RPS Advent Calendar 2021, December 2nd

It’s day two of our 2021 calendar! Welcome to the show! Tell us a little about yourself; what is your name and where do you come from? We’re having a lorra lorra laugh tonight, so let’s take the person you’re going to – oh god he has a knife !!

That’s right, it’s date weapons’ em up Boyfriend Dungeon!

Rebecca: I may have two hands, but unfortunately I only have one brain, so realistically I can only play one video game at a time. Usually I am forced to choose between two of my favorite gameplay styles: to beat my enemies in close melee or to fall hopelessly in love with fictional characters.

Enter the Boyfriend Dungeon, which actively encourages you to do both of these things at once! And it’s not just a case of optional romantic interludes with your party members when you’m probably out of battle. No, Boyfriend Dungeon integrates the hacky-slashy bits properly with the smoochy bits in an innovative way: by letting you romance your weapons.

Dating-sim-composite game is a particular weakness of mine, so a visual novel-slash-dungeon-crawler with dating-changing weapons-people was on my Steam wish list about a fifty-second after I found out it was a thing . It was literally years ago now, but when the game finally came out in August, it did not disappoint me.

Fight in a dunj in Boyfriend Dungeon.  The player, seen from above and below, attacks several very large and angry flip phones

The battle in Boyfriend Dungeon is not very difficult to master, but it’s good weak-minded smashy fun if you did not go looking for a challenge on an equal footing with Hades. Let’s be honest: this is definitely a dungeon crawler designed to be available to dating sim fans instead of the other way around. But if that’s the experience you’re in for, then the only real mistake I think you’ll find with Boyfriend Dungeon is that there are not enough of them.

Kitfox Games has announced plans for DLC that will add more content to both halves of the game, but so far you only have to crawl two dunjes, which can certainly be played out before you have even reached the end of the story . Realistically, though, dunjes in this game were never the stars of the show: it would always be the sexy swords.

Seven from Boyfriend Dungeon

For me, the compelling writing and well-rounded characters were what lifted the Boyfriend Dungeon from a fun diversion with an interesting gag as its central premise for one of my favorite games of the year. Everyone I know who has played it came away with some strong feelings about their chosen weapon, which in my opinion is a sign that a game with visual novel elements has done its job well.

In my case, despite knowing absolutely nothing about K-pop and only a little more about Star Wars, by the end of the game I had fallen hard for the blue-haired maknae idol and part-time laser saber Seven. I do not want to spoil anything, but suffice it to say that his story impressed me by dealing with a sensitive subject close to my heart with refreshing nuances. His romantic route felt understated and genuine, and gripped me to the point where I found out I could not imagine choosing anyone else as my partner / weapon for the playoff dunj. He was really perfect boyfriend material. He just wanted to cuddle up on the couch and watch horror movies instead of going to nightclubs on our dates, and if I made a hit combination, he could chain lightning across six of my enemies at once. Swim.

Alice Bee: One of the characters in this sexes you about, just like his blade. End of course.

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