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Nanny Mania is a time management game developed by Toybox Games, and can be found on many of the popular game downloading sites. I try a lot of time management games and have probably played most of the ones on the Big Fish Games section, Nanny Mania has been one that I've always remembered on the site.
The game is suitable for pretty much anyone who can manage their time well, as you don't have to have played many time management games before this one to get the hang of it. You can purchase it from most of the game downloading sites such as Yahoo or Sky Games, however I bought mine from Big Fish Games, who I always think are the best to download these games from, at around £3 and it is likely to still be that price. From these websites, there is also the chance to download an hour trial which is helpful and definitely enough time to know if you'll like the full game.
The story basically follows the Mayor of Surburbia and his family, which starts at just his wife and baby daughter but then expands to 2 more children as the game progresses. Being such a busy family, this leads them to hiring a nanny to help look after their house and children and stop it going chaotic.
The gameplay is pretty simple in that you just control the nanny through clicking her to various points throughout the house. The main aim of the game is to complete all the tasks before the timer runs out and I found that while the levels were really easy at the beginning, they definitely got more challenging as time went on.
Most of the tasks you'll have to do are pretty samey throughout the levels such as putting the cushions back on sofas, remaking the beds, scrubbing floors, feeding the family and doing the laundry. Many of these things just required one click, however they do sometimes go a bit different and require you to do multiple clicks, which makes it a bit more time managey. The same tasks however did get kind of annoying as it was basically the same format for every level just with some new characters added in here and there.
The graphics are well done on here and they're a bit like the Sims if not slightly more bigger and less detailed. However, while the characters themselves aren't detailed, the surroundings and items in the house definitely are and have been well developed to appear crisp. It's laid out really well so it's easy for you to click on the things you need to sort out in the home and you never have to do any awkward clicking to get something that could be hiding behind something else.
The sound to the game matches well, and while I was playing I didn't really take any notice of a backing track as I was too busy focusing on the little sounds the game makes to tell you your chore is done. However, in some cases the sounds got really annoying but I couldn't turn them off because I needed them to actually know when things were done!
The difficultly level of the game is pretty low and I'd say it's quite simple and not that complicated once you've played it for a couple of levels. Most of the tasks you need to do are clearly shown with their yellow outline and they give you a counter at the bottom to show you how many tasks are actually left for you to complete.
Overall, I found this game to be very enjoyable and a well developed time management game. While it might not offer a variety of features like other time management games like Diner Dash, it is still a pretty fun concept and managed to keep me entertained for the entire game despite being quite repetitive. It isn't very difficult and is easy to get the hang of, making it a great game to play for whatever time lengths you play for.
Working for Posh and Becks?
The problem with the middle classes is that they just dont know how to treat servants. The upper classes, with their old money, have had ample opportunity to learn from their ancestors about how one behaves towards ones servants. One should address them by their proper title (eg Mrs so-and-so), treat them as family, show respect and generosity at every opportunity.
The middle classes and worse still, the nouveau riche, are happy to address the help by first names, demand chores to be done within a time limit and generally look down upon people who have access to their home, child and private affairs. A big mistake, most celebrities fall into this latter category.
Its front page news when Mr and Mrs Stereotype have a baby. Hes the town mayor and too busy with his golf and tracking crap all over the hall floor to even look at his kids. Doesnt pay much attention to the missus either and often pops out (smartly dressed) without mentioning where hes going. Shes occupied with long baths and so out of it on Valium that shes unable to even take the plug out herself, let alone drag the kids to Costa Coffee so she can pose as a Yummy Mummy. Its all gone a bit Desperate Housewives. Dressed like Supernanny, you swoop in to save this dis-functional family from, at the very least, imprisonment for child neglect.
Graphics and Sound Effects.
Opening up the little world of 2 storey house and front garden, the first thing that hits you is the graphics. A cross between old-skool power trip The Sims and fuzzy felt (no expressions on faces here) the rooms of the house are beautifully detailed down to the decoration. From the mess on the floor and the dirty nappies, to the food you serve up on the kitchen table, nothing seems particularly blocky or two-dimensional. The bright colours and neat layout are attention grabbing and easy on the eye.
Sound effects arent too bad either. Although the parents maintain a deathly silence, even giving you the cold shoulder when you leave them waiting two hours for dinner, the babies cry and the house becomes full of toddler laughter as they grow. Its all quite sweet really, the sounds provided are alerts rather than the pedantic flushing of toilets and swishing of mops. There is a slight hitch with this though, you can only hear one sound at a time, i.e if the dinner is cooking, you cant hear the baby crying.
So whats expected of you? Well, in this respect, Id say Nanny was a bit of a misnomer. Youre not like Supernanny, with her child focused skills and naughty step, youre more like the poor foreign girls getting yelled at on Meet The Au-Pair. From my next-door-neighbours (these walls are so thin!), I understand the difference between the two jobs to be the element of cleaning required. An Au-Pair is there to get the house spick and span and incidentally deal with the children to save the expense of two lots of hired help. And in Nanny Mania, this is exactly what you do.
Following a Ready-Steady-Go type countdown, you dash into the house and start getting on with those chores. The post needs bringing in, but were in the modern world and youll need to check the inbox on the computer too. Get those sofa cushions back on the sofa, scrub the toilet and mop the floor. Its straightforward point and click gameplay, with some occasional tasks requiring multiple steps. Eg, Picking up the washing, putting it in the machine, then the dryer, then back in the cupboard. The extra degree of complexity makes the game a little more interesting than it would otherwise be.
As you progress through the levels, the children grow alongside the piles of washing and the items around the house. Babies become toddlers, flying around on a demolition course in wheeled baby walkers (arent these banned now??) and toddlers become older children who tear beds and sofas apart. New brothers and sisters are born and you can coo over a toddlers new racing car bed. You get less time to complete the days tasks though, and beware taking too long over things as yet more mess will appear. After baby number 4 is born, the eldest child heads off to school for the day, so youre never looking after more than three at a time. There are 150 levels, each with more and more mess. Perhaps this is what its like living with me?
Due to the Point and Click style of gameplay, this isnt a hard game. You look around the house to find items highlighted with a yellow edge and click on these to clean and tidy. The concept is easy to grasp and the most difficult tasks require at most, 4 clicks. A baby is the most demanding, crying to be fed and changed, while a toddler seems content to occupy itself. The parents make far more mess than all the children combined. This game is suitable for all ages and although the press reports at the beginning of each level are provided to keep you apace with the story line, you dont even have to read these to play it.
Hint and Tips.
While youre doing one job, start looking for the next so that you dont waste any time.
Dont do jobs you may have to repeat before the end of the level for example, dont start wiping up muddy footprints if the dad is approaching the front door, youll be doing it all again 10 seconds later.
Pick up all the washing at once and double check that theres no more kicking about on bedroom floors. As in real life, youll only have to do another wash if you miss somehting.
While the dinners cooking, the family wait at the kitchen table. This gives you a bit of respite and time to get those clothes out of the dryer.
Watch for alerts as well as listen. As mentioned earlier, no more than one sound effect plays at a time but every time a new task is created for you (nappy change or toddler emptying the bookcase) icons which look like little bricks will appear. These are actually minus signs, somewhat like the pluses which appear when you complete a job. It looks like the baby is throwing bricks out of its cot!
Ok, its not much like being a * real * nanny, there are no opportunities to smoke crack in front of the kids or slate the parents in a malicious blog. Youre not going to get paid, either. However, the kids and the mess they make swiftly become annoying, youre never going to be on the best of terms with the silent parents and the endless cleaning is tiring. Its a cute little game which managed to hold my attention through a few levels, a nice diversion but probably not something Id actually buy. This game could be improved upon, with more variety in the way of tasks and the opportunity to forge relationships with the children youre supposed to be caring for. Even some ability to distract the children from destroying the house such as instigating games or offering bribes would add a new dimension. However, being made the way it is, its as simple and straightforward a game as you could ever wish for. Can you manage a busy household? the manufacturers ask. In this instance, Id say pretty much anyone can.
Where To Get It.
Nanny Mania is described as a casual game, is developed by Toybox Games and published by Gogii Games. If youve been interested to read this far, you can download a 1 hour free trial of Nanny Mania from < http://www.bigfishgames.c om/download-games/1645/nann ymania/index.html?afcode=af2696a4f 7dd&src=bfg12y09engsnama&gclid= COPkmeburowCFSdPE godlQwD Sw > or buy a full version from several sites for around £10-12. At the moment its 50% off at iwin.com for the full version. If you want to give it as a gift to anyone considering becoming a housewife / househusband / Au Pair / Nanny, your best bet is to buy it on ebay at < http://search.ebay.co.uk/search/search.dll?from= R40&satitle= nanny+mani a > where you can buy the CD ROM now or bid starting from $0.99. For the purposes of this review, Ive had a good look on Amazon and I cant see it there. Anyway, happy housekeeping!
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