Following in the footsteps of similar games like Carrie the Caregiver and Birdies, Daycare Nightmare is yet another time management game that allow you to cater to cute kids. These kids, however, aren’t nearly as cute as ones in the aforementioned games. Slimes, vampires, cyclops are 3 of the 5 types of kids you’ll serve. On the first glance, the graphics looked pretty cheesy (especially the comic scenes where it’s downright amateurish), but once you dive into it, you’d realize that you’re playing a time management game with much more depth than, say, Turbo Pizza.

Your protagonist (Molly) started out as a girl running a coffee shop, then later “convinced” to run a daycare for monsters living in your midst. The task is simple – keep the babies happier at pick-up than when they were dropped off. These babies will play or fight together on the mat, demands to be fed, cry to be changed, whine for naps, and ask to go play in the play area. Your job? Carry them from one spot to another. You’ll find yourself always running around with one baby in hand and switching his place with other babies, since somebody almost always need something.

Each baby also has his own cycles of needs: feed -> change -> play -> sleep. If you manage to let a baby go through a cycle without getting upset from your taking too long to get to it, it will gain a halo multiplier. You can gain up to 5 of these by completing 5 cycles, but once you let it get upset even once, it’ll lose all of its halos. So you’ll soon learn to prioritize – if a 5x halo baby is demanding something, you look after him first, versus the one with no halos.

The babies are the life of this game. Even though there are only 5 different baby types, they are very much distinctive, and the interactions between the babies rival that of the employees in Miss Management. They play together, fight together (and if you let a fight go on for too long, they get boo-boos), and when a particular baby gets too angry, every other one is affected. Cyclops will let out a war cry and everyone on the mat will start fighting; ghosts will scare all the babies and they will immediately all need a change of diaper; dragons tend to burn everything in sight, including other babies.

In between missions, you can choose to buy something with your tip money before starting the next. You could purchase power-ups with funny names like the Eyeball Lollipop that reduces the chance of a fight breaking out, or how about a Cranium Bowl that cuts feeding time down by 60%? There are also extra highchairs and cribs you can buy, as well as “services” like the exorcist that would reduce the chance of a haunting by a ghost baby.

Molly never seem to run fast enough to tend to all her babies, and I guess that is what makes a time management game special. The only thing I had a bit of a complaint about is the unbalanced way the tipping system works. By prioritizing the more difficult babies like the ghost, dragon or cyclops, and working them to a 5x halo, you could make over $1000 in tips by ignoring the rest of the babies the entire day, and only caring for 4 of them. If you try to cater to everyone (at least feed the slimes once in a while), chances are you might end up with less than $100.

Gameplay graphcs in this game is not quite stunning as unbelievably cute. It’s obvious that a lot of work has gone into creating the game graphics, and the little touches really stand out. For example, the dragon breathes fire when they fight, vampires drink blood in the highchair instead of milk, and every monster has a different toy animation since they’re interested in different kinds of toys. Each of the locations also have completely different looking “task stations” – a crib may look like a crib in your first day care, but in a cave it’s a mud pile with straw on top, and in a castle it becomes a coffin. Music is appropriately creepy but cute, and the sound effects of the little vampires going “grwarrr” is just adorable.

Daycare Nightmare is not a long game, but should provide 5-6 hours of enjoyment. When you’re done story mode, you can play the Endless Day, which gives you all the upgrades you already bought in an unending day. Not a minute game (since it doesn’t save mid-level) but each mission shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes. It’s definitely worth getting if you’re in the game club.

Hints: Daycare Nightmare

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