911 Operator is a Police Simulator game developed by Jutsu Games, being their first Steam release game. Going for a minimalistic style you will be one of those desk officers in the station, taking calls from potential observers or victims of crime, finding out what type of services they need and diverting your available officers to the correct locations. There has been an influx of Cop games recently, with the release of This Is the Police only a few weeks ago. Can 911 break through the stigma of simulators, or was it merely a prank call.
Right now there is a lack of any story or campaign mode, with only an Alpha release to go off of, however there is plenty of story to be found within the calls you receive. Pushing aside the joke calls, the most notable one of a boy calling for help with his math homework, there are a few calls that really require some thought. You will need to give good directions, to either keep victims safe or to stabilise their conditions as you try and send over the right vehicle.
There is a short tutorial mission, that doesn’t really give you any sort of tutorial besides having a bit of a slower pace. Campaign mode is disabled but can be accessed through a glitch, but as it is disabled there isn’t much to that either, besides starting on a smaller map. Then free game that allows you to select from 9 different maps, as well as a Download map option. Each game lasts about 8 minutes, with several speeds to choose from, 0.2x speed up to 4x speed.
911 Operator is played mostly with the mouse, giving you a blueprint map of the city you’re playing in, Rectangle emblems for your forces and hexagons for alerts/reports. Left clicking a force, either police, ambulance or fire brigade, you can then left click on the map to tell them to go there or to sort out a report. You will also left click on reports to draw your vision to that area or to answer new calls.
Each force has a specific vehicle or task they bring to the table, motorcycles are faster to arrive on the scene but cannot bring in criminals, cars or vans are slower but can carry criminals or victims back to base, there are also helicopters but they can bug out quite a lot, so beside being able to fly over buildings I wasn’t able to see much more benefit to them. Each report will need a specific force to deal with it, with multiple forces being require for multi-coloured reports or if it’s the case of a call you will decide what forces are needed.
The phone call system seems to be the main mechanic behind 911 Operator, as the name suggests, you are the operator of the phone lines and it is your job to decide what services to send. Filtering out prank calls or calls for crashes that happened yesterday you will need to ask when, where and how a accident occurred, sending police to take reports, ambulance to help injures over scratches and fire brigade to access out of reach places. Sadly the random call system gave me some of the same calls over and over again, suggesting the 50+ phone calls are not yet implemented in the current state.
After a day’s work is done you are given a statistics card, showing you what reports you missed/failed as well as the ones that were completed, so many cats in trees. It then gives you your income for the day, though with the way the game is set up currently, you will have to do about 8 days to actually afford a new vehicle for your services. From that screen, you are taken to a new day, setting up vehicles with officers to do it all again for another 8 minutes, rinse and repeat.
Overall thoughts and feelings
The sound design in 911 Operator is top notch, the background noises are so on point for what you would hear in a police department. Sounds of calls coming in, static from walky talkies, reports in the background being taken or getting updated. However due to the style of the game there is no music to listen to besides the sounds what I described earlier. The only music track currently in the game that I noticed was the main menu theme which is fitting, if a bit of a short loop.
As it stands right now in its alpha build, 911 Operator is too early for general release… Alpha should pretty much say that as a basis though. There are tons of bugs and glitches, having vehicles freeze in a report to have it never be completed, or never move from specific parts on the map. The lack of music can make the game feel rather empty, while fitting with the minimalistic design and immersion it does draw some excitement from the gaming experience. 911 Operator has potential, but like many other Simulators it needs a lot of work to get it to be a fun game as well as a true to life depiction of the job behind its simulation.