"Never fear, Nanny is here," says Nanny Stella of Nanny 911, the TV show that inspired this game. Parents with their own children may not care to play Nanny 911 when they already live and breathe the job, and everyone else might find that playing the unoriginal time management game often feels more punishing than entertaining.
The three nannies (none of whom have the same name as those on the TV show), stand by to help five families. Each nanny represents a level of difficulty. Nanny Claudia assigns the fewest tasks for the easy level followed by Nanny Matilda at medium and Betty for the hardest level. You pick the nanny to help the family. You can choose to start easy with the first one, move up to hard with the second, go back to easy with the third – it’s up to you.
Following in the footsteps of Nanny Mania and Babysitting Mania, your job is to click to clean, prepare meals, change diapers, put kids down for naps and stop the fights. The nanny you select gives you instructions on how to play and complete these tasks. A level in Nanny 911 consists of a daytime and a nighttime shift. Nanny grades you on both shifts based on how fast you finish them and then gives you an overall grade for the day. You can change nannies when working with a family, but you have to exit out of the game back to the main menu to do it.
The game resembles Gogii Games’ Nanny Mania, but one unique twist is that Mom and Dad have tasks they need to do to finish the level as well. They do it all even clean up, discipline the kids, set the table, cook dinner, playing with the dog, joining the family for fun and games and breaking their own bad habits. After all, kids model parent behavior.
Another difference is the mini-game that you play halfway through the week. The mini-game is a match three style game mini-game where you need to collect a certain number of bears, time, and folders. The game calls it taking a break with Nanny Advice mini-game, and it seems to serve no purpose beyond breaking up the time management gameplay.
It’s good to see the families differ in sizes, gender and culture. It’d be nice of their homes also reflected their personalities and cultures. With 70 levels, though, Nanny 911 could stand more diversity. Otherwise, Mom always kicks the sofa often and yells on the phone while Dad always argues a lot with the TV and eats outside of the kitchen. At least, the parents do everything – not just gender-specific roles. Sometimes Mom grills. Sometimes Dad changes diapers. The homes don’t change much with the first few families. The last two have the most different layout, but the style and design looks the same. It takes practice to get a feel for moving around the scene as it scrolls while you move your mouse.
The tediousness comes in managing the parents. You have a green and red hand for praising or chastising good and bad behavior. Mom starts eating in her room, get out the red hand and get her to stop. Now you need to have Mom set the table, you need to switch to Mom mode. To get Dad to do something, you need to switch to Dad mode. All this red, green, mom and dad switching is tiresome and not intuitive.
Another peeve is that when it comes time for the family to sit down for dinner and the toddler needs to go down for a nap, the family has to wait for the kid to nap. No way around it. And if the parent who is supposed to put the toddler down is already at the dinner table, you can’t use that parent.
You can click ahead a few steps, but the clicks mess up even though the screen shows you clicked. Those missed clicks can cost you an A on your report card. If you do the day shift and then quit the game, you’ll have to replay the day shift as the game only saves your progress after doing both shifts. After playing through all five families, you can revisit any level to try to score an A+ otherwise there’s little reason to replay the game.
Nanny may be here, but she doesn’t do a thing or calm your fears except sit quietly in the corner of the screen. She just gives assignments to clean up, discipline the kids and so on. At least, the nannies give you an update on the families at the end of the game. As in most families, Mom and Dad do all of the work including the cleaning up and that’s what you get in Nanny 911, over and over. While you can save the family, there’s not much else the game can do to save itself.