Boyfriend Dungeon is now out in the wild and has unfortunately been plagued with controversy. It’s difficult, in fact, for me to write this, but not as difficult as what the developers and the voice talent must go through. If you feel the need to attack them, just stop. Persona 5 had 0 content warnings and I can’t remember anyone complaining about that game.
Boyfriend Dungeon presents a content warning right off the bat that is currently being updated to make people more aware of the type of narrative the game is going to throw at you. This should be enough. Unfortunately, it seems queer art made by queer people is under 100x more scrutiny than art that does exactly the same thing made by straight people. Honestly, the most depressing part is the game would probably have stirred up less controversy had there been no content warnings at all.
If you want to know more, there’s a whole Twitter thread here recapping the discourse, I’m here to review the game.
Boyfriend Dungeon is a dating sim with a twist. Your weapon is also your love interest. It’s lustful, full of heart, great dialogue and a wonderful cast of characters. It’s basically the plot of the anime Soul Eater.
And yes, there’s a awful character called Eric, who, yes, does suck, BUT if you actually play the game, you will see that he gets what he deserves. But most people seem hell-bent on not playing the game and instead spending their valuable time arguing with strangers online.
Much like real life, not everyone is a great person, hence Eric. Especially in the dating pool. In fact, most people will probably tell you they have been on some bad dates with some worse people. Boyfriend Dungeon holds nothing back with its character and features a variety of people to meet. The game is much more than just Eric, the main baddie.
Another content trigger that is displayed at the top of the game is about a character named “mother”. You can simply choose to switch it off. I love this sweet, simple gesture. Accessibility is great and needed and doesn’t affect how I play or judge the story.
For those interested in really playing the game, you’ll learn why Eric is the worst. This is a story-based game, and good stories tell great tales. They aren’t always supposed to make the player feel comfortable. This is what I appreciate most about this game. Boyfriend Dungeon takes some swings and tells an all-around good story. This is where this game excels.
“Boyfriend Dungeon takes some swings and tells an all-around good story.”
Players spend their time answering texts, going on dates and fighting in the “dunji”. The dunji is the word for dungeon in this game, which makes me wonder why this game wasn’t called Boyfriend Dunji, but I digress.
Your player starts out as someone who has now moved out of their childhood home for the summer and has never been on a date. By the end of the game, you’ll be well versed in the world of, not only dating, but making friends. Your confidence grows, and you start putting yourself out there a little more with each sweet summer day. When creating your character, the default gender will be they/them. You can choose your preferred gender and date characters of all genders, ethnicities and appearances. The world is your oyster. Flirt around, but be careful not to get hurt!
Boyfriend Dungeon is a mix of two of my favourite games, Dream Daddy and Hades, but I find it misses the mark due to the shallowness of the dungeons themselves. There are, unfortunately, only two to choose from—a club and the mall. Neither of which are all that interesting.
The premise in itself is a clever and original idea, as I can’t think of any other game that makes the weapon a love interest, but it gets repetitive fast. It’s certainly chock-full of jokes and tongue-in-cheek innuendo’s that gave me a good laugh, but overall, it’s something I played and won’t go back to.
“It’s certainly chock-full of jokes and tongue-in-cheek innuendo’s that gave me a good laugh…”
I wish the dungeons offered more to do, as they are incredibly simple, and most players will not have much trouble smashing through them in no time. If you do die, never fear you’ll level up so fast and come back so strong it won’t be a problem on your second go around. The combat in of itself is not great, so getting in and out (hey ooooh!) won’t be much of a burden.
Dating is the first priority here in the game, with the dungeon portion seeming to be tacked on. On top of a variety of weapons you can pick and choose from, you also have magical abilities that seem stiff and uneven, and I found rarely hit the target. They were cumbersome and would have probably been best left on the cutting room floor. The main focus should be on your weapons, as the more you use them the better your relationship grows with the weapon allowing you to go on more dates in the real world.
Slice and dice to hopefully kiss and giggle later, as the old saying goes.
By the fourth or fifth time exploring a dungeon, you’ll pretty much see all there is to offer. A lot of repetitive enemies, a normal of the same randomized roguelike elements, and a few odd secrets here and there. For players looking to spend more time dating, this shouldn’t be an issue, and you might like how quickly you can level up, I was just hoping for something a little meatier to stick my sword in.
Overall, this is a fun little dating sim you can knock out in a weekend. Don’t go into it expecting the next Hades and instead think of it as Dream Daddy with more people to romance and dungeons to explore. and you should be in for a solid, exciting, good time.