Review: My Little Baby (WiiWare)

Needs a time out

Simulation titles have come in all shapes and forms, from home decoration with Home Sweet Home to virtual fireplaces with Cosy Fire and many more. This time around we have My Little Baby, a simplified version of the DS retail title of the same name, where your aim is to raise and care for a baby. While it tries to present this realistically, it's a very boring experience.

There's only one mode available, which is the main simulator. Unlike other sim games, you don't directly choose the appearance of your baby. In this game, you choose the characteristics of the mother and the father such as ethnicity, hair colour, hair style and eye colour and this will decide what your baby will look like, in order to add a sense of realism to proceedings.

Once you begin, you will need to take care of things such as your baby's health, nourishment, happiness and cleanliness, aiming to keep these to a high level. You'll be guided by a nanny who helps explain things such as what the different rooms do and what to do to complete activities, as well as alert you whenever one of these different aspects drops to a low level.

In order to maintain these levels and keep your baby happy and healthy, there are a number of different activities available across the house which vary between different parts of the house, such as cleaning him/her in the bathroom or giving the baby a rattle in the playroom, so there's a fair amount of content here to keep you occupied. You can also venture off into town to buy various baby items such as bibs, bedroom lights, bodysuits, medicines, dummies and more.

For My Little Baby though, the developers have tried to present the activities realistically. For example, if the baby is hungry, you will be required to go through the entire process of preparing a bottle to feed your baby: you must sterilise it, fill it with milk, heat it and then do a minigame where you have to tilt the bottle to feed your baby correctly. As time progresses, your baby will grow and you will be able to do other activities, such as teaching it how to crawl and walk or start feeding it solid foods.

While it's commendable for the game to present these activities in a vaguely realistic manner, the tasks such as the whole bottle preparation or rocking the baby to sleep are very simplistic and tedious. However, this approach means that it's ideally suited for little children as the controls are very easy to learn for the minigames, and playing My Little Baby is just like playing with an actual baby doll so it's bound to keep them interested for quite a while.

Graphically, the game uses a colourful art style that works well with the menus, but unfortunately the baby's character model is rather badly done and, unlike most babies, not exactly pretty to look at.

Conclusion

Overall this is a mixed bag: young children will appreciate being able to care for a virtual baby, but the repetitive nature of the minigames sets in after a while. As an interactive, digital alternative to a toy doll, it's worth considering at 600 Points.