Have you ever wanted to blend some genres and get a little more action in your dating sim?
Have you wanted a little more romance, drama, and real life in your dungeon crawler?
Do you feel like trying a refreshing, unique game with great music and lovely artwork?
Have you ever taken a really nice dagger on your dungeon adventures and thought “wow, I’d like to treat this trusty weapon to a good time”?
If the answer to any of these was “yes!” then Boyfriend Dungeon is probably the game for you.
Or at least I’ll make an educated guess that it is. In truth, I have no idea who the perfect audience for Boyfriend Dungeon is, but I know for sure that I’m in it.
First of all, can we have a little bit of appreciation for this super-sexy setup at the Indie Mega Booth?
Boyfriend Dungeon is a fascinating blend of RPG dungeon-crawler and dating sim – sort of like Persona, only with more of an emphasis on dating and a real-time battle system. In the demo, we got the opportunity to go on a quick date with Valeria, meet a couple more weapons, text mom, and progress through several floors of the local, questionably secured mall.
There are, of course, some traditional dating sim-style options – you’ll have choices in dialogue as you talk to different characters, and they’ll respond depending on what you do. You’ll also have the chance to delve further and further into the “dunj” – a mall whose security really needs to be fired already, to be honest. As you make your way through the dunj, you’ll be attacked by monsters. Health getting low? Have some bubble tea – an adorable detail that I really liked. Occasionally, you’ll run across a good spot to bond with your weapon of choice.
All the facets to Boyfriend Dungeon look like they’ll make for a really nicely layered game. Even just in the demo, I appreciated how much there was to do. I’m a lover of dating sims, but they can get a little boring sometimes, dragging the reader into nonstop dialogue and little interaction outside of a choice here or there. One of the big drivers in Boyfriend Dungeon was making it something a little more for the player, and giving them more interaction outside of just reading text boxes. The end result (or at least what PAX-goers got a peek at) is pretty great.
Boyfriend Dungeon also is joining the small, yet – thankfully! – growing trend of inclusive dating games – at the start, players not only can pick which character image to use, but also their pronouns, which don’t lock them out of any potential romances (at least that was my impression!) It’s a small detail that sometimes can be painfully missing in the dating sim world.
Before and after the demo, I got a chance to chat with Victoria, the community manager at KitFox Games. One of the jokes amongst The Geekly Grind staff at PAX this weekend has been starting out interviews with “But… why?” Well luckily, Boyfriend Dungeon gave me my first chance to ask that, and Victoria’s answer is one that deserves to be presented with no paraphrasing:
A slightly more serious answer is that they wanted a more interactive style of dating sim. First came the dating, then came battle, and then… as Victoria eloquently puts it, “What do you spend the most time with the most? Your weapons! Oh, what if you dated your weapon? We should just do that! ”
Boyfriend Dungeon can be a one-playthrough game, allowing the player to date as few or many characters as they want. Unlike games like Persona, where NPCs feel jealousy and can catch you cheating (…. Sorry, Ai and Yukiko), Boyfriend Dungeon will let you go for it, with no repercussions. Even better, there’s a platonic cat friend who will be there for you, should you not feel like seeking out a romance.
The icing on the cake is the atmosphere and visual style of the game. The characters are more traditional-style art, and the result is a really lovely and modern style of game. The soundtrack was definitely a little different than I’m used to, and I loved it for that. I’m looking forward to hearing more of it. Boyfriend Dungeon brings some tried and true aspects to the table – dating options, dungeon crawling, etc – but puts such a fresh and lovely spin on it that it doesn’t feel quite like anything else I’ve ever played.
Overall, Boyfriend Dungeon was a favourite for me at PAX. If you’re still here for the last day, it’s completely worth stopping by the booth and checking it out. If you’re not, I’m going to throw out a shameless little plug for their kickstarter, which goes until September 15th – you can find it here.
I’ll put it this way: as a reviewer, I often get free games and give it a wait to see if I’ll get asked to review something. I also often think carefully about what I want to put money into, or else it will get a little crazy. Boyfriend Dungeon is the first one I’ve seen a demo for and immediately thought “I need to back this.” I completely expect it to live up to the hype and be 100% worth it.
Check out more at http://www.boyfrienddungeon.com/ !
Boyfriend Dungeon will be out on Steam sometime in 2019.