Honestly, when the words “dog dating sim” popped up in my messages, there were a few different ways it could have gone. What I wasn’t really expecting was the quirky, wholesome, joy that was Best Friend Forever – a dating sim with the purest kind of canine twist.
In Best Friend Forever – the upcoming dating sim from New Zealand studio Starcolt Games – the player is brand new to Rainbow Bay. Leaving behind your past, you’re on your way to move into your fresh new apartment, where you’ll hopefully make beautiful new memories. On the way, you hear about a doggy adoption drive. Maybe having a four-legged friend would be a great addition to your life, right?
The dog aspect is where Best Friend Forever veers a bit off the beaten path of dating sims. We all know the drill by now – in a dating sim, you’ll up your stats or your relationship stats with your character of choice, and then hope that your money/wit/middle English poem recitation skill is high enough to charm your beloved…
But no! You’re a dog owner now! You have a precious new pup who requires your love and attention. You don’t have time anymore to study up on obscure records in hopes of impressing that cute barista. Instead, it’s not your stats that matter. It’s your dog’s stats that will get you the darling of your dreams, and your new furry friend will react throughout the story (you can’t even understand the joy that filled my heart when I realized I could actually pet them during dialogue). I love this mesh of pet sim and dating sim, and really am looking forward to when I’m finally able to raise my new doggo for real.
Aesthetically, Best Friend Forever is a bit reminiscent of games like Dream Daddy, with its designs and colour schemes. It’s also wonderfully personalisable for a dating sim – the demo featured three player options of varying gender and style, and it seemed pretty clear that none of the dating options were locked away based on your choice. It’s becoming more of a trend in dating sims these days, but one that’s always a little heartwarming to see – especially in a genre that’s still overwhelmingly filled with straight options only. You can be whoever you want, and be with whoever you want.
With a diverse array of potential lovers, quirky dialogue, and furry companions, Best Friend Forever should be an awesome fit for any lover of unique dating sims. Want the real cherry on top? There’s even an optional sandbox mode where you can just spend time with your pup if you’re not wanting to push the story forward.
Sold? Looking forward to puppies and dates and adventures with your new friend? Look forward to Best Friend Forever, coming out February 14th, 2020!