Having kickstarted Boyfriend Dungeon years ago, I was beyond excited to delve into it finally when it was released. Promising a dungeon-crawling adventure filled with cuties that can transform into weapons, and the ability to romance as many (or as few) characters as you wish, this indie adventure seemed like the perfect summer fling.
Boyfriend Dungeon puts its players in the place of an MC (main character, for those uninitiated to dating games) who’s never dated before and – according to your cousin – is rather reserved and needs some good self-confidence. He’s invited you to stay in his apartment in Verona Beach through the rest of the summer, hoping you can meet new people, date around, and become more self-assured. Luckily he’s got your back, and is ready to set you up on a fantastic date. Unfortunately, his first choice is also a first-class creep, but luckily there are plenty of other enjoyable companions to adventure with throughout Verona Beach.
Currently, there are seven potential companions, including male, female, and nonbinary partners, and even a cat that you can have a fun adventure with. You can romance as many as you want, with no repercussions if you decide to complete all the stories. If you don’t feel like dealing with the romance of other humans, your feline companion gives you the option to max out a storyline completely romance-free, which is great as the game does require you to max out at least one love rank before completing it.
Character creation is kind of fun – giving you great control over your image and pronouns. It gets even better as you start to discover new clothing pieces and recipes to put together your own perfect MC look.
Boyfriend Dungeon’s dating sim/visual novel aspect definitely takes precedence over the dungeon-crawling aspect, which is why it’s unfortunate that the dating storylines aren’t a little more fleshed out. Each has a unique aspect to it, but at times it feels like a few characters have one-dimensional tales, or serious situations are made rather silly.
That said, the game is just so ridiculously fun, that it’s all worth the time it takes to complete each storyline. While the dunj is not particularly challenging, getting the chance to try out the different weapons is really enjoyable. Each one plays quite differently, constantly switching up the feel of getting through the next floor. Littered throughout the floors are various date spots, where you can have conversations with your weapons, scoring dialogue and love points. If you’re going for all of the characters, the dunj can get a little old – with only 2, and only being just above 10 floors, you’ll have to repeat them a few times. Another dungeon would have helped alleviate this repetition, but the rhythm of battle makes it an enjoyable break from storytime.
Boyfriend Dungeon isn’t just about summer flings – it plays like one too. Fun, flirty, and occasionally just a lot of fluff, it makes for a fantastic vacation from life.
We can expect some DLC in the future, including new characters, and also a third dungeon to help round things out! I’ll post an update then – I genuinely think an extra Dunj could do a whole lot for the gameplay.
If you want to go in blind and don’t mind potentially triggering content in games, feel free to stop here!
For the rest of you, there is one thing about Boyfriend Dungeon that occasionally wore on me. As mentioned previously, your first date is a massive creep. It doesn’t start well, and it’s clear your character has no interest in him, but you are continually forced to interact with him. Not just in the sense of running into him occasionally in game, but being stalked, having gifts left on your doorstep, and even having to interact with him via text message in order to push the story forward.
I generally don’t mind twists, turns, and discomfort in my media, but at times, having to text back and forth with such a dislikable, uncomfortable character was unpleasant. It’s strange how willing so many of the characters are to let this dynamic go on. There’s a difference between an uncomfortable storyline, and having to casually chat with your stalker via the phone.
If you’re uncomfortable with that kind of storyline, you may want to steer clear. Overall, it’s mild enough by my own tastes, but it’s worth considering your own comfort level before jumping in.
Order Up! is a weekly column featuring indie-focused reviews, news, or interviews! We like old games just as much as new ones and are always looking for something to check out. Have a game recommendation, a project, or a company you want to talk about? Email me at [email protected] or find me on Twitter @ArcanaChance