IGN Review of Babysitting Mama
I've seen my share of crazy peripherals for the Wii. In fact, at this year's E3, there was a company whose booth was filled with all kinds of useless devices to attach to the Wii Remote in an effort to make the gameplay feel more "real." Majesco has now jumped on this bandwagon with Babysitting Mama, which includes a plush baby doll (yes, you read that correctly) with a pouch in the back for the Wii Remote. Babysitting Mama completely eliminates any doubt I had about the target audience for the Mama games. They are now aimed squarely at little girls, and as someone who has enjoyed the franchise in the past, that's very disappointing.
Babysitting Mama is exactly what it sounds like. It's filled with mini-games about feeding, playing, burping, and changing the diapers of babies. Since the Wii Remote is nestled snugly in the back of the doll, the game is actually controlled primarily with the Nunchuk. The mini-games are split pretty evenly between using the analog stick and buttons on the Nunchuk and moving the actual doll. This brings up my first complaint. If you're going to make a game that requires the use of a doll, why not make all of the mini-games use the doll? At least then, it might have seemed like a little less of a gimmick.
The activities that make use of the doll are very basic and involve nothing more than rocking the baby from side to side or patting it on the back. Upon first seeing the game, I was actually horrified that it would teach youngsters to wildly flail the baby around, but luckily it takes every opportunity to tell you that shaking babies is a bad thing, and will even stop the game if you move the doll too briskly. But even though the game is responsible in that regard, it still has its questionable moments.
For example, one of the mini-games (not involving the doll) has you giving the baby a newspaper, so he can shred it into little bits, which you then have to clean up. Other times, you'll be interrupted in the middle of caring for the baby by some other household disaster, like burning food or spilled milk. When this happens, you have to shake the Nunchuk to make Mama run to the problem and fix it, consequently leaving the baby alone to fend for himself.
Functionally, the game is fine. The controls are responsive and all of the mini-games work, which is actually an accomplishment for a game in this series. But that doesn't change the fact that it's mind-numbingly boring. There's only so many ways you can make a game out of rocking a baby to sleep, and I can't imagine even young girls will stay interested for very long. The games that don't make use of the doll are more entertaining, but still not something you'd want to play for very long. In addition, the game makes use of the speaker on the Wii Remote to emit baby sounds, and while I can't imagine anyone actually enjoys the sound of a baby crying, this game's version of a baby laughing is equally as annoying. In fact, there were times when I couldn't tell the difference.
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