Think of the Children is a multiplayer comedy game about terrible parents. You and up to three friends play as parents who have quite reasonably been charged with child endangerment and neglect. To prove your competence and innocence, you have to make it through parenting trials with your kids intact, which is to say not on fire, poisoned, ravaged by seagulls, bludgeoned by kangaroos, electrocuted, run over or otherwise maimed.
It’s a bit like a game of tag where all the parents are ‘it’ and chasing the kids around. Only instead of making it to base, the kids are hellbent on playing in traffic, kicking over top-heavy shelves, sampling laundry detergent, and quite possibly playing ‘the floor is lava’ with actual lava. Which serves to illustrate the sheer number of scenarios in Think of the Children.
“The local park, the beach, the supermarket, the zoo,” writes developer Jammed Up Studios. “Great places for a day out with the kids. That is, aside from the poisonous berries, ravenous seagulls, towering grocery shelves and electrified pens.”
Each area comes with unique tasks for the parents and dangers for the kids. So while you’re applying sunscreen at the beach, you can bet some runt is going to be poking jellyfish. When you’re out shopping at the local supermarket, make sure nobody winds up crushed under a mountain of cans. And from what I know of the Australian outback, everything there will try to kill everyone.
Learning the hazards of each map and coordinating with friends sounds like the meat of Think of the Children, but there’s also a good deal of customization. You can play as whatever combination of parents you want and deck them out with unlockable skins, costumes and voices. The clean voxel aesthetic makes for some amusing characters, and customizing your avatar should make help make multiplayer more legible.
Think of the Children will launch on Steam this Thursday, October 19 for $9.99.