Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad? Is a nearly perfect game. I realize I am late to this party, but what else is new? I play things when I get to them, not when the zeitgeist tells me to. No matter, because despite the fact that this game is nearly four years old, it is timeless. It will remain great even after humanity is washed away by the boiling ocean waters of a rightfully vengeful Earth, about ten years from now.
Already the subject of some controversy, Shower With Your Dad has been immortalized in headlines such as Sick ‘Shower With Your Dad’ game slammed for promoting child abuse on global video game platform from The Mirror and Fatherly’s “‘Shower With Your Dad’ Video Game Horrifies Players”, which contains a more level-headed description of the accusations against the game. Detractors have condemned the indie arcade game as promoting pedophilia, to which developer Marbenx responded that it promotes nothing more sinister than “good, clean fun”. I’m inclined to agree. Everything the game depicts is both perfectly legal and incredibly commonplace. Whether or not it happens to be a weird practice is for we as a society to figure out.
Shower With Your Dad delivers what it promises: you shower with your dad. You can play as one of three small boys—Magnum, Lefty and Robin—corresponding to the three main dads featured in the game, Thomas, Richard and Johnnie, in one of two modes. In Endurodad mode, you select which of the fully nude young boys you wish to play as, and then match him to the correct showering dad, ignoring the incorrect ones and the various traps and pitfalls that lie in your way, such as “wet floor” signs that slow you down and puddles that cause you to slide uncontrollably. Your point bonus, which is indicated in the top right corner of the screen, is enhanced by how quick you are to find your dad, and as you play you can unlock items of varying usefulness that will appear at random as you play. A bar of soap, for example, doubles your points, while a rubber ducky lowers penalties. Selecting the incorrect dad results in a game over. It’s pretty straightforward, but deceptively challenging, especially as you begin to rack up points and the obstacles or chances of a slipped finger on one of the arrow keys become more of a risk.
For my money—and that isn’t much, considering I spent all of $1.09 on this game—the second mode, Dadathlon, is the more interesting one if you’re seeking a little bit more of a challenge. All of the same obstacles and items from Endurodad apply, but now there’s a time limit, and rather than selecting which boy to play as, you rotate through all three with the correct dad changing each time. This kept me on my toes a little bit more than Endurodad, where I mostly played on autopilot seeking out the dad I had preselected (a few items, such as the Adoption Papers, would sometimes punish me for not paying full attention to which dad I was supposed to shower with during or after the item cooldown.)
The main game is simple, weird and charming, but marbenx goes one step further with the inclusion of mini games, such as a loading screen in which you must watch a pot of coffee, or a surreal sidescrolling shooter segment in which you fly through the sky in a bathtub. Using the up arrow key to keep yourself up and the left arrow key to shoot, you must find your corresponding dad in his corresponding tub 69 individual times while shooting the wrong dads out of the way. Upon doing this, a cutscene in which the dad praises you plays, followed by an image of a large white tombstone against a black background, marking the resting place of the “games industreay.”
The game is full of all kinds of other little flourishes: every loading screen contains a classic dad joke, for instance (“What did the buffalo say to his son when he left for work? Bison.”). All the dads are well-hung and built like refrigerators. Even in cases where they are wearing clothing, the penis is at least partially visible, whether it’s poking out from under an apron or hanging free while the dad dons lumberjack plaid or a hard hat. (Thankfully, the developer demonstrated constraint when designing the nude sons.) The whole game has a neo-retro feel, with 8-bit pixel-art visuals blended with contemporary music and indie arcade mechanics (imagine any timewaster mobile game Halfbrick might make and add more male nudity and jokes that are actually funny.)
There are a few imperfections with Shower With Your Dad, however. For example, it would be nice to be able to select game modes and characters in the menu using the arrow keys, which are the only controls used in the actual game. The menus, by contrast, require use of a mouse. But this is a minor pet peeve. The real issues are the bugs, which were few but game-breaking. These included known issues, such as the “disappearing dad” which caused the correct dad to disappear from the stage and for the bonus gauge to freeze. Selecting one of the other two dads did not cause a fail state, as would normally be expected, and instead caused my poor wet son avatar to languish in the no-man’s land of the Endurodad main stage. This, and another bug in which none of the dads spawned at all, forced me to restart the game. Other, less annoying bugs, like the buttons on the postgame results screen freezing, also forced me to hit restart.
Despite this, Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015: Do You Still Shower With Your Dad? Is undeniably worth the dollar and change, not to mention the time, you’ll sink into it. It’s a fun, endearing, inventive way to illustrate the bond between father and son. Maybe you don’t still shower with your dad. Maybe you think that’s really weird. Then again, maybe you’re missing out.