Rarely do you see a concept as fun and horny at the same time as Boyfriend Dungeon. It’s half dungeon crawler, half dating sim, with the romantic options mainly consisting of the weapons you use in the dungeons. Love is a battlefield, but literally.
Yes, in the world of Boyfriend Dungeon there are people who can turn into weapons. This is the strangest yet most brilliant concept we’ve heard in a long time. It fits together so perfectly. You can build a fairly intimate relationship with a weapon by standing in front of hot fires together, but what if that weapon then becomes a handsome man who comes to cuddle with you on the couch?
Hot weapon summer
You’re celebrating a long summer vacation in Verona Beach, in your cousin’s apartment. The main character starts out as a shy person who has never been on a date, but soon (you can set your own pronouns) he/she/them has had some romantic escapades.
This visual novel section is the pinnacle of the game. You meet new people, meet up with them and see if a spark is flying. There is little gameplay involved: you only choose which answers you want to give in conversations, the rest comes naturally. However, the characters are so fun and fresh that you click with almost everyone.
For example, Rowan lives with a talking crow in a mansion and has just lost a family member. Hen is not a fan of crowded places or new people and relies on your self-confidence. Our favorite (well, except for one we don’t want to reveal) is Valeria, an artsy yet mysterious woman who is clearly keeping a secret from you. This story exudes true love, especially in the way she may (or may not) win your trust.
The dating part is therefore successful, although it is a pity that your choices have hardly any consequences. With any potential relationship, you can choose whether to develop love, or whether you prefer to remain friends. Regardless of your choice, you can continue to follow the characters’ stories, so it’s nice not to miss out on any content if it doesn’t spark.
It is strange that you can maintain multiple relationships at the same time. There are characters who are very open about their polyamorous lifestyle, but others wouldn’t be thrilled if they knew you had multiple partners. On the one hand it is nice that the game offers you this freedom, but as a dating sim it is therefore less interesting.
Defeat of arms
After dating, it’s time to turn into a weapon and take on the dungeons in Verona Beach. For example, Valeria transforms into a dagger, while Rowan transforms into a scythe. The cutscenes where you see that transition happen are some of the most creative animations we’ve seen in a long time.
a great way to experience a hot summer despite the Dutch rain showers
The randomly generated dungeons are explored from an isometric perspective with a light and heavy attack and a dodge. It’s a bit like Hades in that regard, but a lot less fluid. Combat feels clumsy and unfocused, making it a chore to aim your blows at the right enemy rather than in a vacuum.
In addition, the fights are not very varied. You always dive one floor deeper into the dungeon, but everywhere you find the same pair of enemies, sometimes in a different jacket. The different weapons also offer too little variety. They all have slightly different abilities, such as a black hole that attracts enemies or a dodge that stuns opponents, but in the end you’re just hitting buttons.
Plus that there are only two dungeons in total. These dungeons are based on your character’s fears, which is an interesting fact. Especially because you don’t know exactly what fear is being portrayed until the final boss. You try to figure that out based on the strange enemies you encounter. What does it mean to fight live phones? But after overcoming two of those fears, it suddenly ended.
Still, you’ll have to grind through the dungeon more often. You have to earn experience points with each individual weapon to unlock a date with the corresponding character. Due to the lack of content and variety, you get tired of the combat much faster than the hot dates.
Luckily, the overarching story keeps you enthralled enough to keep playing. The gun people are kidnapped and left for dead in the dungeons. It’s up to you to find out who’s behind these crimes while making time for your dates and keeping a pretty stalky dude away from you. It’s not very in-depth, but at the end you look back on an emotional journey with great satisfaction.
In the end, the dates are head and shoulders above the rest of the game. Fortunately, that’s what you spend most of your time on. The battles and dungeons are mediocre at best, but never so bad that it tarnishes the memories of your romantic dates. If you like dating sims and can otherwise squint a little, this is a great way to experience a hot summer despite the Dutch rain showers.
Boyfriend Dungeon is available now for PC, Xbox consoles and Nintendo Switch. This game was reviewed on an Xbox Series X.