E3 2019: Boyfriend Dungeon PreviewTake your sword on a date.06.12.19 - 7:59 PM
Boyfriend Dungeon is a blend of a dating simulator and a dungeon crawler...but you get to date your weapons. If you want your dagger to be more powerful, you'd better take them out for a good time at the beach or the dance club. It's a totally unique premise that we were excited to see, but we were even more impressed after getting our hands on it.
The first thing that's immediately striking is the graphical presentation. Boyfriend Dungeon blends vivid colors with incredibly modern designs. 3D gameplay segments — seen in the overworld and during dungeons — use an expressive and colorful low-poly style; while 2D visual novel segments focus on the more traditional approach for visual novels that pairs well-drawn backgrounds with incredibly unique and diverse character art.
Our demo opened by asking us to choose both the look of our character, with varying character models, and the preferred gender pronoun — even offering they/their, a refreshing option. After choosing between these options, we were then thrown into a small map of a town. At this point, there were a variety of options for different places we could go. We could take one weapon on a date at the beach, or a different weapon out to the dance club. We took Sunder out to the club. While on the date, we were presented with a variety of dialogue options that can change not only how things play out, but also how much the weapon improves as a result of the date. There were a lot of different dialogue options available, and they all felt true to the sorts of conversations adults have while on dates; the choices also felt like they had real weight. We didn't have enough time to see how this plays out on future dates, but in the early going, the dating sim element of the game seems well done.
After our date, we went dungeon crawling through a mall. According to the developers, these dungeons are procedurally generated. We had to choose which weapon to take through the dungeon, and we went with Valeria, who is a dagger. Combat is action-based, and even with limited time to play, it is clear that it's fast-paced and intuitive. You blend a sequence of different strikes together to create combos and can also pepper in magical attacks. The best part of dungeon crawling early on, though, was the opportunity to take your weapon on dates throughout the mall. So we stopped by the arcade and had a brief date with Valeria, improving her stats. Once we eventually got a few floors down, the enemies managed to take us out; we were taken back out of the dungeon, and the demo was over. It's clear, though, that the gameplay loop of running dungeons and going on dates has a lot of potential.
Blending smart, snappy combat with a dating sim that includes adults who actually talk and act like adults, Boyfriend Dungeon looks like it could be something special. While we know it will release on PC at some point, we don't have a definitive release date yet. Count us among those who will be following this game closely until we get one.
Written by Zach Wilkerson and Steph Sybydlo