Game: Boyfriend Dungeon
Genre: Roguelite, Dungeon Crawler, Dating Sim, Action RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S)
Developer | Publisher: Kitfox Games
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 12+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £15.29 | EU € 16,99
Release Date: August 11th, 2021
No review code was used for this review
Boyfriend Dungeon has been a game that I’ve been relatively excited about ever since I first heard about it. Being able to date my own weapon? Fighting through a slew of monsters down to the pits of a dungeon before sweeping my respective partner off of their feet? Honestly, it’s a dream come true. But when you’re mixing two unrelated genres like this (rogue-lite and dating sim in this case), you have to make sure that neither genre is too lacking. But let’s dive into Boyfriend Dungeon and see how it holds up.
If you were anywhere near the indie gaming sphere a couple of weeks ago, you may have noticed the discourse concerning Boyfriend Dungeon and their content warning. Specifically, there is a stalker that plays a pretty big part of the story that the game makes you aware of before the game officially starts. Not to dig too deep into the discourse itself, but conversation sparked up about how the original content warning didn’t do enough to warn the player about what exactly the player would experience, being a touch too vague for some people. Content warnings in general are something that I definitely think is important. It’s nice to see Kitfox Games updating this warning, albeit the way the original conversation devolved was not great.
Along with the main plot revolving around a stalker, there is another functionality that involves texts from your mother. You have the option to not receive any of these texts, something that I think is very interesting. These texts do come in abundance and can be a bit overbearing, even though they are coming from a loving place. So for those who don’t wish to see these messages, this is a great feature to see implemented.
Welcome to Verona Beach
You have just moved to Verona Beach for the summer, and unbeknownst to you, your mom and cousin are out to make sure you get some hot dates. And whether you like it or not, you find yourself going through several blind dates, of ranging success. But dating isn’t the only thing that you’re going to be doing in Verona Beach. The beachside town is home to dungeons (or dunj for short), where you can explore and kill monsters that manifest based on your psychology.
Transform into Weapons
However, you’re not going to be fighting monsters with your bare hands. You’ll need weapons to fight with. Along with the dungeons, there is another aspect to Boyfriend Dungeon that’s interesting. There are those who are able to transform into weapons, such as swords and brass knuckles, along with those who are able to wield said weapons. Wielding in of itself is not a romantic gesture, but you can date most of the weapons that you come to find.
You only have until the end of summer to make the most out of Verona Beach, so whether you choose to remain loyal to one weapon until the end, or decide to swoon everyone who crosses your path, Boyfriend Dungeon is welcoming to both aspects.
An Arsenal of Weapons
You will explore dungeons and the deeper you go, you will find more weapons that you can use. In all, there are seven weapons to find between the two dungeons in the game. Among those seven weapons, six of them you are able to date and one is platonic (given that he’s a cat). No matter the gender that you choose to identify as you are able to date any and all of the characters. And when I say all, I do mean all.
While you could have multiple save files to romance each weapon one at a time, you are able to date all of the characters on just one file. Since the game doesn’t save after the final boss, you can restart before the final fight and go through each ending with the respective weapons. There aren’t any consequences to be had, so honestly, go wild with the dating.
Each weapon character has its own weapon type. You can choose to use any weapon that you’ve met before you enter the dungeon, and then after a floor has been completed. Every weapon has a love meter that is increased every time that you spend time with them in the dungeon. However, you can only increase their level by one before their meter is maxed out, indicating that you’ve unlocked a date. Until you’ve gone on a date with the character, you won’t be able to increase their love meter any further.
The dates can take place in several places across Verona Beach, from the beach itself to the coffee shop down the street from your apartment. Each character has its own storyline, digging deeper and deeper into the character’s background as you increase their love meter. The stories are very well told and I was fairly pleased with the wide cast of characters.
(Not So) Sharp Combat
Along with being a dating sim, Boyfriend Dungeon is also a rogue-lite dungeon crawler. In order to progress the story and unlock more weapons to romance, you will need to clear through dungeons in the game. Each character has a light attack, a heavy attack, and a dodge. The dodge is the same across the board, but the light and heavy attacks vary based on the weapon type. Some weapons move faster than others, and some have wider ranges. Between those two variables, as well as some other status effects, such as stunning and added gravity, there is probably a weapon out there for everyone.
However, the combat does feel a bit surface level. The dodge feels a bit slow and I found myself mainly spamming the light attack to move out of the way of attacks. And unfortunately for me personally, I didn’t even feel the need to use the heavy attack most of the time. Each weapon does gain effects to their attacks as their love meter increases and you go out on dates, so it’s important to increase that ranking if you want to unlock better effects to use during battle, like bleed and cutting off movement.
You can also store up to three (or four if you’re wearing a specific headpiece) healing items that can be saved and used at any time. You will find more of these healing items hidden in chests or as a drop from an enemy after defeating them in battle. Another drop is an AOE spell, displayed as a zine. You can create different zines, each with its own effect. Although, much like the heavy attack, I rarely felt the need to use it and actually forgot it was an option until moments where I was overwhelmed by enemies.
Another glaring issue that I noticed during my playthrough is how abrupt the game’s last boss and the ending seemed to be. In fact, it made me wonder if that truly was the end, or if more content would be added at a later date. The game time comes in at around 10 hours or so, with two dungeons and three major bosses to battle against. As of right now, there are two more dateable characters (Leah as a Hammer and Jonah as an Axe) who will be added to the game as DLC. Along with them, there is also supposed to be new content as well, although there is no news on what exactly that content is as of yet.
Beautiful Art and Animations
The art for this game, of course, is absolutely gorgeous. After you meet each weapon, an animation is played that shows the weapon changing into its human forms. Each animation is different between all of the weapons. This makes it easy to figure out the vibe that you can expect from each person. The visual novel portion of the game is primarily in 2D. It mixes an anime style with one that is a bit more realistic. I especially love the coloring/highlights and linework.
For the dungeon crawling and rogue-lite aspect, the game switches to a 3D isometric view, with you controlling your character around the map. The 3D models take a blocky approach, keeping things simple, yet stylish.
There is some voice acting, all of which was done very well. However, the game is not fully voice acted. There are moments when the voice acting just cuts out suddenly or trails off in the middle of a sentence. While I can understand not wanting or being able to have a full voice-acted game, the cut off for some of the lines could have been better done.
I really enjoyed Boyfriend Dungeon. It actually felt like one of the more satisfying dating sims that I’ve had the chance to play thus far on the Switch. I’ve enjoyed all of the characters in their own way. I liked how each relationship developed, for better or for worse. My only complaints would have to be related to the rogue-lite portion of the game. While competent in its own right, it does feel simplistic in its execution, paired with the fact that the game feels abrupt in its ending portion while you’re having fun. But it is a somewhat unfulfilling experience if you’re coming in because of the combat.
Nonetheless, I would still recommend this game for those who are looking for another dating sim to add to their arsenal and don’t mind a more simplistic combat system. The game is pretty polished and I didn’t run into any issues with how the game ran. Even during combat with a room full of enemies on the screen. I am very curious about how this game will be supported and what content they decide to add to this game.
Final Verdict: I Like it.