Nanny Mania is out now. You can download the game here.
Most of the people who enjoy time-management games probably have a type-A personality. There’s something about going into a chaotic situation and creating order that appeals to me. In fact, the thrill that comes with clearing the last table in Diner Dash is similar to what I feel after cleaning my own house. If that sounds like you, check out Nanny Mania from Gogii Games when it appears online next week.
Picture being the housekeeper for a middle to upper class family in suburban America. Like Alice from the Brady Bunch, your responsibilities would include cleaning, cooking and caring for young ones, among other sundry tasks. Instead of a peppery old woman with a beehive do, though, Nanny Mania casts you as a spry young blonde with the power of a thousand Energizer Bunnies — or a dozen cups of coffee — coursing through her veins.
As the nanny for the mayor of Suburbia, you’ll spend each day doing laundry, making beds, serving meals and picking up after one of the messiest families this side of television’s Clean Sweep. If you’re a type-A personality, you’re going to enjoy setting these expulsive homebodies straight.
You view the action from a Sims-style perspective, allowing you to peer down into a roofless house to guide your nanny from task to task. When something needs attention, it’s highlighted in yellow. For example, when you start a new day, unmade beds and a dirty toilet are usually outlined, calling attention to these chores. You can click as many duties as you wish, and your nanny will perform them in the order in which you selected them.
Like many household errands, some tasks require more than one step. For example, latter levels begin with clothes scattered throughout the house. After picking them up, you must throw them in the washer, then toss them in the dryer and then place them in the dresser chest in the master bedroom. Since each level has a time limit, you’ve got to be efficient, so while the clothes are washing, it’s a good idea to change the baby’s diaper.
To make Nanny Mania more challenging, you’re shown only a portion of the house at any time. This means you’ve got to rely on audio cues, such as the “Ding!” of the washer finishing, to determine what to do next, then scroll through the house by moving your mouse pointer toward the edges of your screen. Don’t worry, though; the scrolling is smooth and comes natural after a level or two.
Nanny Mania starts out easy, giving you just a few tasks and one baby to care for, in addition to mom and dad. Over time, the family grows to include four children at different stages of development. The most challenging members are the infants in walkers, who like to rampage through the rooms knocking over lamps and pulling books off of bookcases. When they’re at their busiest, a Chaos Meter at the bottom of the screen tends to swing toward the red. Fortunately, you can drink a cup of coffee and zip through the house like a white tornado, putting things back in order.
In a mirror of real life, you’ll find yourself settling into a routine as you play. For example, I like to start each day with a shot of caffeine, then get the laundry going, after which I check the mailbox. The game will attempt to throw you off from time to time, though, by having the family sit down for a meal at an inopportune time or letting dad track in mud as he returns from golfing. As the children become teenagers, they no longer knock over lamps, but they do leave an inordinate amount of dirty clothes lying around, forcing you to adjust your routine accordingly.
Visually, Nanny Mania looks like a more colorful, higher resolution version of The Sims. The artwork and animation are quite polished, and will impress you as the dad kicks up his feet after a hard day, the mom takes a bath and the toddlers wreak their destruction.
The release version will contain just one environment, although Gogii plans to offer new downloadable content throughout the year, including pets, holiday-themed add-ons, additional locations and more. The expansions are slated to be made available to registered users for free.
Rest assured you’ll have your hands full until then. Nanny Mania comes with three characters, two of which must be unlocked. After the housekeeper completes her tour of duty, you can play as the mom, who faces tougher challenges than her predecessor. Next up is dad, who sets out to prove a man can keep a house in order, too, even though his levels are the hardest. Combined, the three characters offer 150 levels of gameplay.
It’s interesting how a developer can take a tough job, such as being a housekeeper, and make a fun game out of it. When Nanny Mania becomes available next week, give it a shot and see if it sweeps you away.