Boyfriend Dungeon is a game that puts you in the role of a girl who’s trying to find true love and balance her life with work, friends, family, and other relationships. It’s more than just a dating sim; it’s an experience.
Boyfriend Dungeon by Kitfox Games features a number of characters and scenarios based on societal pressure — romantic interests like Isaac, Sawyer, and Seven all have plotlines that require them to conform in some way, whether it’s due to family expectations, academic pressures, or celebrity pressures, respectively.
The idea of pressure and expectation, however, relates the most to your own personalized character at the game’s heart. When you enter the game’s Verona Beach location, you’re immediately asked, “Why can’t you simply find a date?”
You may give in to the pressure and seek out romantic connections to fulfill an unwritten social norm, or you can just explore friendships and platonic ties with the numerous beautiful people offered to you in Boyfriend Dungeon. You won’t be able to avoid meeting new people in Boyfriend Dungeon, but you can choose how engaged you want these individuals to be in your life and how much time you want to devote to them – and you can take them out on dates or to fight monsters.
Kitfox Games provided this image.
Boyfriend Dungeon is a randomly generated dungeon crawling game in which you battle monsters with weapons that change into human people, who also serve as romantic possibilities. It’s your character’s method of earning money, a subtle parody on freelancing and the gig economy in which you’re hired to clear up an infected mall or club for pennies – not as savage as roguelike Going Under, but nonetheless entertaining. The game’s dungeon exploring and dating simulation elements aren’t very complicated, but the way they interact is subtle and fascinating.
Each weapon has a distinct three or four-button combination, all of which are very basic. Valeria the Dagger, for example, specializes in close-quarters stabbing, and her perk allows you to mislead opponents when you dodge near them. You may level up your Love Rank by completing floors in either of the two dungeons, and after you’ve maxed out a rank with a weapon, you can go on a date with them once you’re back on the global map. Giving presents to your weapons, whether during a peaceful dungeon break or during a romance sequence, can boost your rank considerably. When you finish a date, you’ll get access to a new battle perk for your weapon.
There aren’t many branching routes in the dating section of the game; for the most part, the conversation options while engaging with your love interests reflect choices about how intense you want your connection with this individual to be. You may make it obvious that you just want to be friends with them, or you can make it apparent that you want to have romantic and sexual connections with them. People will likely play this game in a variety of ways; for example, they may spend time with these weapons purely because of their personalities and character designs, or they may simply wish to level them up for battle. In an ideal world, one would do both.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to be a little more haphazard in your approach and pursue something with everyone. I achieved all six Love Ranks with all six weapons in my ten hours with Boyfriend Dungeon, and I had an intimate connection with each of them. There are no consequences in-game if you do this; no one will question your non-monogamous lifestyle, but it would have been great to see the six key weapons interact in the narrative. However, the sheer amount of interactions you must deal with in the game may be daunting and exhausting.
Kitfox Games provided this image.
As I juggled messages between six or more individuals, including my in-game cousin, mom, and a notorious stalker character called Eric, the in-game phone gave me a lot of worry. I’d receive alerts from two other individuals while I replied to one person. In real life, I have a lot of deep connections with a lot of people, and whether it was intended or not, this in-game experience seemed extremely real.
To that end, I found Boyfriend Dungeon to be very encouraging. While having so much on my plate may be unmanageable at times, I felt in charge of my life because I had made the decision to do so. I could spend time with folks whenever it was convenient for us, getting that much-needed serotonin and love until I had to return to taking care of myself emotionally and financially. I portrayed Boyfriend Dungeon as a guy who wanted to offer a lot of affection while still trying to earn a buck and keep his stability. Boyfriend Dungeon was addictive, and ultimately, a chance to practice my own way of life balance. The dungeon fighting and dating sim elements were enjoyable on their own, but when combined, Boyfriend Dungeon was addicting, and finally, an opportunity to practice my own method of life balance.