Game Review-Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

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Publisher/Developer: Game Grumps

Genre: Dating Sim/Visual Novel

Release Date: July 20, 2017

Platform: PC/OSX

Price: $14.99

I just want all the daddies to love me.

…That came out really weird.

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is basically what it says on the tin. You take on the role of a widowed father who moves to a new neighborhood with his teenage daughter Amanda. Once there, you encounter other dads, and you go on dates with them. And I don’t mean just hanging out with them, either; ideally you should end up romantically involved with one of them.

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There are sevendads to choose from: your daughter’s English teacher Hugo, paranoid bad boy Robert, awkward barista Mat, adorable goth Damien, your old college roommate Craig, clean-cut youth minister Joseph, and Brian. Through a social media site called DadBook, you can contact those dads to go on dates with, and you receive a score based on how well it went (with S being the best you can do). Each dad has three dates available, and going on the third date with a particular dad locks them in as your “dream daddy.”

Gameplay is fairly standard for a visual novel. It mostly consists of still images over a background with dialog text in the foreground. You make a number of decisions that affect various outcomes and to advance the story. It also contains a number of min-games based on each dad. For example, on one of the dates where you go fishing, there’s a Bejeweled-esque mini-game involving matching fish. There’s also a part in the prologue that riffs on Pokemon.

One thing that I had never really seen in a visual novel, however, is a character creator. Yup, you get to build and name your own dad.

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I named my dad Stump Chunkman.

The artwork and general aesthetic for the game is awesome. The character designs and backgrounds are extremely well done, and the pastel color palette really fits the game’s tone. The game’s music is also very fitting, and I laughed out loud at the game’s intro theme, which sounds kind of like it belongs in a cheesy ’80s romantic comedy. The game also has some limited voice acting, which I thought was extremely well done.

Where I think the game really shines, however, is the writing. The game, as could be expected, is uproariously funny. There’s a parody of Hot Topic called Dead, Goth, & Beyond that you and your daughter dunk on a bit. Plus the loading screens feature a number of “dad tips” which range from actually useful to just plan goofy.

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Then there are the puns. Dear God, are there the puns. There’s a barbecue early on in the game where, at one point, each of the dad makes a terrible barbecue related pun. There’s also a scene where Amanda say’s she’s hungry, and your character bellows “HI HUNGRY I’M DAD,” much to her horror. This is just a taste, as a liberal chunk of this game’s humor consists of puns. I absolutely, 100% live for this.

With all that said, the story also has a lot of heart. It manages to be surprisingly sweet without becoming overly saccharine. It manages to get away with this by being extremely toungue-in-cheek.

The game itself is relatively short, though I found it a bit longer than other visual novels I’ve plated. I finished my first playthrough of the game in just over 4 and a half hours, and that takes into account going on at least 2 dates with each dad. Of course, with this type of game, the point is to go back and play it again, choosing a different route.

All things considered, I highly recommend checking this game out. I would even recommend it if you’re not that into visual novels. The story and humor alone would make it worth your time.

Dream Daddy is currently available on Steam.

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