(edit: added a gameplay video I found on YouTube.)

Curtis says: Usually games like these bore me. But this one has baby coo-ing sounds, and that somehow made me feel at ease. I couldn’t tear my eyes away for a good 10 minutes. Little girls would probably like this way more than I do.

Most definitely a Diner Dash clone, Carrie the Caregiver will be serving babies in a nursery instead of customers in a restaurant. Babies’ needs are represented in thought bubbles, and as the game goes on, you get the storybook (podium in Diner Dash), the pacifier (coffee), and the mobile. You need to warm up bottles, feed the babies, burp them, change them, and clean up the bassinets.

Customer types are replaced by baby types. Sometimes you get the happy baby, which doesn’t need a lot, but can take up your bassinets for half the shift. Sometimes you get the fussy baby who will demand that you get there RIGHT NOW or the hearts level will drop very quickly. Then there’s the hungry baby who will need to be fed and burped twice – he’s also impatient about food! There are more baby types as well but they come in the latter half of the game. The standbys of restaurant management sims, such as the blanket colors and stack bonuses also apply. There’s also the addition of one time power-ups that appear at the door – roller skates so you can move faster, soap to clean yourself up after one too many diaper changes, and food to keep your energy up.

This is the first round. It doesn’t really do the game justice since it has the least colors / power-ups, etc, but you can get the idea of what I mean by “gee that sounds CUTE.”

Carrie the Caregiver does a few things well: first of all, it’s CUTE. It’s cute with a capital C. There’s nothing quite like a room full of babies cooing (the ultimate nursery fantasy) and even the cries are plaintive and cute, not shrill and annoying like real life. The music is lovely, and soothing (though there’s only one tune playing the whole time, which gets really repetitive after a while) and Carrie has a lovely voice as she says things like “here you go”, “there…” and “all clean!” She’s like the perfect caregiver that you always wish you are when you have a 3 month old screaming colicky baby asking for … something.

It’s unrealistic, but I can dream, can’t I?

Carrie moves from one country to another, and the scene of the nursery changes, but the core gameplay stays the same. There’s also a very thoughtful training mode where the hearts don’t go down, so you can go through the level and figure out the sequence of what to do. However, after a while the game does get a bit repetitive – the music, for one, never really changes. It’d be nice if there’s a theme at each location to enrich the atmosphere. The upgrades aren’t very rewarding; you hardly notice them.

When it comes down to it, Carrie the Caregiver is another Diner Dash Clone that adds new dimensions to the genre while injecting it with massive cuteness points. Worth trying to hear the coos of a roomful of babies alone. The one hour trial will probably get you to the end of the second country. Check out the screenshots and details from their official site if a download is too much commitment.