with…an ad. That’s OK, though – after all, it’s a free app! Hmm, I’m not sure which option I want though. Apparently, clicking “invalid” means, “Why certainly, I’d love a new iPhone 5!” That’s OK, I’m going to be a good sport and just close it out. Now, let’s see what tools we have to use.

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OK, so we’ve got a mallet to “insert an artificial tooth.” That’s one way to precisely position an implant around the maxillary sinus, I suppose. Then it looks like we’ve got an air/water tip which magically suctions as well, and a whole assortment of vague tools to repair “caries.” Man, for a game that claims to be educational they’re certainly assuming I have a pretty good dental foundation; I didn’t think the ADA did a great job of getting the term “caries” out to the general public.

After each round, the option is given to rate the game. They obviously have a lot to be proud of, so why not? The games themselves are actually loads of fun. They last a few split seconds and consist of swiping the screen slightly; it’s easy to see how far we’ve come since those primitive days of mindless mobile gaming from twenty years ago.

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Closing the game after a successful, educational session leads you to…an ad. But that’s OK, even though when you close it…

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…it’s not quite closed. At this point, if you can find the little white “back” button to get out of it, you’re done playing the game. Now the program will almost certainly continue to silently run, harvesting your usage patterns and text messages and trips to the grocery store and the bank and the dentist….but I uninstalled it before I could confirm that.

Conclusion

Dentistry is a complex field, incorporating a variety of techniques and materials to address a wide range of issues, and encapsulating that into a 12 MB cellphone game isn’t easy. Virtual Dentist Story delivers on (almost) everything it promises. The syntax of the game’s title is even designed to temper expectations; it’s claiming to be a story about a virtual dentist, and never a virtual story about a dentist. However, the game does claim to be “ell-designed after dental professional consulting,” and, in my professional opinion, it’s certainly ell-designed. And for that, and so many other reasons, I give it the best rating I’ve ever given in an Android app review: 0/5 stars.

And I’m just a little disappointed in mankind. Never, ever, download something like this…I did it so you wouldn’t have to.

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