I’ve spent several hours and am on my third life in the new “child raising” sim game, Growing Up, available now via Steam. This game reminds me a great deal of Chinese Parents. Both games use a “brain map” type of setup to unlock skills. Both continue on forever as each life ends and a new life begins. Both have you balance your mental health and parent’s satisfaction. Both games involve dating and friendships and schoolwork and exams. Yes both games are incredibly similar. It’s hard to believe that they are different games or by different developers… but you know, Great minds think alike!
Both games, to somewhat of a lesser degree remind me of Princess Maker (but Princess Maker is much better than both of these games.) And also somewhat similar to Ciel Fledge. Another child raising simulation is Little One. I have played all of these.
So if you like any of those games, check out the others on my blog too.
For me, I think child raising games might be one of my favorite game genres. They’re so unique… and so many possibilities and high replay value – and well they’re strange and fascinating.
Ok but back to “Growing Up” – In this latest child rearing simulation, you can either select your gender and parents at the beginning of your first playthrough or leave it up to fate. I selected my stuff. On subsequent playthroughs it’s always left up to fate (well fate and your choices on the previous playthrough.)
On my most recent playthrough I had two girls fighting for my love and attention. One was a childhood tomboy friend and the other a preppy popular cheerleader I just recently met in highschool. They couldn’t have been more different. I went with the childhood friend, it just felt like the right thing to do. The pretty girl, was well prettier of course. Especially at the “adult” age. Damn my wife is ugly as a mudboard fence, not gonna lie lol. That cheerleader’s looking pretty good right now. The childhood friend was kinda attractive, even as a teenager, long brown hair, and a charming smile. Then she cuts it off almost into a buzzcut and – uhh lets just say she did not age well… at all.
I also have a bit of a problem with how “woke” this game is. Why must EVERY thing be about race…. I’m sick of it. I’m not racist. I’m in a real life biracial marriage, and hopefully someday will have real life children (biracial or maybe adopted maybe a completely different third race lol). I am SICK AND TIRED of all this political bullshit. Yes, I’m sorry the majority of the world are complete fucking assholes and that they treat people of different races poorly. But we get enough of that shit in real life. I play games to escape that shit.
I appreciate you wanting to make a game focused on inclusivity – lots of different races, a girl with one arm, lesbian and gay romance options – cool, awesome. But I think there’s a better MORE POSITIVE way to encourage acceptance instead of have the black one armed girl complain about “mean white girls” – REALLY? you REALLY went there? As if to say all white girls are rich or racist or stuck up. WHY MENTION THEY’RE WHITE. Why not just “Mean girls” Why “Mean WHITE girls?”
They had plenty of reason to tease/bully her – she had ONE ARM for fucks sake. Why make it about skin color. I just don’t get it. In addition to one arm, she was a fucking recluse, she was obsessed with horror and cultish shit and avoided people. ALL reasons someone would get teased in middle and high school. But nope, you decided that the only reason they’d tease her is because she’s black and they’re white. Really? I’m pretty sure at THAT AGE, that there would be plenty of black and brown and asian girls teasing her too because of her fake arm and reclusive antisocial behaivour, not just because of her SKIN COLOR. Let’s just STOP MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT RACE?! OK?
Fucking face palm. I am sick and tired of this political shit being shoved down my fucking throat. We get it OK? Blacks (and browns and asians and indigenous people and every other fucking whatever race you are) have it harder than white people. White people have a privilege. Never said we didn’t. But jesus fucking christ. I didn’t ask to be born white. I can’t help being white anymore than you can help being whatever race you are. Stop making me feel “bad” just for being born white. That’s fucking bullshit.
They say reverse racism doesn’t exist, but yet here we are in a world with media, popculutre, video games, portraying white as “bad” “mean girls” “white mean girls” (direct quote there) and black as good, black as victim or hero, and white as a villain. Knock that shit off already. There’s good and bad people of every fucking race.
There end rant.
Sorry but it needed to be said, I’m not the only one sick of this whole “woke shit”. It needs to go away. It’s not the right way to deal with racial diversity and adversity. Making one race feel bad to make another race feel good is never the right answer, no matter what races are in that equation.
Back to the game itself…
The game is a lot of fun – but it does ultimately get repetitive. I’m not tired of it yet – but I would have liked even more choices/options/opportunities for interaction sequences, choices and consequences, and so on.
But at its heart it’s a fun and challenging game.
Like all the child raising simulation games before it, you start with a baby and your options are limited. As the child grows, new options, new skills, new friends, and new romances are unlocked, and at the end, you find out what career your baby has pursued and also whatever happened to the friends and romances along the way.
One of the biggest reasons it gets repetitive is the parents expectations and parents dialougue choices and sequences, they are VERY repetitive, not enough different parent/child interaction – AND if I’m playing the PARENT, I feel like I should have some options on how to interact with my child. In this case it almost feels more like I’m playing the child, instead of raising one.
Once you start school and meet new friends and so on, that’s when the story gets interesting – it can even get emotional and deal with some heavy topics.
The characters are very well fleshed out – each one is unique and has an interesting personality. These are no Mary Janes. They have flaws and things that make you dislike them honestly – but that makes them more real. My first playthrough, my love interest had autism or aspergers or something similar making them hate physical interaction and be very socially awkward. In that same playthrough I met the one armed girl who aside from angering me with the political racial issues, was actually a very interesting character, a rebel, and a sorta “badass” sassy girl. On that playthrough I also met a stoner punk rock girl who was adopted and seeking her birth parents even though she had a loving family already. Very complicated characters and relationships.
On my next playthrough I was born as a boy and had a tomboy female best friend, and later met a cheerleader whose brother was sick and dying and who herself was anorexic or bulemic. I also had a male best friend who was blaming himself for his parents divorce and caught in the middle of toxic fighting parents arguing over custody.
I mean these are all some really deep and interesting issues. It’s nice to see a game with characters that feel Real in that sense.
Gameplay, as I said, you work on a grid, unlocking “bubbles” for stat boosts until your energy runs out. You can buy items to increase your energy cap. You balance your happiness (extracurricular) with parents expectations (education). You interact with characters and dialougue prompts to make key choices to drive the story in various directions. You date, fall in love, and have a child – and the journey continues, on and on – forever.
For that reason, replay value is through the roof – possibilities nearly endless – and hopefully maybe we’ll see even more choices in the form of DLC in the future.
Here’s my score:
Overall: 54/70 77% C+ “Good Game For Girls”
Geeky: 2/5 – Gameplay is slow and can get repetitive. Graphics are still and although detailed, do feel dated. Only play this if you like child rearing sims (which I do, so it’s all good).
Sweetie: 4/5 – This would be 5/5 if it got rid of the racial “wokeness” – and added a few more diverse options for interacting with the parents.
Gameplay: 5/10 – There isn’t much gameplay wise honestly, but that’s not why we play these games. There are a lot of skills and places and locations and even some dressup options – so really, for THIS TYPE OF GAME – Gameplay is really good, honestly.
Story: 8/10 – I’d give it 10/10 if it got rid of the political “wokeness” – and added a few more different parent dialougue sequences
Graphics: 6/10 – I’m over these “static” graphics. Don’t they know about “Live 2D” – you can do 2D graphics and have them fully animated. If free mobile games are doing this – why aren’t ALL games doing this? But the graphics aren’t bad – They’re colorful. The backgrounds are especially crazy detailed, and the children and adult portraits are nice. No complaints. It’s not MY style (I prefer anime style over western style) – but I’m not gonna deduct points for that as it’s a preference.
Characters: 9/10 – minus 1 for being too politically “correct” – or “wrong” if you ask me. Otherwise, as mentioned, these characters are very real and troubled and have some realistic issues going on. Still waters run deep.
Music: 10/10 – Honeslty, 10/10 – I love the music. It’s so great and catchy and it gets stuck in my head. Love love love that most of it is vocal tracks. My favorite one is the one that goes “Don’t you love these rainy days?”.
Voice Acting: N/A – would have been nice I think.
Replay Value: 10/10 – Endless possibilities.
8 thoughts on “Growing Up – Child Raising Simulation PC Game Review”
“Why must everything be about race?!” Says the privileged person who gets to go throughout their life not having to worry about getting murdered or severely discriminated against for their race. Please do not have children with your partner of color if you are going to play a game about raising a child in this world and then complain about it when it doesn’t make you comfortable and shares real LIFE experiences. Shame on you
It doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I just said it’s “Poorly written” and “inappropriate” – There’s mean black girls. Mean asians. Mean Hispanics. Why the hell does the kid complain about “Mean White Girlz” (the z is their writing too – which again pretty poorly written) – The girl had one arm – and she was a recluse. I am pretty sure she would have been teased for those reasons (and by kids of every color not just by “mean white girlz” – and not JUST for her being black. – PS: I was bullied and I’m white. I had maybe 2-3 friends in school. I had strangers I didn’t even know in other grades harass me. The principal wanted “names” to do something about it – but I couldn’t give names because I didn’t know anyone. Everyday I ate lunch alone – since those 2-3 friends I had went to different schools or were in different lunch periods. – White girls get murdered too – as do hispanics, asians, native americans – so everyone has to worry about that – not just blacks. I’m far from privileged. I spent 4 years of my life in a mobile home without heat in a location where it gets 20 below zero in winter, without running water, I had a $10 planet fitness membership just so I could take a shower – so I could hold down a job which barely paid enough to survive like $8 an hour. I had to go to a gas station to use the bathroom. I barely had enough to eat. Your color of your skin doesn’t = privilege. That’s my view. And my personal experience. If you don’t like it – you’re free to block me and move along – that’s the beauty of the internet. I’m tired of everything being about race. We are all one race, a human race. I do feel sad for the loss of life and injustices in the world. But as I said in my review I play games to escape that shit.
You obviously don’t know the meaning of privilege. the ignorance in strong in this one. also, curious how your favorites of this genre are all eastern with next no diversity, and because this one is western and aware of the struggles and mindsets of people of color (which is a perspective you seem to have no comprehension of) suddenly you have a problem. It’s a topic you are uncomfortable with, that’s why you had this sensitive reaction, you took the struggles this little black girl had as a personal offense and made it about you. You didn’t try and understand, hey maybe this is how little poc girls in her positions see things, maybe you’ll never truly know this experience, so maybe you shouldn’t invalidate her interpretation of her experience. No one’s shitting on you for being white, you didn’t bully her so why are you putting yourself in the position of the bully. Yes, everyone struggles no matter who you are, privilege doesn’t just have to with the economic class you lie on, your lighter skin color and European face is the beauty standard and seen as superior and desired in a predominantly white country, not even the work (even though it’s not predominantly white), anything else is seen as lower than, if you don’t agree you need to open your eyes. skin color does=privilege and that is true everywhere. You can be poor and white but put on the same clothes as someone darker, in the end the person who will be discriminated against is the person of the darker complexation. Thats history, that’s life. They will be judged harder and critiqued more often, growing up, knowing this is your life, you see the truth in everything, you see the privilege in everything no matter position it’s in. What you keep saying, “Not everything’s about race”, and “I play games to escape that shit (the loss of life and injustices in the world)”, all of this is typical of people like you who want to ignore and erased the suffering of a group of people because its ‘annoying’ and in your face, or really because you want to run away from the white guilt that you take so personally, you take it out on the people live that struggle, game or not. The character is speaking in the perspective of a black girl because she is a black girl, struggling with real issues that are always exacerbated because she is a black girl. Race in the world impacts everything you do and how people see you. Your sensitivity and your ignorance show your privilege. And it’s sad.
Actually plenty of people do shit on people for being white. They’re teaching critical race theory that we are all born racist and every single white person is a racist asshole.
And no I’m not “sensitive”
It was bad writing by someone not even in America and where black people don’t have the same struggle they have here.
All this media shit pretending to give a flying fuck about people of color is just a sad cash grab and this one is particularly badly written.
I don’t care what color someone is, if they have one god damn arm they’re going to be teased for that, not just for being black.
I’m not the original poster, I’ve watched this game played, and I don’t know you personally. However, regardless of how you see the world, people are different races. That is something to be embraced, it doesn’t make us better or worse, but what makes us each unique. That said, unfortunately in our society, especially in the US, you are treated differently based on the color of your skin. Does that mean if you’re white, you’ll never experience poverty or hardships? As a black person, I can easily say that I know several white people who have had more traumatic upbringing than me. That said, there are certain experiences due to my race that I have had that my friends have never had to deal with and frankly never will. There are certain struggles that I deal with due to my race that white people will never face. And honestly, I don’t think you need a history lesson or make a huge apology, I just think it would help to acknowledge that fact and understand that there is a perspective you may never see for yourself. Yes, you were poor, you were bullied, you struggled. You, an individual, were not privileged growing up. No one is trying to take that way from you. People are trying to get you to understand that BIPOC experience a different type of struggle due to the color of their skin and this game included a comment that was meant to show a certain perspective. That’s it. White privilege isn’t about you(As an individual white person) having more money, being more successful, or even having a better life than POC. It’s about how society looks at BIPOC in comparison to white and views them as lesser and treats them as such when it comes to jobs, how people perceive you in a business, what quality of medical treatment you’ll get and if doctors will take you seriously, and etc. I could really go on. I don’t view as a bad person however I would love to have the privilege to not have to notice the color of my skin.
…I don’t even know what to say about that rant in the middle. Even if I had agreed with what you’re saying, I doubt you airing your political grievances in the middle of a video game review would make for very entertaining reading.
Racism still exists in this country (I’m assuming you’re American, based on you considering a 77% to be a C+, while it would be a B+ in Canada and a First-Class pass in the UK), regardless of whether or not the “woke” media is “shoving it down your throat”. And of course it’s relevant in a game set in the 90s – ever heard of the war on drugs, for example? Racism has become subtler, less prevalent, but it’s far from gone. I understand that white people are obviously annoyed about how often the transgressions of their forefathers are brought up, but you can’t seriously look back at last year’s protests and think racial relations have been hunky-dory for the past 30 years.
For what it’s worth though, I actually agree that it’s poorly written – Wendy’s arm would probably be a more common subject of mockery among her bullies. If you had left it at “this is pretty unrealistic, her bullies would’ve focused on her arm”, I wouldn’t have written this comment.
I usually never comment on reviews – and the few of yours I’ve read have been rather well-written – but I can’t overlook this. You’ve lost a reader, but don’t worry, he’s black.
Did my last comment not post??
oh whatever. I’m too tired to be angry now. Just know it was an angry comment, lol.
Sorry that you feel that way. I have to manually approve posts for first time commenters. Not from people upset or disagreeing with me but from the spam bots. I won’t respond to your right to feel angry or upset or offended or hurt by my remarks except saying sorry. I know that my white privilege gives me a different view and experience when playing games or watching tv or whatever. For me I want to play them to escape real world things. But as for someone in your position I understand that for you there is no escape from those issues and you have to deal with them 24/7. I respect that I will never have to know the pains your people experience. So your views of these topics in media is very different from mine.
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