Title: Babysitting Mama
Release Date: November 5, 2010
Publisher (Developer): Majesco (Cooking Mama Limited)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone” for Comic Mischief
Pros: 40 mini-games, 6 babies to care for, can play some games in versus, can play unlocked mini-games at any times, switches off between movement games and nunchuk controlled games, bright and cute characters and it comes with soft, plush baby you can use as a toy.
Cons: Every five minutes you’re being told not to shake the baby, baby noises sound really strange, gets repetitive if you play for more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time, not much replay value after you unlock all babies and mini-games and Mama’s voice/instructions are hard to understand due to her heavy accent.
Overall Score: Two thumbs sideways, 70/100, C-, * * out of 5
It was inevitable – with a name like Mama, how could the star of games like Cooking Mama and Gardening Mama not get into childcare? That’s exactly what happens with Babysitting Mama. Players grab their Wii remotes, stick them into the back of the toy baby and then start playing mini-games based on childcare activities.
Mama’s acting like a real mama this time!
There are six babies to care for in Mama’s nursery in Babysitting Mama. Each baby has a baby-book in the Babysitting section with six pages that detail six baby sitting experiences. The first five all have four activities and the sixth has five activities. Each one pretty much has a unique babysitting experience, so you won’t play the same mini-game over and over with one baby. You’ll only experience a mini-game once with that baby, no repeats. The rocking mini-games do occasionally repeat though. Babies also have multiple difficulty levels, even though the game doesn’t say anything. For example, Lucy’s mini-games are more challenging than Yuto’s.
If you don’t feel like plaything through a regimented babysitting experience, then there are a handful of other modes. Babysitter’s Guide lets you play through any of the 40 mini-games you have unlocked with whichever baby you’d like. Memories lets you look through photos of the babies, which are unlocked by playing through experiences in Babysitting. Finally, if you have a friend over and a second remote and nunchuk, you can play in the VS Play, which is identical to the Babysitter’s Guide, only with two players either competing or taking turns taking care of babies.
Mundane childcare chores can be fun
The thing about Babysitting Mama is that the tasks that you end up doing shouldn’t be fun, but they are in small doses. I mean, bathing, feeding or changing the diaper of a cranky baby isn’t the first thing you’d think of when you’re trying to decide how to spend your evening. And yet, it is. You’ll actually enjoy all of these mundane little chores that real parents and babysitters take every chance to get a break from. Granted, it’s nothing like caring for a real baby, but still. The general principles are there.
The Babysitting Mama mini-games are somewhat varied. All are based on child-rearing activities, with some requiring you to move the baby-remote to calm a baby, others requiring you to move the nunchuk so a baby will run or a rattle will shake and a handful tasking you with moving the nunchuk’s analog stick to walk through mazes, feed babies, grab clothes or change a diaper.
The controller is also quite cute and works very well with the game. The on-screen directions are very clear so you know how to move the doll or nunchuk. It’s especially nice for younger kids, since the doll is soft, plush and should fit into Cabbage Patch doll clothing. I would advise adjusting the volume on the Wii remote before shoving it into the back of the doll controller, as it can get quite loud otherwise.
There were only two Babysitting Mama quirks I encountered. The first is that players are constantly being warned about shaking the baby. Each babysitting experience has between four and five parts, with two requiring you to hold, wave, rock or lift the baby. Before these parts, there’ll be a screen advising players that baby shaking is very, very wrong. It’s overkill. One message before you start playing each round would have been more than enough.
What’s worse, there are some exercises where it is very easy to jostle said baby in a way which could be interpreted by the controller is shaking. Even when you’re absolutely not performing any kind of abrupt, rough shaking motion, the game may freeze with a warning screen, saying you’re shaking. You don’t get penalized for these moments, but it is a bit frustrating when you’re helping a baby walk or rocking a baby and the game suddenly halts.
Little girls will want to help Mama babysit
As ridiculous as that cradle-shaped box and stuffed baby controller may look in the store, Babysitting Mama can actually be entertaining. Granted, it’s only going to appeal to a specific audience, but still. That audience, young girls and women who love the Mama series, will be all over this game. It’s cute and campy fun, and a way to indulge your inner child.
Even so, Babysitting Mama is also the kind of game you may want to consider renting before buying. It doesn’t take very long to unlock all six babies or all 40 mini-games, and once that’s done there isn’t much motivation to come back and play again. It’s not like you can unlock extra outfits for the babies or Mama. Still, for some people the Mama name and adorable characters may be enough to entice people to return.
Site [Babysitting Mama]