Boyfriend Dungeon’s sincerity helps it tackle dark themes with care
Kitfox Games is a developer who has shown sincerity in entering into this game boyfriend DungeonIt is contagious. The game could be dismissed as a joke or a crazy idea just for being wacky. It’s a dating simulation in which you can date people who can transform into weapons that can defeat monstrous dungeons. It’s a simple concept, but it’s executed with care and thoughtfulness. It was easy to accept it. The game is all about finding people to date, which you can also use as weapons against your insecurities. How do you feel about it?
Boyfriend Dugout starts with the player character moving into a charming seaside resort called Verona Beach. After a brief customization stage, pronouns and looks can all be adjusted. This is the story: You are a single person without any dating experience. Your summer at Verona Beach with Jesse, your matchmaking cousin, is a chance to learn how to love. Jesse will set you up with your first date, and everything will blossom from there. Short for the dungeon, the dunk is where you will learn that some people can transform into weapons in Verona Beach. You are also allowed to use them.
You can mix dating with sessions at the dung. This is also a place to meet new people. There are many places to meet people in Verona Beach. Sessions in the dung can be added to these dates. You can take people (weapons!) In the dunk, you can level up your love ranking, which is basically a power ranking. This is how you gain new abilities as well as increase your stats.
To get there, you have to date. The visual novel-esque way of dating is visually illustrated, with the interactions taking place in real-time conversations. These relationships can also be built through text conversations. Seven different romance options exist, which means there are seven weapons you can use to blast your way through Boyfriend Dungeon’s two dungeons.
My initial idea of dating and dungeon crawling felt natural to me. I was able to get to know my friends and determine which weapon best suits me. As a concept of dating, it worked. It was easy to balance texting, dates, and intimacy during the game.
Boyfriend Dungeon’s core narrative recently brought developer Kitfox a round of discourse. Eric is a condescending shopkeeper who quickly becomes emotionally manipulative and stalking. This is one of the first dates you’ll have. Eric’s controversy centres on whether Kitfox’s warning about content was strong enough and whether players should be able to opt-out of having interactions with Eric. Kitfox has since updated its content warning at the beginning of the game to describe these interactions better, but Eric remains an integral part of the story. Boyfriend Dugout is a fun, flirty, but also serious game. It has many of the best things about dating but also some unpleasant realities. The interactions with Eric in Boyfriend Dug can be very uncomfortable. They’re not blaming Eric for his actions, but they are shown in a way that does not make him feel guilty. Kitfox has updated the game to include a more descriptive content warning because the narrative touches on traumatic themes.
Boyfriend Dugeon‘s story also addresses themes of fear, such as fear of intimacy or change. Specifically, Dungeons are themed around these fears, with monsters appearing to represent each. For fear of change, fight a mall dunk. In the club, for fear of intimacy, fight cocktails and lips. Every person you can date has their own stories and themes, which touch on real anxieties. Each one is treated with care. Kitfox is expressing a sincere message about conquering those fears and using that progress to annihilate Eric.
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Kitfox’s sincerity and care in telling this story of empowered queers worked for me. Although it is not always pleasant, I was satisfied with the result.
Boyfriend Dugong is a bit slow in moving through the two dungeons. In no time, my character transformed from awkward and uncertain to expertly flirtatious. It was like I could attract people all around me, and everyone wanted to be my friend. Although that may be true, the system made it so simple to speed through the dating process that it was almost superficial. The speed at which I could complete the two dungeons made this all feel even more impressive. Although it felt great to hack and slash my ways through the levels, each big fight went quickly and without too much effort. Because the romance options offered by Boyfriend Dungeon are compelling, I believe a better pace would have allowed for deeper relationships. Plus, more dungeons!
These issues aside, I enjoyed Boyfriend Dugout. I was so engrossed in the fantasy that I finished the game in just one session. I didn’t want the game to end. I wanted to learn more and befriend and fight with cats, but not truly fall in LOVE. It would be easy to make a concept like this feel like a joke or lose it in irony. Kitfox’s developers approached Boyfriend Dungeon with genuine belief in the story. That’s what I remember most about the game.