When someone tells you about a monster of a child, it usually means the kid is a screamer, hitter or doesn’t listen. But not in the case of the children in Daycare Nightmare. They’re seriously monsters and this isn’t an insult. Vampires, blobs, ghosts, Cyclops, and fire-breathing dragons. Oh, my!
Molly unfortunately gets trapped into running a daycare for the little monsters. Let’s put it this way: if she doesn’t, the mommy monster will follow through on her threat. Molly must quickly take care of the babies’ needs or else she’ll get bit or the dragon will hurt the other babies. Wait too long to help the ghost baby, and its screams scares all the other baby beasts into wetting their diapers. Poor Molly — she can only change on diaper at a time with no one else to help.
The daycare starts with a monster’s little place, but then they force Molly to move it elsewhere. She can’t stay in one place longer than a week since the monsters keep coming back to their homes. The change in scenery not only offers a new style to enjoy, but also ups the challenge since the diaper changing table, high chair, play mat and crib for naps change location. In one house, the crib might be on the lower left hand corner while in another it’s in the right hand corner. When Molly sets up shop at Count Vlad’s castle, the crib is a crypt.
Endless Day mode requires that Molly keep the little beasts happy for as long as she can or until the happiness meter runs out. The Story Mode day starts at 8:00 am and ends around 4:00 pm. To get through to the next level in the adventure game, Molly must keep the beasties happy. If the happiness meter falls below a certain point, then it’s game over and who knows what happens to Molly. She receives tips based on each beastie’s happy meter — the higher the happiness, the bigger the tip.
You can use the tips to buy power-ups such as changing fewer diapers, lowering the chances of fighting and speeding up feeding time. The problem is that the tips only buy a few basic things and then they get too expensive by the time the game turns harder, which means smaller tips.
Very quickly the game turns frenzied and the little monsters want the same things at the same time. This is a dangerous situation as it doesn’t take long for the monsters to do something to hurt others or scare each other. Through practice we learned to pick up and hold a monster who wants a bottle at the same time as another who already occupies the feeding chair, and then swap them as soon as the one in the chair finishes.
Unfortunately, in very short order three or four want the same things. It’s a lost cause that leads to getting stuck on a level for way too long. We haven’t been able to get past one level for two days. It’s not unusual for this to happen, but the result is the same and none of the playing tips makes a difference.
The game’s controls are flaky, which can easily put Molly in danger. Usually, the best way to move a monster is to swap it with another. On occasion, the game doesn’t recognize the click so the swap isn’t made and since we’re moving quickly, we don’t realize that Molly is still holding the complaining beast.
Clicking ahead usually works in most "race around and complete the task" games, but not in Daycare Nightmare. We’re not talking two or three clicks down the road, but one click. For example, when we clicked a baby to take it to the front door where its mother waited to pick him up, many times we’d arrived at the door with no baby. Other times, we’d have the baby heading for the door, only to continue carrying the little beast with us as we headed off to care for another baby’s needs. We expected that after clicking the door, Molly would complete the task and then proceed to the next step.
The game provides fun at the start, but frustration follows quickly. In spite of the cute theme, the game soon becomes a race between persistence and giving up. This isn’t one for the younger humans who easily scare or get discouraged. Sure, monsters need love, but Daycare Nightmare often feels closer to a nightmare than entertainment. Still, the gripping story compels you to stick with it so you can find out what happens to Molly.