U.K.-based Bossa Studios is best known for Surgeon Simulator, a comically over-the-top game where players take on the role of a surgeon with shaky hands as he tries to perform life-saving surgeries. It's like the board game Operation, except you can accidentally poke your hand into a patient's squishy guts.
The studio's latest venture is Twelve A Dozen, an adventure game about a different kind of operation — math.
Twelve A Dozen is a game that helps players learn how to manipulate numbers. Publisher Amplify, which develops games for educational purposes, says it's not "edutainment," though. It's not a game that has mathematical problems slapped on top platforming levels. Rather, math is an integral part of the game world and design.
In the game, players take on the role of the heroine, Twelve, who lives in Dozenopolis. Twelve has to find her family after a cataclysmic event leads to their disappearance. To do this, she has to traverse the side-scrolling world and solve puzzles, which all revolve around numbers. Becoming a different number allows Twelve to perform different tasks, so she has to find ways to subtract, add, divide and multiple herself. By changing her face value to a number divisible by three, she can climb. Four allows her to push objects. Five allows her to swim. Six gives her the ability to grab. Seven unlocks cages. Eight opens up portals, and nine lets her jump. If she becomes a negative number, she can walk on ceilings.
In a demo of the game Polygon played, the math felt like a core part of the world. Solving the math problems in Dozenopolis felt as natural as crafting items in a fantasy game.
"Our goal was to make a game where education isn't just a superficial layer of decoration but a fundamental part of the gameplay and story," said Bossa Studios' co-founder and creator-in-chief, Imre Jele. "By creating an interesting game environment, mechanics and characters, we encourage our players to stay around, and that attention and engagement directly translates into concrete educational results."
Twelve A Dozen launches today for iOS devices with more than 50 levels.