Ready! Set! Parent!
Think of the Children is a couch co-op game that will make you never want to have kids.
Little Bobby’s chasing a feral dog, the BBQ’s on fire, Jen’s eating poisonous berries and the birthday cake still needs icing. It’s just another wonderful day with the kids so… Ready! Set! Parent!
This sums up the game wonderfully.
In Think of the Children, you play as a parent who is trying to stop a bunch of kids from getting into danger and killing themselves, all while you are carrying out a bunch of tasks. These tasks include setting a picnic table, building a sand castle, putting up a piñata and more.
The game was created by Jammed Up Studios, an Australian game studio, at a 48 hour Game Jam and is currently undergoing polish before it is released. It will be published by Surprise Attack Games, an Australian indie games label. First it will be released on PC via Steam and The Humble Store and then it will be ported to consoles.
Not safe for children
The first, shown below, had you setting up for a party at a park, with an unfenced swimming pool and a road for wandering kids. These were the most obvious dangers, but there were more hidden ones such as a bush with poisonous berries and a death trap sandpit (OK, I wasn’t quite sure what killed the kids in there).
The next stage on offer was set on a beach. Here children were running off into the ocean, only to drown or be stung by poisonous jellyfish, falling into a hole and getting attacked by seagulls. A typical Aussie day at the beach!
Each child has a name shown above their head which makes calling out and following instructions easy.
The game can be played with up to four players, but the stations on offer only allowed for two players at a time.
A game like Think of the Children is, obviously, best played with friends right next to you, which is exactly how we got to play it.
Jono, Jase and I had a whole bunch of rounds at the IGN Select Awards. We had a few other mates with us who are into more mainstream games that got to play it as well and its accessibility meant we all had a ball. I also had a go of Think of the Children at RTX Sydney with a different mate and we killed it (the game, not the kids).
During each play through, we were giving instructions to each other, calling kids names, shouting when yelling at kids did not go well and laughing at our own silly jokes (little Timmy was a brat and got what was coming to him).
Watching others play the game, particularly at RTX, was hilarious in and of itself.
At the conclusion of each stage players are given a rating, with someone awarded the coveted “Best Parent” award.
Throwing kids with ease
Before the game starts, a controller appears on screen showing you how to play. It really couldn’t be more simple, yet so satisfying to control. Your character does exactly what you want him or her to do, which is what a game like this needs.
We got to play the game on a PC using Xbox controllers. There is a button to pick up a child, one to shout and one to complete tasks.
Shouting at children scares the kids and makes them run off in the opposite direction. It works as well as you’d expect and is more of a last resort. There were plenty of times when shouting had the children running off from one danger right into another.
By the second stage I’d figured out that you could hold a child while completing a task, which made things more manageable.
Having a fixed isometric camera position makes moving your character about simple. Your eyes will be darting all over the screen to catch what the reckless kids are up to.
More bad parenting to come
The game is due to be released in Q2 this year
You can listen to us interview Pat, one of the creators of the game, and talk at length about Think of the Children on our latest podcast, IGN Select Awards and RTX Sydney Weekend.
You can also read more about the IGN Select Awards here.
We at VERSUS PLAYER are all hanging out to get our hands on the full game. Did you get to play Think of the Children at one of the events over the weekend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.