Saturday, September 22

Review: Think of the Children [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Being a parent is certainly a unique experience, full of many challenges, and chock full of WTF situations where your kids will truly amaze you with the mayhem they’re capable of generating. Running with this idea, and taking it a bit to an extreme, is Think of the Children, a game that will challenge you (and ideally some friends) to complete typical parent tasks while trying to keep your brood of 6 troublesome youngins alive. Just be ready to be exasperated, though no doubt that’s part of the point.


Whether the scenario is as simple as a trip to the park or even going out to pick up some groceries it turns out the people behind this title have thought up every possible way things can go wrong in a given scenario. While your supposed primary goals are spelled out in a checklist at the beginning of each level, ultimately completing them is something you’ll end up doing on the side as keeping these little maniacs alive is a constant struggle. Whether they’re running around in the road, messing with a variety of animals that can be lethal, or playing with knives (and so much more), you’ll often find yourself spread thin trying to either grab the kids outright or yelling in some proximity to them to keep them from harm’s way. If you’re able to complete a stage you’ll then get a score and grade that are determined by which tasks you were able to complete, then multiplied by how many children you were able to keep alive.


Humor is absolutely a central part of the game, and as frustrating as it can be you’ll need some laughs. Though obviously a bit tragic the kids can die in a shocking variety of ways and some are more ridiculous than others. Of course witnessing their demise won’t be enough, the cutscenes in between where you’ll then have your shortcoming as a parent gone through by a judge add some additional flavor and often underline the ridiculousness of the game as a whole.


The game’s main weakness is really that as a single-player experience it’s a bit too hard to progress as a whole. Playing with up to 3 friends makes the fact that kids will get into trouble at different corners of the screen simultaneously less hopeless, and you can then shoot for more of a zone defense approach to be successful. I’m not sure if the game intended to emphasize the wisdom in there being 2 parents, or even better that it takes a village to raise a child, but while the extremes the game goes to are pretty ridiculous (and generally entertaining) the aggravation of parenting comes through in Think of the Children with some authenticity.


Score: 7

Pros:
  • If you’re able to play with friends (or fellow parents) it can be a silly blast
  • Loaded with humor between the many ridiculous ways the children will get into trouble or meet their demise and the brutal finger-wagging summaries you’ll get from the judge in cutscenes
  • For parents so many of these situations and scenarios are heavily relatable, adding to the humor

Cons:
  • Not ideal as a single-player experience, it’s far more approachable with more people
  • Once the novelty of the silliness wears off the underlying gameplay is relatively simple
  • Sometimes the visual cues for what you’re supposed to do and where lack clarity