Babies have a lot of needs. They need to be fed, their diapers need changing, they need a pacifier, and one would assume that administering some sort of loving attention would be beneficial as well. Factor in the needs of the parent, such as eating, cleaning, dealing with explosive diarrhea (yours, not the baby's), and let's not forget every parent's biggest nightmare: a sudden ice age coating the floors of the entire house with a layer of slippery ice. It's clearly no picnic being a parent.
I've been playing Mother Simulator (opens in new tab), now in Early Access on Steam, which is actually more of a first-person action game than a sim. It's presented as a game show (an audience can be heard cheering or groaning occasionally), with timed levels filled with challenges such as preparing a bottle for your baby (washing it, filling it with warm water, adding formula, putting on the nipple), and it adds new challenges as you progress (like having to feed your baby while also eating regularly yourself).
Below, you can see how it works in a video of me rushing around feeding the baby and changing its diapers. Oh, and I'm also dealing with food poisoning that has given me an uncontrollable case of the shits. Enjoy!
If it looks like I'm completely on top of my bowel problems and navigating the other challenges fairly smoothly, that's because it's my third or fourth try at the level. Things don't always go so well, as items can be dropped or knocked over—and if you drop something like a bottle or pacifier you need to wash it off in the sink or lose points. Mess up too much (say, by shitting your pants) and you have to start the level over.
I've also learned a few shortcuts: the game seems forgiving if you don't turn off the sink when you're done using it, and I skipped throwing the dirty diapers in the trash and just dropped them on the floor. Not hygienic, but one less thing to worry about while rushing through a level. As if in punishment for leaving poopie diapers lying around, there's a mini-game between levels where you throw dirty diapers out your window and through basketball hoops. Yeah, this game is pretty gross.
Mother Simulator is fun in a sort of hectic, repetitive way, though the challenges keep stacking up and they get pretty ridiculous. In one level, I have to both eat and deal with food poisoning, stuffing my face with cake and bread one moment and then running to the toilet to get rid of it all the next (while still managing to keep the baby fed and cleaned). In another level, a sudden ice age has occurred—could happen!—and I have to complete all my tasks while slipping around on an icy floor.
At least it's less harrowing than the time I had to be a parent to James, who was playing a baby determined to kill itself in the multiplayer game Who's Your Daddy. That could be pretty disturbing (though funny), but here in Mother Simulator you're told repeatedly that the baby is simply a robot. It's an electronic baby made for the TV show, not a real one, perhaps in anticipation of someone doing something awful to the baby on Twitch or YouTube. See, it's a robot! No need to send angry emails or get too upset.
Mother Simulator (opens in new tab) can be had on Steam Early Access for a couple bucks. The developer plans to add additional levels and challenges in the future, and according to its store page, the price won't go up when it launches fully.