Becoming a parent is the ultimate dream for some people, but let’s be honest, it comes at a great cost in terms of time and money. Fortunately, Microids are here with another of their life sims, My Universe – My Baby, which follows My Universe – School Teacher on Xbox. As a parenting simulation, one hopes My Universe – My Baby can deliver the magic of having your very own child. So, will this experience make you proud as punch and full of joys, or is it more likely to have you tearing your hair out?
Well, it’s neither really. Taking into account that My Universe – My Baby is aimed at a young audience, it’s strange that there’s a serious lack of fun to be had. Unlike reality, there’s no stress here either – not intentionally anyway – and so you’re left with a simulation that’s devoid of excitement, realism or enjoyment.
In My Universe – My Baby, you’ll guide a baby through the early stages of life until its third birthday. The first order of the day is to choose whether you want to be a mummy or daddy to a baby boy or girl. And then, faster than Amazon Prime, the little one arrives at your home alongside a paediatrician who’s going to hold your hand through it all. From there on out, it’s going to be your job to help the child learn and grow, developing the basic skills of life and becoming more self-sufficient.
What that leads to essentially is a series of mini-games you must complete, which will see your baby advancing through life one month at a time. I say mini-games, but games are meant to be fun and these quite simply are not because of simplicity and repetition. The most common tools, in fact the only tools to really worry about, are your hands and a toy rattle. That sodding rattle is the solution to everything; shake it to get their attention, to make them rollover, to sit up, stand up, and every other movement you want a kid to make. Literally, it’ll have you pressing a single button, while watching them struggle, before pressing it again when prompted for you to succeed.
There are other types of activities that occur, such as nappy changing, wash-time and feeding. None of these are much better in terms of enjoyment, however they do incorporate a hands-on approach in the way you’ll have more involvement at least. For example, when bathing, it entails turning on taps, soaping up a wash-cloth to use on them and hosing all of the soap off afterwards. That’s a better idea, but it’s not very well implemented as the cloth has a mind of its own, gets stuck while scrubbing and you have to get every spot to move on.
Taking the baby for a stroll is the possibly the best mini-game on offer here, with a walk around the neighbourhood enlightening them to the delights and undesirables of this world. Your goal is to stop at the right spots to allow them to admire a butterfly or a birdie, while avoiding exhaust fumes and minging bins. It’s absolutely fine for the first time, but you’ll do this on multiple occasions and the whole thing becomes monotonous. These sections also highlight how bad the visuals are, with rough edges, texture-less buildings, and the legs of random passers-by glitching out frequently.
The paediatric lady couldn’t be any more helpful throughout, but she’s a real nuisance and will tell you what to do from day one until the end. You don’t do anything without her saying so and, bizarrely, her priorities are all over the place. My poor little Timmy didn’t have a wash for a few months after birth, nor was I instructed to clean up any stinky messes. Her voice begins to grate after a short period too and you just want to show her the door as soon as possible.
The only other noteworthy aspect is customisation, which is a bit hit and miss. You’ll earn cash from reaching milestones and receive money via virtual grandparents, which can be spent on new outfits and hairstyles. The clothing range is fairly decent, with a selection of totally cute animal onesies being a real highlight. The same can’t be said about the haircuts however, with limited choices meaning I had to settle for a buzz cut before hiding the child away from public view.
In many ways My Universe – My Baby on Xbox just feels like a tutorial that never ends and you’ll end up repeating activities far too often; activities which aren’t even that good in the first place. It’ll only last you a few hours maximum, proving there’s not much longevity here either, but the mini-games do occur one after the other to ensure there isn’t any unnecessary downtime. Ultimately though, it’s not fun enough to cater for the younger audience, nor is there any depth for the slightly older market. Hence, it’s hard to recommend My Universe – My Baby to anyone in particular, so you should give it a miss.