When you think of World War II, Norway isn’t the first country that comes to mind. However, it is worth remembering that it was heavily occupied by the Germans for five years beginning in 1940. There were thousands of German soldiers garrisoned there with enough to cripple the economy and leave many people hungry and hopeless.
Norway was also victim to a Nazi program known as Lebensborn that was meant to increase the German birth rate and create a more “pure” population. During this time a few thousand women bore the children of occupying Nazi soldiers. The children were German in the eyes of the occupying forces, and were taken to Germany and raised as such.
This tragedy is what the mobile game My Child Lebensborn hopes to examine but not from within the war itself. Instead, this game is concerned with what happened after. These children and their parents were returned to their home country, but they did not receive a warm welcome when they did.
The game follows a seven-year-old child called Karin and their parent, who is played by you. The gender of both the child and the parent is up to you at the start of the game. You are living with Karin in Norway in 1950. The story begins optimistically, with Karin as a normal young child, eager to start school and make new friends.
However, they are faced with the reality of their origin as they begin to experience bullying at school. As their parent, you have to take care of them, including guiding them through the minefield that is growing up different. On top of that, you have to make sure they are fed and clothed and that your household stays afloat by working with a limited budget.
The gameplay is simple, and most of the story is handled through conversations with Karin and how you decide to best parent them. I’ll include a video below, but be warned for it does contain some spoilers for the story.
The game fluctuates between some light hearted adventures with your child, to the darkest corners of what bullying can do to a once happy kid. Managing Karin’s emotions is treacherous, and much like real parenting, it is often hard to know if you are helping or just making things worse.
This interesting history lesson combined with a nurturing simulator was developed by Norwegian studio Sarepta Studio. The game was originally funded last year via a Kickstarter campaign. It surpassed its funding goal easily, allowing them to build this unique experience.
My Child Lebensborn is available now for iOS and Android. You can learn more about the game and find download links the website.