I feel a Dadly Premonition coming on…
Released: September 2, 2015
Copy provided by publisher
It should be a one-note joke.
You’ve got another “hilariously” random simulator idea that would have made a more efficient photoshop than a full-on videogame. However, Shower With Your Dad Simultator 2015: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad is more than a simple creepy gag.
The main objective is as simple as it is mildly alarming. You are one of three boys taking a shower with your dad. There are three dads, visually distinct and bearing some physical similarities to the playable kids. The aim is simply to move the correct kid to the correct dad, avoiding taking a shower with a stranger. Showers respawn after each success at a frantic pace.
Outside of its awkward – and increasingly controversial – premise, Shower With Your Dad Simulator is initially little more than a throwaway timewaster, the kind of thing you’d expect to see on a mobile platform and dip into once in a while. In that regard, the base experience is quite serviceable, and makes for a fun enough matching game to justify its $0.99 price tag.
However, the more you play, the more things open up, and the already strange premise just gets plain weird.
Repeated plays unlock random items for future playthroughs, a’la the similarly nude The Binding of Isaac. Soap, for example, doubles the amount of points you gain each time you get into the correct shower, while the rubber duck reduces penalties for failed shower experiences. Moreover, the longer one spends succeeding, the more challenging obstacles appear – puddles that cause the child to skid uncontrollably, or warning signs that slow down movement.
There are three modes of play to begin with. Endurodad is an endless mode in which you pick a kid and keep finding your dad in shower after shower. Dadathalon randomly switches which child you’re playing as, keeping you on your toes as you try to find the correct father before time runs out.
Most curious of the three starter modes is Dad Divisions, a very clear pastiche of the game many have likened Shower With Your Dad to already – Frog Fractions. Here, you switch between the three sons at will, using the mouse to extend your arm and catch falling dads.
From here, things only get stranger.
With extended play, new modes randomly unlock, interrupting your current run in some bizarre way. This “Dadloadable Content” opens up yet more games, such as Inglorious Bathdads – it’s a cross between Flappy Bird and a sidescrolling shooter as you have to collect 69 of your corresponding fathers in the sky. When you win he becomes president, and then you get to look at the gravestone of the videogame industry.
I won’t spoil the other modes, but they’re equally bizarre and their appearances are never not surprising.
The word “surprising” most sufficiently describes Do You Still Shower With Your Dad. For all its attention-grabbing suggestiveness, this game – featuring vast quantities of digital dad dong – is regularly changing its tone, dripfeeding new content and providing an adventure that may not be quite as disruptive as Frog Fractions, but most definitely carries its spirit.
Nevertheless, the general premise still wears thin after a while, even with regular unlocks, and the surface idea is still potentially disturbing. Yes, it’s presented as innocent showering, but it’s hard not to look at the game and feel at least a little creeped out – and this is before you unlock the item that slows down time by getting the son drunk, or the adoption papers letting you shower with another dad.
Oh, and the reveal of a fourth dad that implies one of the sons might not be showering with their actual father.
Quite what this game is trying to say at times is hard to fathom, but in a world where Tim & Eric has turned anti-humor into an art form, I’d say there’s a place for curios like Shower With Your Dad Simulator. I may not entirely know its intentions, but it knows full what it is.
From its eccentric random mini-games to its regular groan-worthy “dad joke” screens, Do You Still Shower With Your Dad has taken what should have been a vapid punchline and spun it into an experience.
I feel there’s a lot more to this game than I’ve yet to crack. There’s an entire cheat code option that I haven’t sussed out, and while I’ve muddled my way through such game modes as Soapico and unlocked all manner of strange pickups, there’s the promise of yet more oddity under the surface.
You know what? I kind of love it, too. I’m not sure I should. I don’t know if anybody should. It’s kind of great though, and the fact it’s far more enjoyable and complex than it has any right to be is admirable.
Shower With Your Dad Simulator: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad might not be a game you could explain away to a significant other, but it’s markedly better than any explanation could suggest.
Plus those dads really do hang dong.