Talking care of children has got to be one of the toughest jobs in the world. It’s amazing how much adventure, drama, comedy and tragedy can fit into such a little package. Oh yeah, and horror – have I mentioned that? Try babysitting at 6pm, also known as “witching hour” or the “six o’clock screamfest” and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. And yet, despite this, there is a never-ending line of people happy to sign up for the job.
In KinderGarten, Mila runs a kindergarten (no surprise there), and hopes someday to make it really big and famous with the best kindergarten in the city. Strictly speakings, its more of a daycare facility than a kindergarten, since your clients are still babies. Your goal is to help Mina expand her business and achieve her aspirations.
When you begin, you start off with just two children at your school. As your reputation grows, you can attract more babies. Social reputation is increased by expanding your facilities by buying more objects, keeping babies happy, and by decorating your nursery with plants and pretty flowers. Social reputation isn’t just about attracting more babies – it’s also about the bottom line. Parent’s will pay a higher daily fee if you have a better social rating.
Each baby is dropped off at your doorstep by its mother. After picking the baby up, you have a limited amount of time to place the baby on the carpet and see what he or she needs. The thought bubble over the baby’s head tells you what he wants. Babies generally need to be changed when they “pee” (click the change table) and bathed when they “poop”(click the tub).
You can feed a baby by placing her in the high chair, and clicking on the food maker. After a ten seconds (faster with a better food maker), the bottle is ready, and should be given to the hungry tyke. Sometimes the baby wants a toy, which you can bring over from the toy bin. Sleepy babies benefit from a nap in the bed, while angry babies need to sit in the playpen or “box” for a spell.
Eventually, the baby shouts “Mama” and a pair of hands appears at the door, and your job ends by bringing junior to his Mom. It’s important to do this quickly, or else Mama gets disgruntled and you will lose the daily fee. At any time, if you wish to quit or pause your game, you can click the light switch by the door.
You must keep each baby happy by filling its needs as quickly as possible. It’s important to prevent a baby from being completely unhappy for more than two minutes. Baby happiness also increases your social reputation. Although the babies are quick to anger, they are also very forgiving, and their heart meters can go up quickly when their needs are met.
The babies are unpredictable, so their needs do not following a specific pattern. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you like to play. On the upside, it prevents you from falling into a monotonous routine of point and click, because you actually have to respond individually to each baby. On the downside, it makes it really tough to build a strategy, and doesn’t allow you to anticipate a baby’s need before it arrives full force.
Some of the surprise events are humorous, and the language used to describe them is… erm, earthy. One wonders if this humor is intentional or not. For example, you are bluntly told that the baby “peed” or “pooped.” Or, you get a message that “baby vomited,” and then a visual of the little guy spewing green sludge in the air which lands on his face. When that happens, you just wipe his face off with a towel.
At the end of each day, you have the option of going shopping, as well as saving your game. In the main screen, the caregiver holds up a sign that tells you your current social reputation, while a child holds up a sign which tells you the general experience of the children at the daycare. You can buy upgraded items, like faster food makers and better cribs and playpens, plus decorative items like flowers which increase your social reputation.
If you have the money, you might want more employees, like a receptionist, bedroom nanny or cook. These employees have different skill levels depending on how much you can afford to pay. You can also contact the interim employment agency and hire extra help, like a clown (makes all babies happy), a cook (serves food automatically), a Nanny (keeps babies entertained on the floor), and a babysitter (keeps babies asleep longer). On weekends, you can visit the real estate agent and expand your premises by adding on a bedroom, kitchen, and reception area.
While its certainly colorful, the art tends to be a bit simplistic and overly cartoonish. A slightly less “bright” and more detailed style might have been a better choice. Also, there isn’t a great deal of variety in the amount of upgrades available to players. It would have been nice to see more options for improving the center.
As a time management game, KinderGarten is perhaps not as visually alluring or strategically arranged as Carrie the Caregiver or Diner Dash, though it attempts to make up for this with it’s quirkiness and unpredictable game play. It’s a cute one to play of you like childcare-themed games and aren’t too concerned about developing a real strategy.