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    Boyfriend Dungeon

    Game » consists of 3 releases. Released Aug 11, 2021

    Kitfox Games' Boyfriend Dungeon allows players to date their weapons.

    These Swords Ain't Gonna Date Themselves

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    BladeOfCreation

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    I'd rather not give a fuck and end up with some scars

    The night is just long enough to build it up and watch it fall apart

    ...so I'll date them instead. I just finished playing Boyfriend Dungeon last night. It's a fun little gem of a game that places your character (whose name and pronouns you can change at any point during the game) in the middle of a small California beach town that is populated with a whole lot of hot people. Oh, and a bunch of those people can transform into weapons, too. The dungeons you enter with your potential boyfriends (also included in the dating pool are one woman and two non-binary folks) are full of monsters that are manifestations of your character's fears. Each suitor/weapon plays differently, with a total of six levels that provide different combat abilities. As you work through a dungeon with a weapon, you gain experience. Once you max out the experience for that level, you'll need to go on a "date" with that character in their human form in order to progress their story unlock their next weapon level. The dates are set up through a basic "texting" feature that allows you to choose a couple of different responses.

    I say "date" in quotes because you can choose to keep it platonic if you'd like. I chose to play the field for the most part, and surprised myself by ending up as best friends with a character I didn't particularly care for at the beginning. As your cousin who likes to set you up on dates reminds you, wielding someone can be totally platonic.

    No Caption Provided

    The game has a fairly basic but functional crafting system. You can craft different outfits, "zines" that give you a magical ability to use in dungeons, and gifts for your dates. There doesn't seem to be any story acknowledgement for romantically dating multiple people at once. The game has a good amount of humor, a great soundtrack, and fun (if simple) hack-and-slash gameplay.

    If you're Particularly Online, you might've seen the Discourse™ surrounding this game. If not, be aware that the antagonist of this game is a person you go on one date with, who ends up becoming a gross incel stalker. This is the fundamental conflict of the story, and you may not want to play it if that sounds like something you don't want to experience.

    This game isn't necessarily breaking any new ground for fans of the genre, but it's fun, sincere, and well-written. Check it out and date some swords (also: a dagger, a glaive, a scythe, and a legally distinct lightsaber)!

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    bicycleham

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    #2  Edited By bicycleham

    I tried my hand at playing this on game pass but it just felt like such a slog. The combat doesn't really have any impact to it and it kinda pales in comparison to games like Hades or Dead Cells that really hone in on what makes combat feel good and fun to engage with. It seemed like most of the work went into the art design and writing which just gave off huge 2012 era fanfiction vibes which just isn't my style at all. I could see someone playing this just for the dating / visual novel stuff but that's probably just not for me.

    I noticed you also bring up the option to keep things platonic with any of the weapons but I guess I just didn't play enough to get to that. I think I went on the first "date" with the blood falchion man and he seemed way to into me for something I just wanted to be a platonic hangout section and I just wasn't about that. Seems to me that it's kind of a bummer that you can't just immediately say to each weapon that you want to keep it platonic and the game just off the bat assumes what you're into which just includes everyone.

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    brian_

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    #3  Edited By brian_

    Yeah, the "plutonic option" seems weird. I'm still early in the game, but as far as I can tell, the only real "plutonic option" is to just not go on the dates. Which I think is a fine design choice if that's the intent, too many games are designed in a way to make you feel like you have to see everything. But also, going on the dates are tied to weapon upgrades, so you're still encourage to go on them anyways. Just seems to be a bit in conflict with some of it's themes.

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    BladeOfCreation

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    From what I saw, it seems like the platonic options come through in dialogue choices, but it definitely isn't something you can choose right away.

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    brian_

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    So, it's more of "go on a couple of dates first, then decide" sort of thing? That makes more sense.

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    BladeOfCreation

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    @brian_: That's what it seemed like to me. To be fair I was kind of a player and romantically dated everyone except for one character, so I'm not entirely sure how the game handles platonic stuff as a whole. The character I wasn't romantic with I was still friendly towards, and I still kept getting options to escalate romantically.

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    FinalDasa

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    #7 FinalDasa  Moderator
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    BladeOfCreation

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    @finaldasa: GamePass says 11 hours. That includes time I went back and did the last mission with a different character, and going back in to grind some crafting items for an achievement. I have all but 4 or 5 achievements (some rare ones I'd have to look up). I'd say you're looking at 8-10 hours if you're not worried about maxing out everyone's level, but keep in mind that maxing out their level is required to complete any given characters storyline.

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    DrFidget

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    This was my first real experience with the genre, but it really felt like the swords were in fact dating themselves. The game doesn't give you many options to create a fiction for your own character, other than choosing pronouns and weather or not you went to college. Which would be fine if the game had a story about them it wanted to tell and fleshed out the character itself, but it super doesn't and it became increasingly distracting as the game went along. The first date with most of the weapons they'll ask some benign questions about you, but after that everything is 100% about them. To the point where half way through the game every time the voice overs would pause to skip your name it felt like a conscious choice by the dev to set up a twist. I legit thought the game was going to reveal you were the stalker the whole time, following these weapons on their dates with other people.

    But no, no twist. You're just a person who might as well not exist, dating a bunch of entirely self absorbed weapons. I don't know how much the dialog options change any of that, a lot of them just seemed like multiple options that said the same thing. The handful of times I chose the more obnoxious choices to try and exert some influence on the game, it seemed like it just ignored it or someone would say "I wish you hadn't done that" and move on, never to be brought up again.

    Again, this is my first time with the genre so I don't know if this is just how these games are. But if the choices really don't matter I wish they would have just written a main character with a backstory and personality and let me watch those interactions between dungeons. None of the "romances" bothering to learn anything about you was gross and just made all their conclusions feel completely insincere.

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    jeremyf

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    @drfidget: As someone who doesn't touch dating sims, this is my problem with them as well. The player character is as blank a slate as possible, not only to facilitate self-insert but also to ensure compatibility with all the potential romances. It always feels manipulative to me because most players will say whatever their desired character wants to hear so they can progress the relationship. This does, indeed, make the player feel a little stalker-ish from my perspective. Again, not saying this is everyone's experience, but these games aren't simulating any deep two-way relationships.

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    brian_

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    @drfidget: It is a common genre thing. Especially when you're given a customizable character. More often than not, you're just a blank slate for another character to tell their story to, under the premise of romance, than it is any sort of deep, realistic depiction of a romantic relationship. Usually choices are given just to give you some agency over whose story you want to see, or simply just to "gamify" the game, either by given you very binary choices of right or wrong, or by not giving you enough time to see everything in the game, making you prioritize how you spend your time and which characters you want to see the most. The Persona series is very much this way, and is typically what games like this look to emulate.

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    brian_

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    Finished the game. I had fun with it overall, but it really doesn't seem to let you keep things very plutonic, despite it's own claims. Characters I tried to very much stay plutonic with all seemed to have a final scene upon reaching max relationship level that implied at least a little bit of romance. Again, you could always just choose not to increase the relationships that far, but you won't get the upgrades for it. And to fight the final boss, the game does require you to be max level with at least one weapon.

    I mean, at the end of the day, the game is called "Boyfriend Dungeon". Not "Friendship Dungeon". You're there to smooch all the swords. And I'm here for that. It just seems slightly at odds with itself in spots.

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    geirr

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    As a dog I had a wonderful time Boyfriend Dungeon (on Gamepass)!

    I usually don't play dating sims of any kind, and I really got bored of Hades after
    an hour, but somehow this more uncomplicated game hit me just right.
    Perfect for picking up and playing in between work and other daily activities.
    Maybe a bit short but wanting more is usually a good thing.

    Now, this might be due to my happy-go-fucky play style, but I didn't see any
    asexual romance options in my play-through. I assume they're in there though? Maybe?

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    BladeOfCreation

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    @geirr: There is a dialogue option when you're on a date with Rowan that is something like, "No sex, only romance." It only appears as one dialogue option during one date as far as I know. Anecdotally, I saw some mention of the lack of ace representation on Twitter. This isn't really a thing I was looking out for or attempting in my playthrough (I mean, I'm aware of it, but it's not how I chose to play), so I just looked it up. This Reddit post from someone who attempted an ace run of the game goes into some detail that you may find interesting.

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    imhungry

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    The writing in this game felt a little all over the place with the irreverent, anything goes approach to the setting clashing pretty heavily with the creepy stalker narrative (that also has a weird halfhearted attempt at a redemption arc?). The writing for the characters also didn't seem particularly inspired for the visual novel space from what I played.

    It's a totally alright game and doesn't overstay its welcome but that's all really, just average.

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