Ever since I was a kid I have always been a big fan of cooperative games. While most larger video game developers have given up on creating local/couch co-op games, the indie video game scene has really stepped up in recent years. The cooperative games genre headlined by games such as Overcooked! is arguably my favorite video game genre right now. Whenever there is an interesting new game added to the genre, I am excited to check it out. The idea of a babysitting game wouldn’t normally interest me all that much, but I was intrigued by Baby Storm as it takes the premise and combines it with the cooperative video game mechanics that I really love. Baby Storm is a fun and interesting new twist on your typical cooperative game even if control issues and bugs keep it from being as good as it could have been.
In Baby Storm you and the rest of the players will work as babysitters for some of the rowdiest toddlers you will ever meet. Your task in each level is to fulfill the needs of each of the toddlers as quickly as possible. Periodically a bubble will appear above each toddler showing a picture of what they want/need. You must fulfill this need before time runs out in order to receive the maximum number of points and to prevent them from crying. If they end up crying you will receive considerably less points and your multiplier will be reset which significantly impacts the number of points that you will receive. Each level has three different rewards. To unlock the next level you need to acquire at least enough points to receive the bronze award.
To begin the game the mechanics are pretty simple. The toddlers basically request certain toys and you have to get them to the toy. As you advance in the game additional tasks get added such as changing dirty diapers, giving them food, helping them play on the swings, breaking up fights, and a number of other tasks. Most of these tasks involve picking up the toddler or an object and dropping them off in the right area. Others involve little mini games which involve pressing buttons at the right time or in a specific combination. As you advance in the game some of the locations will have special obstacles that you have to overcome and even some of the toddlers have special abilities that can mess with you.
While the theme is quite different than your typical game from the genre, at its core Baby Storm is similar to a lot of the cooperative games released recently. Basically it feels like what you would get if you took Overcooked! and changed professions from being a chef to being a babysitter. I really don’t have all that much interest in playing as a babysitter, and yet the theme actually works quite well for a cooperative game.
Like all of these games the gameplay is built around working well with the other players in order to get all of the tasks done in time. The game gets chaotic quickly as you will have toddlers all over the screen demanding different things from you, throwing things all over the place, and ultimately being a lot to handle. There will be the occasional calm period where you don’t have to juggle a bunch of different things at the same time. Usually though you will have to survey the room seeing which kids you have to deal with first and which can wait until later. Players need to work well together as the tasks need to be split up evenly if you want any chance of getting a good score.
One thing that I did find a little different about Baby Storm is that it actually seems to have a little more variety in the actions that you have to perform than many of the games in this genre. Most games just have you move objects around and then press/hold a button until the task is finished. While Baby Storm relies on this a lot as well, the game also relies on a number of little mini games in order to complete some of the tasks. These mini games are far from deep, but I really appreciated the variety they bring to the game. They force you to juggle a number of different tasks which keeps the game fresh.
Baby Storm actually has a lot more variety to it than I was expecting. I honestly thought the game would get kind of repetitive after a while. The game does a good job remaining fresh for longer than I expected though. There are certain tasks that you will regularly have to complete, but the game keeps adding new mechanics which give you new things to do. Each level has a number of different tasks that you could be forced to complete. Most of the levels also have some sort of gimmick that you have to overcome as well. This does lead to some levels that can be kind of frustrating (this is true for pretty much every game in the genre), but most of the levels feel different enough to keep the gameplay working well.
I was also kind of surprised by the number of levels in the game. I haven’t completed the game (more on this later), but the game has at least four different “worlds” and each contains around nine levels. The levels themselves aren’t super long as you only get a couple minutes to complete most of them. If you are satisfied with any score that lets you move on, you could probably complete the game rather quickly. If you try to get a gold in each of the levels though, it should take quite a bit of time. If you are a fan of these style of cooperative games and have at least one other player to play with, I think you will get your money’s worth out of Baby Storm.
I enjoyed Baby Storm and think most fans of the cooperative genre of video games like Overcooked will enjoy it as well. The game does have one pretty significant issue at this time though. The biggest problem with the game is the fact that at this stage the game has quite a few bugs and technical issues that did impact my enjoyment of the game. I will say that this review is based on a pre-release build of the game so some of these issues may already be fixed or hopefully will be fixed soon.
While playing the game we ended up encountering quite a few different bugs. A few times toddlers or objects that we had to interact with would be pushed off the screen to the point where we couldn’t interact with them. We even had toddlers fall through the floor a couple times. One level towards the end of the game wouldn’t end either as the timer would hit zero, but the level wouldn’t end. Therefore we weren’t even able to finish the game as we are currently stuck at this level. Some levels also had some significant slowdown which usually occurred when there were a lot of items on the screen at one time.
The biggest issue here is just that the controls don’t work as well as they should. We will regularly get into situations where you think you should be able to pick up an object just to pick up another nearby object. Sometimes the game seems to ignore your inputs where you are sure you pushed the button and yet the game didn’t recognize it. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge issue. There were times in the game though where I tried probably at least five times to pick up the object that I wanted and kept picking up other nearby objects. There is also a level towards the end of the game where you have to catch the toddlers as they fly through the air and even if you press the right button at the right time it seems to only work right about half the time. This wouldn’t be a huge problem except that there will be times where you fail to get a better score on a level due to the controls not doing what you want them to do. Ultimately the controls lead to the game becoming kind of frustrating at times.
The other main issue I had with the game is that your success does seem to rely quite a bit on RNG/luck. The tasks you are given and the order you receive them has an impact on how well you will do. It seems completely random when and what each toddler will want. The game had to make this random as the game otherwise would have been kind of dull if the order of tasks was exactly the same every time you played the level. You will have times in the game though when it will be almost impossible to get all of the tasks done in time. This is key as keeping your multiplier up by getting all of the tasks done on time is key to getting a good score. Other times you will get a group of tasks which are really easy to complete and you will breeze towards a gold rating for the level. I don’t know exactly how it could be done, but I wish the game had a little more balance.
Ultimately I enjoyed playing Baby Storm as I thought it was a good game that was unfortunately let down by some technical issues. The game shares a lot in common with your typical cooperative party game. The game relies on the players working well together to take care of all of the chaos happening on screen. I was a little skeptical of how the babysitting premise would work with this type of game, but I thought it worked surprisingly well. The game does a good job most of the time keeping things fresh by introducing new mechanics and having different obstacles to overcome in each level. The main problem with the game is technical in nature. The game has a number of bugs at this point which will force you to restart levels. The controls are not always as responsive as you would like either. There is a degree of RNG and luck as well as your success will somewhat depend on what the toddlers end up wanting.
My recommendation for Baby Storm comes down to your feelings towards cooperative party games as well as the babysitting theme. If you don’t really care for either, I don’t see the game being for you. I do hope some of the bug/control issues get fixed soon as you will have to deal with them until they get fixed. If you generally like cooperative party games though and don’t absolutely hate the babysitting theme, I think it is worth giving Baby Storm a chance as it is an interesting twist on the typical formula.
Buy Baby Storm online: Nintendo Switch
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Baby Corp and Forever Entertainment for the review copy of Baby Storm used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.