BarSim is an Android game that, as you might've guessed it, is designed to give players as authentic an experience as possible pouring and mixing drinks as a Bartender would. It's designed to give players interested in mixing their own drinks a way to get familiar with recipes as well as improve their skills in-game. BarSim will plunge players into a Career mode full of challenges to become the very best Bartender there is. A Practice mode is included as well as a vast recipe book that can be used in-game as well as in real life to make some excellent cocktails for your friends and family. Developed over 15 years, BarSim gives players a realistic pouring experience – asking players to literally pour with their phone – as well as access to over 100 recipes of the most popular cocktails out there.
Despite the fact that BarSim is something aspiring Bartenders will enjoy, it's download in the same way, with users just needing to head on over to the Play Store to download BarSim for free. When players launch the game they will be offered the choice to sign in with one of their online accounts or just continue as a guest.
This is actually a nice touch as far too many games these days make it difficult to continue without signing in. There are three different modes to choose from in BarSim, and they're fairly self-explanatory, but it's nice to see a variety of gameplay styles here.
No matter which game mode you choose to play, there are detailed instructions for each of them, which is nice to see. The tutorial isn't too difficult and it doesn't drag on for too long either, but it quickly becomes clear that this is a game that is going to be more for people that enjoy using their brain quite a bit.
I foolishly started off with the career mode, which quickly became a mistake as I failed to put together even the most simple of Rum and Cokes. I was struggling to figure out how to get the right measurements, and the game does feel a little too difficult when it comes to getting the liquid into the glass, but then again it was designed to be as realistic as possible.
The interface itself takes a little getting used to, but it does seem straightforward once you figure it all out. What was most confusing for me however, was the fact that I couldn't find where the coke was! I couldn't see it in the Mixers section anywhere. Perhaps I was going blind, but either way I was promptly suspended for my incompetence.
That's right, the Career Mode is pretty harsh on those that don't get up-to-speed and do so quickly, which I actually quite liked. After all, what sort of self-respecting Bartender can't make a simple Rum and Coke? That is of course, where the practice mode of BarSim comes in. This also incorporates the Recipe book, which gives players access to some brilliant recipes for all the well-known as more esoteric cocktails out there.
This gave me the details that I needed to practice making a simple Rum and Coke, and by practicing with the game further I figured out just how realistic BarSim wanted to be in the long run, including the telltale soda gun.
There's no denying that BarSim has one of the more complete and entertaining Bartending experiences on Android, if that even is a thing, but it's also not one of the easiest to wrap your head around. The controls are a little finicky and there's a lot to remember. Features like the Speed Rack however, do help to ease the pain of this somewhat, and thankfully this can be customized to include as many or as little spirits and liquors your need.
BarSim doesn't just ask that players keep on preparing the same old drinks however. The whole idea of being a mixologist to create something new, or perfect that new drink your friends are raving about. With the Recipe Editor, you can add individual items to a recipe that's all your own. You can name it whatever you want, and it can be made out of whatever you want, too.
On top of that, you can then go ahead and make it in BarSim, thus drilling your new best cocktail into your brain to wow your guests, as well as make the game feel a little more like your own, too. Soon, users will be able to share these recipes as well.
This turns BarSim into both a learning tool as well as a game. After all those at home can use this to practice their latest invention, and Bar managers can use this to set up their own cocktails they serve and drill the ingredients and overall process into the bartenders without ever wasting a single drop.
The long and short of it is that BarSim is a good game, not just for those that enjoy their drinking and fancy themselves a bit of a mixologist. It's got all kinds of recipes, which are basically just formulas to adhere to and if you boil it down to the basics, BarSim is basically a sort of crafting game, one that is a tough challenge, no less. It can absolutely help make you a better drink maker as well, not least because the recipe book is full of genuine cocktails and their gold standard recipes, but also because it can help people become a lot more familiar with the liquors and mixers that go into our favorite drinks. The career mode is challenging and good fun overall, although the game does have a steep learning curve, overcome that however, and you'll be enjoying one of the more original drink making games, and one that doesn't treat its audience like children, either.
- Speed (4/5) – BarSim runs nice and smoothly and the overall pacing of the game is pretty good, too.
- Theme (4/5) – Some of the bottles and their labels could look better, but for the most part the game looks good and has a decent feel to it. With some decent sound effects thrown in as well, there's a good sense of reality to BarSim.
- Features (4/5) – With 100 of the best-known cocktails out there all included in BarSim, this is something that has a good variety of challenges onboard, and while the gameplay is solid the steep learning curve of just how to play the game might not be to everyone's taste.
- Overall (4/5) – Not just a game for big drinkers, BarSim is a lot of fun and while being a tough challenge, it will leave players satisfied should they rise to the challenge.
- Good recipe book full of different cocktails from the more well-known cocktails to the more esoteric ones out there. Users can also add to this as well with their own creations to experiment with.
- Career mode puts players in the feet of a real barman and asks them to rise to the challenge of making and serving lots of different drinks in quick succession.
- Practice mode not only helps players become better at the game, but also more familiar with the recipe for the cocktails themselves.
- Customizable Speed Rack can help people feel like a real Bartender pro when they choose different liquors all the time as they've been doing it their whole life.
- Some players might find the controls a little too difficult to get to grips with.
- Only offers a certain amount of the game for free, the rest of it needs to be paid for.
BarSim and its realistic pouring mechanics offer players a real sense of what it's like to be a Bartender and while it might not be the most satisfying experience for big drinkers, it's a fun game that can be played anywhere. The pouring mechanics and memory management required to do well here can be a tough challenge, but it's all in good fun and can result in a satisfying feeling when you serve some of your best drinks.