Have you ever been torn between booting up your favorite romance simulator or playing Diablo? Look no further because Kitfox Games has solved this age old dilemma with Boyfriend Dungeon. This game is a supremely fun dating-sim/dungeon-crawler combo that shouldn't work but defies the odds and manages to be delightful and engaging.
When games try to transcend or fuse genres, there's usually an element of this marriage that doesn't work and drags the whole game down (Like the abysmal swordplay in the forgettable Sonic and The Black Knight). Fortunately, Boyfriend Dungeon finds the perfect dating/dungeon balance into a truly enveloping experience.
The dating sim aspect of the game is incredibly well-written, LGBTQ+ inclusive and utterly endearing. The relationships you develop with the multitude of characters feel so human: everyone is written differently, given fully fleshed out backstories and can be sidelined at any time if you don't like a particular character. Personally I thought the shopkeeper was a bit of a jerk so I broke up with him, yet he still sold me supplies. The stories that unfold as you get to know each character better are works of pure craftsmanship that you just don't get in most dating sims. The relationships you build with your human/weapon hybrid suitors also help you to progress through the dungeons, adding a layer of depth to this unlikely crossover of a game. One of the storylines that resonated most with me revolves around being stalked by an ex-partner. This story is heartbreaking and powerful, but can be triggering for some viewers. Luckily, this storyline is a slow burn so if you want to ghost that character, the game won't punish you for it. Each character has a rich and often sad backstory but this one cuts especially deep.
The dungeon crawler portion of Boyfriend Dungeon is equally well crafted. The randomly generated dungeons are filled with a variety of enemies with different attack styles that require you to think on your feet in order to stay alive. It is a bit difficult at first but once you get into a rhythm, it feels quite a bit like Diablo III as far as the control scheme goes. Each weapon will unlock different abilities as you progress and it doesn't take long to feel like a proper warrior of love. The boss battles are frantic and fun, which makes for very satisfying ends to the demanding dungeons.
All in all, each half of this hybrid game could stand on its own in their respective genres and that speaks volumes to the quality of Boyfriend Dungeon.
- Great combat
- Well crafted dungeons
- Amazing characterisation and story
Trying to write this section is difficult since this game is as good as it is. Perhaps the only glaring "flaw" is the repetitive dialogue within dungeons if you don't change weapons often. The process of advancing time is also a bit annoying: most often, you go back and forth between the dungeons and your apartment until you progress enough with any of your weapons to be invited on a date. The repetitive nature of this game is perhaps its only drawback but I found it engaging enough that it didn't make gameplay a chore.
- Repetitive interactions
- Annoying back and forth structure
Final Score: 9/10
I usually loathe dating sims due to the shallow (usually painfully heteronormative) sexualised nature of the genre but Boyfriend Dungeon has broken new ground in that mundane arena: a subtle touch and tasteful ambiguity. It's a testament to the care that went into Boyfriend Dungeon that both halves perform so well independently of each other and mesh so well together. The simplest way to put it is this: if you're a fan of either genre that is represented here, go buy this game and broaden your horizons with an excellent example of a genre you might not normally indulge in; and if you're a fan of both, buy this game and bathe in its excellence.
Thank you for checking out our Boyfriend Dungeon Switch review, thank you to Kitfox Games for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: