IGN Review of My Baby Girl
Remember back in high school when the practicing parents from home economics walked around with flour sack babies? Well, they should thank their lucky stars that they didn't have a DS. Flour babies never need to be changed or fed, and they can't cry or scream. The wee ones from My Baby Boy and My Baby Girl, on the other hand, cry, scream, defecate, urinate, masticate, and then some.
As two separate games, My Baby Boy and My Baby girl are nearly identical save for their color pallets. Baby Boy has a blue scheme and Baby Girl is pink. Other than that, they are the same cartridge. When starting a Baby Boy game, a screen appears with options for the gender of your baby. You can see the option for boy, girl, and surprise. However, all you can select is the boy option. If you're playing Baby Girl, the same options appear but you can only select the girl tab.
What does this say about the game? It might say that, at one time, both genders were set to be released on a single cartridge as simply My Baby. However, someone in marketing realized that more money could be made by releasing two separate titles. A "Gotta Birth Them All!" approach, if you will.
Marketing politics aside, you can customize a few of your baby's features such as nationality and eye color. After naming your offspring, you meet George the doctor and Clara the nurse. George and Clara offer help and tips as your baby grows.
The game offers several rooms that allow you to take care of your baby. Tapping the map icon gives you access to the kitchen, the bathroom, the changing room, the dressing room, the playroom, the store, and outside. Not all areas are immediately available but can quickly be unlocked as your baby grows.
Within moments of starting the game, your baby drops anchor in its diaper. What better way to change it than with a stick? Okay, a stylus. Using the stylus, you pull the tabs on each side of the diaper, and then drop the main flap in front. Selecting the wiping gel allows you to wipe up the devastation of your child's bowels. Once done, drag the gel to the trash can to get rid of it and do the same with the dirty diaper. Lift the baby's legs with the stylus and place a new diaper underneath, sealing it the opposite order of how you took it off.
You might find it a little uncomfortable staring at a nude infant. While child predators won't be getting their jollies from any vivid depictions, it can still feel awkward for those who are not parents. The first time I removed by virtual baby's diaper, he proceeded to pee all over the place. It's not exactly as whimsical as the piddle of a Nintendog, for sure.
To progress through the game, you have to complete two specific tasks per month. These tasks are designed to improve the baby's motor and speech skills. One month may require you to get the baby to respond to your voice and follow a rattle. To get the child to respond to your voice, simply talk into the microphone. Talk too loudly and the baby will be frightened, too softly and it won't pay attention. Every time the baby responds to your voice, the objective bar for that task will fill up. Once bars for every month's task are full, your little tyke will age one month.
These monthly tasks evolve with the baby's age. Before long you'll have your little one crawling after the sound of a rattle that you tap with the stylus. A few months later you'll be using the stylus to help them stand up and walk.
Other things evolve too, like the baby's eating habits. At first you will feed them with a bottle. To do so, you shake the bottle up with the stylus then drag the nipple to the baby's mouth. As they get older, you will feed them baby food with a stylus spoon. Make sure you blow on the food first, or it will be too hot.
As your baby gets to a few months old you can take it outside. As exciting as it may seem to finally get the thing out of the house, it's a pretty bland process. You roll a little wheel icon to control how fast the stroller moves. People and animals will pass by and depending on how the baby reacts, you either need to speed up or slow down. Hence an angry dog equals speed up and a guy playing guitar equals slow down.
In the looks department, My Baby does a decent enough job. The babies look like babies and the environments have appropriate soft colors. Problems arise when you combine the look of the game with its pace. This game is slow. It takes a while for your baby to correctly follow commands and they move (appropriately) at an infant's pace. Soft colors and minimal movements quickly lead to a boring time.
The music from My Baby doesn't help, either. In fact, it's borderline ambient. You're so overwhelmed by giggles, screams, and farts that you never notice the music. If you take the time to listen though, you'll quickly realize that you're not missing out. These tracks make nursery rhymes sound like Dethklok.
On the controls scene, you can expect to use the microphone a lot. A lot of your baby's development sorely depends on you babbling nonsense into the mic. If you're not using the mic, you're tapping a rattle, or using other simple stylus movements to feed, wipe, or dress. Unlike raising a real kid, there's nothing to it.
Lastly, there is a store to buy new toys and clothes for the baby. To make money for the store, you sell pictures of your baby. I know, right? The cuter the picture, the more money you get for it. You also have the option to send pictures to Grandma, who will quickly send you a gift (clothing or toys) in return.
©2008-12-04, IGN Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved