Sometimes caring for half a dozen children takes a little magic!
What are you supposed to do when you are an exceptional babysitter and magically talented at the same time? Gwen the Magic Nanny by Namco Networks answers this question in a very charming and entertaining way. In this challenging, yet adorable time management game the player has to care for the children of seven different families that look like they cmae right out of a fairy tale.
The story behind Gwen the Magic Nannyis as simple as it could be. Gwen has always been a fantastic babysitter, and just learned that magical abilities are part of her family tree, so she herself is blessed with this gift too. She immediately gets invited to Fantasy Town, where she has to help seven very different and interesting families take care of their children and homes. The game features 21 levels altogether, with three levels dedicated to each family. This might not sound that much, especially since there is only one game mode available, but in fact the levels can be quite long and you will find yourself entertained for three to four hours. Thus Gwen the Magic Nannyavoids the flaw of many similar titles, namely to become boring and repetitive in later stages.
The basic gameplay can be easily compared to older titles such as Daycare Nightmare or Nanny Mania 2. You will take care of the children of different families, which includes preparing and delivering meals, entertainment, putting the children to bed and other tasks. But apart from those common similarities, Gwen the Magic Nanny convincingly distinguishes itself from those games. For one thing, the player is not supposed to carry the children to various stations that fulfill their needs. Rather the children move through the houses on their own, and you have to drag snacks to them, or drag the children to the toilet, the sink, the table, the shower, the tv, or the study table, depending what they currently want. The further you advance in the game, the more children and babies will be at home at the same time.
Every time Gwen fulfills the need of a child, this child will release purple orbs, which you have to collect. Those orbs then enable Gwen to use her magical powers. Depending on your current type of wand, you are able to cast up to ten different spells. The probably most important spell is also the cheapest one, which collects all magical orbs currently available at once. Other spells calm angry kids, cook all possible meals at once, or enable Gwen to teleport through the house. The magical orbs also serve as a sort of currency to purchase upgrades, such as better wands, boots that will make Gwen move faster, and other skill-improving objects.
Another twist that sets Gwen the Magic Nanny apart from similar titles are the goals. Instead of earning a specific amount of money or points to beat a level, you simply have to put the children to bed before the day ends. Every child has an energy bar, and this bar has to be empty before the end of the day. Additionally you also have to find certain objects that the family has lost. This adds further pressure, because you will not have much time left to look for those things due to the children’s neverending demands. This approach really changes your usual time management experience, because instead of earning money as quickly as possible, you really have to stay on your toes to fulfill the children’s needs quickly.
Gwen the Magic Nannyalso excels when it comes to style and variety. The houses of the families are wonderfully drawn and very cohesive thematically. The home of the Kaboongas looks like a Hawaiian holiday resort, the Krills live in a beautiful underwater world, while the place of the McKannics feels like a trip to the future to name a few. Even the pets of the families fit, and can become very dangerous when you neglect them too long. Every section of the game is filled with adorable and creative surprises and details, and nearly every home is worth a closer look.
The major flaw we experienced with Gwen the Magic Nannywere the controls. With up to ten different characters to care for, things are hectic enough without having to deal with clicks that don’t always register properly. When you try to drag children to certain places, or drag snacks to the children, often those movements are not registered. It is even worse when it comes to collecting the mana orbs, which leads to Gwen running all over the house again and again, because your clicks on orbs are registered as orders to move Gwen on a regular basis. In fact this is the single real issue the game has, and unfortunately it is enough to lower the fun while playing significantly.
Still, all in all Gwen the Magic Nannyis definitely one of the more interesting releases we have seen lately. If you are able to handle hectic time management games and can pardon controls that become very annoying and frustrating at times, this game for sure is a worthwhile addition for every fan of time management games. Gwen the Magic Nanny may not be the longest game on the market, but for the time it lasts it is very charming and entertaining.