Nanny Mania


nannymania1.jpg

JohnBCasual games have the unique ability to turn boring, stressful and un-fun tasks into entertainment. Nanny Mania by ToyBox Games follows a formula similar to downloadable games such as Diner Dash and Cake Mania where you play a working woman going through the daily grind in order to make a living. The Mayor of Suburbia and his wife are too busy to cook and clean up after their growing family, so it's your job to straighten furniture, do the laundry, and perform all the little tasks that need to be done during the day. Boring in real life, but Nanny Mania is so well put together you'll have a blast.

nannymania2.jpgKeeping things tidy is remarkably easy: just click on the objects with a yellow outline. You can do things in any order you like, though it's always best to do tasks close by so you don't spend your valuable time running across the house. A checkmark appears on items you've clicked, allowing you to set up a queue of tasks and operate more efficiently. Some tasks have several stages to them such as gathering laundry, putting it in the washing machine and then into the dryer. These are linked together by flashing yellow outlines, keeping the interface as simple and easy to use.

As you enter the house each day a number of chores are waiting for your nanny-like attention. Start gathering the laundry and tend to multi-stage tasks first, then take care of smaller things in-between. As the family moves about the house they create more work for you (especially babies knocking everything over), so keep an eye on everyone as best you can. The day comes to an end when you complete your chores before the time limit runs out. If you're efficient, however, you can finish much sooner than that and earn bonus points.

Analysis: Nanny Mania has a great visual style that feels like a cross between Virtual Villagers and The Sims. The animations are fluid, especially those of the nanny, and sound effects help clue you in on tasks that need to be completed. The interface couldn't be simpler and makes things like cleaning the aquarium far less tedious than one would think.

On the down side, Nanny Mania gets repetitive due to a lack of variety, both in types of chores and in scenery. Something as simple as changing houses would have completely revived the game midway through its 150 levels. The game's difficulty increases as you progress (though it's always a bit too easy) with more family members creating more messes for you to clean. Timing these events to keep things straight gets hectic, but after a few stages you get the distinct "been there, done that" feeling. Even playing as new characters late in the game (the mom and the dad) doesn't change much.

Despite the lack of variety, Nanny Mania is one of the better casual resource management games out there and scores high marks in every other department. Repetition hits after an hour or two of play, but rumored expansions could easily cover up the only blemish on the game's pristine appearance.

Try the online Shockwave version.


WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Nanny Mania is available to download from these affiliates:
Arcade TownBig Fish Games

30 Comments

One could recreate the bare bones of this game on a Windows desktop. Simply have a counter in one corner of the screen, and then make a random icon flash. When you click on the flashing icon, you get points!

You can then spend your points at an online Windows store... perhaps to get personalised software, such as Outlook Express (For Jeremy).

It would be an even more rewarding experience!

After level 2 it stops, but it is fun while it lasts! I wish it didn't need buying though to play full game :(

A word of warning - many game portals (though not Arcadetown, interestingly enough), say that you can "Earn dozens of upgrades for your house to help you handle your hectic day-to-day schedule." This is totally false - as far as I can tell, there are no upgrades to be earned in this game.

If you download the demo and don't close it, you can play the entire game.

Oh, and when everyone sits down for a meal, they won't get up so just do everything in the house so the children won't make more messes etc.

Once you figure that out it's a wee dull.

one of the upgrades they give as a teaser in the demo is

a 'cup of coffee' from the kitchen which makes you run at bionic woman speeds

pretty fun time management game...

I agree, it's surprisingly fun to do the chores, because a sparkling clean house is so nice to have. Perhaps the game exploits my OCD tendencies? xD

And about that upgrade, it's quite a handy one:

First thing I do when my day begins is grab a cup of coffee (IRL, too!) and then scurry around the house picking up all the laundry first. That gives me a huge advantage and allows my day to end perfectly almost every time. =)

It's actually not Flash, but Director, which makes it unplayable in Linux.

True, there's the cup of coffee - I wasn't thinking of it as an upgrade, but I guess you can think of it as such. However, unless I'm mistaken, it's the only upgrade in the game. Which is well shy of the "dozens of upgrades".

Note also that the upgrades are not mentioned anywhere on the actual developers' site, and reading through several reviews no-one mentions any (and indeed, the most common complaint is how all the levels play the same).

It's true I didn't play past the demo, but I still am pretty certain that the upgrades are an error in the game description rather than an actual gameplay feature that's not reachable in the first 60 minutes of play. Note that they're also not mentioned in the game itself at all, not even in future tense ("you will later earn upgrades for the house") which is not normal for a casual game.

Eytan - I believe you have made your point. But no where in the above review do you see a mention of said upgrades, so if you have an issue with another company and their faulty advertising, please take it up with them directly.

Just a tip for laundry...

All the laundry can be picked up at once and washed at one time--you don't need individual loads.
I was doing one thing at a time and it certainly add to the challenge ;p

Jay - I wasn't trying to imply that there was anything wrong about the review on this site, and I specifically mention that the site you are affiliated with does not mention anything false. And my latest response was just that - a response to someone else who seemed interested.

Anyway, I have no stake in this other than that I saw the ads on game portals, thought "this looks like a fun game" but didn't have time to download it, then I saw it listed here and downloaded it. The only reason I posted was to let other people who saw the game advertised elsewhere what to expect. Sorry if I made it sound like I have an ax to grind, I don't. I was just trying to be informative.

I should add that the game itself was fun, and that while I didn't feel motivated to buy it once the demo was up, I did enjoy those sixty minutes. The review above was very close to my own impression of it, and anyone who thinks they'll like it based on that review will probably be correct.

Thanks Eytan. =)

It was fun for awhile, but i gave up in lvl 7 i think, when it gets repetitive. I don't find it hard at all to have perfect times or finish way before standard. There's no challenge except they keep having kids and the kids grow up a bit each level, but its still basicaly the same. I saw theres 150 levels, i wonder what else is new?

lol! In contrast to everyday life I really enjoyed cleaning and tidying up in this game. The best things for me were the nice graphics and the fast movement speed. The only complaint was washing every single piece of laundry seperately (I thought you *had to* in the game and wondered how many people in real life wasted water this way), but delzoup had some handy advice on that.

Speed tip: you can pre-heat the baby's milk, and just whack it in when needed.

I really liked this game, there's a real sense of mastery in having everything under control. You can get the hang of how long things take, and schedule other tasks so you are back in time.

There's also a (fairly) smooth learning curve with each level. Eg. the family doesn't eat on the first day (and there are no other multi-step tasks).

a question: if this game is not "Flash", but "Shockwave" (or "Director"?), what's the difference, in terms of game development?

Yay, instead of real housework I can now do virtual housework! :-)

'Tis fun to see how fast you can pull everything off on a given level. Coffee definitely makes it possible to do everything much faster. It's a bit odd how the nanny gets around, though; did you know on the first level that contrary to what it looks like, the fastest way to do the last two tasks is the bed and toilet? If you do the toilet before finishing with the bed, it actually takes a second longer. Max seems to be 15 seconds by doing the sofa, computer, bed, and finally the toilet. I'd try and see what the max time was on the other levels, but I'm too slow to click the mouse on all the laundry without having to search for some of it and waste time. It gets a little more luck-based, though, due to the questions of "Will the baby cry before you get all your +'s, and if it does will the mother fix the problem for you?" and "Will the father walk in, leaving a trail of footprints, and not 5 seconds later like clockwork mess up the dresser, just when you finished serving dinner and almost got the stuff in the dishwasher?" Though it's entirely possible that if I just all the multi-step stuff together ahead of time I wouldn't have this problem as much... >_>;

It's a nice game. Kind of Diner Dash like :3

This game is kind of short. Even though I like it but then after two to three rounds you have to buy the full game I don't like that idea.

I generally enjoyed the game a great deal (although, yeah, some expansion/change of scenery is needed for replay value). However, the developer did not copy edit the game at ALL and I truly found that terribly distracting. Apostrophes everywhere.

A great tip-
While it's usually advisable to anticipate multi-step things and do them before they're needed (like heating the baby bottle), do NOT pre-cook a meal. The family will sit still for as long as you take the cook it, so use that time to your advantage.

Also, the newspaper article mentions how the nanny gets a break when the kids go to school, but I never saw that happen... did anyone else? They never even play outside!

I've heard a lot of people who've waited tables for a living say they can't stand Diner Dash because it's too realistic. I used to nanny, and while (as I said) I had fun playing, the whole time I kept thinking, "This family could NEVER keep a nanny!" and being totally annoyed at how they were all inconsiderate slobs who all needed a good spanking.

Deep breath, deep breath, just a game!

Best part of the game, IMHO, is the toddler giggles.

seriously, if you download the demo, just don't close it.
You can play the whole thing.

this game could have been much better. I think everything's been said, so I won't repeat it.

I love this kind of game! I liked this one, but it doesn't beat Cake Mania or The Apprentice LA. What annoyed me the most about this was when the mayor would come back from golf and mess up the floor! It takes _so_long_ to clean those steps up, he should be more considerate, hmpf.

I played it all the way through and was very disappointed. First, it didn't get any harder. I managed to complete every level without my stress level rising one bit. I also managed to complete them all with a "perfect" time. When I reached stage 10.5 I had a mother, father, two teenagers and two kids. At the end of the level it said I was going on a 2 week vacation and I found myself back at level 1.1 with a score of 0! I wasn't happy.

Also... Not once did I get to play as one of the parents, I was the nanny the whole way through.

been there, played that. it was incredibly boring. it didn't get any different, and not even the house changed. not worth the download.

i luv this game! this game is soo easy at first then it really gets stressful. it makes me mad that the children draw on the mirror,jump on the bed,and mess up their dresser. PLAY IT YOU'LL HAVE A BLAST !!! (: - :)

I did enjoy this game more than I ought to have, but as the rounds got more complicated, I wondered more and more why dad was taking his shirts off all over the house.

You do get to play as the parents - the game goes to level 10 or 11, and then if you play again, you can start as level 1 again, but as the mom. As far as I can figure, nothing gets harder - and since you don't have to clean up after the mom, it might even be a bit easier. I closed the game before I beat it as mom though, so I don't know who the third character is.

As far as waiters not liking diner dash - I worked for a summer as a nanny/housecleaner for my aunt and her kids - it was *exactly* like this game. Even to the fact that the kids threw the laundry all over, and were constantly making messes and running away without cleaning up, and me having to get it all done by the end of the day. The kids were spoiled rotten and irresponsible, and the mom was incredibly demanding.

I do enjoy the game, but it still does get to me some - especially stuff like how the dad keeps tracking in all that dirt/mud, and nobody ever just puts the clothes in a hamper, and the kids run wild through the house, wrecking everything. I guess it's cause I can relate to the game.

it gets harder and harder

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