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Boyfriend Dungeon Preview: Shot Through the Heart

/ Sep 11th, 2018 No Comments

Boyfriend Dungeon Preview

My girlfriend asked me what I was most excited to see at PAX West this year as we were eating some eggs benedict before the convention opened on Saturday. Without pausing to think about it, I replied simply, “Boyfriend Dungeon.” When I explained to her why I was so excited, she politely continued to eat her eggs benny and changed the subject. However, her indifference did not curb nor deter my excitement.

Related: Boyfriend Dungeon interview with Tanya X

I’ve been hyped for Boyfriend Dungeon since before the Kickstarter campaign for the game launched, and the demo I played at PAX West only added fuel to the fire. It gave me a good look at how I’ll be spending time romancing cuties and slaying some monsters.

Get Out of My Dunj and Into My Car

At the beginning of the demo, I was asked to choose the gender identity of my protagonist. Choices include he/him, she/her and they/them pronouns. Boyfriend Dungeon’s inclusiveness and openness to gender fluidity is one of the coolest things about it.

While Boyfriend Dungeon’s gameplay is a hybrid of dungeon crawler and dating sim, getting a sense of how those two elements work together is hard to grasp. In the abstract, it could manifest in a number of ways. The demo showed off how you navigate the two. Thanks to a clever overworld map that includes various dungeons, would-be weapon paramores and your apartment, you can choose how you spend your time in the game.

Do you want to focus on romancing cuties and save the “dunj” crawling for later? Is chilling in your apartment texting your mom and randos a more inviting proposition? You have plenty of options on how you can spend your time.

The demo showed why spending time answering texts at your apartment is a worthwhile proposition. Not only can you text your crushes or dates after spending time with them, but you can define the relationship with your mother as she texts you about your love life. You can also rebuke or encourage the advances of random prospects who have your number. It helps deepen your roleplaying experience.

Texting aside, what we all came to Boyfriend Dungeon for is killing monsters and slaying hunks. The demo didn’t disappoint in either department.

Navigating the overworld allows you to choose which date to go on. For our tastes and purposes, we decided to spend time with the swarthy Sunder.

Unsurprisingly, Sunder is a co-owner of a night club. When we first entered the club for our date, he came on super strong, asking if we believed in soulmates. Soulmates don’t exist and we said as much. This didn’t deter Sunder from asserting his hopeless romanticism.

The date took a turn when Sunder introduced me to his co-owner, Mandy. While Sunder went off to attend to club business, we danced with Mandy. She told me Sunder was using me and that he was addicted to control. Before we could ask anymore questions, Sunder showed up and we danced for awhile before finishing up the date.
 

Boyfriend Dungeon Preview

Does this tall drink of water harbor a darker side?

Mandy’s warning changed how I approached dialogue choices with Sunder. Shockingly though, this icy approach only made Sunder more interested in me. When I checked my texts after the date, he was coming on real strong.

While he may be a controlling creep, his interest worked my favor. Dating and improving your relationship allows you to upgrade your weapons abilities. There is a quid pro quo for going on dates and deepening your relationship with your weapon.

Since I went on a date before heading into a dunj, I was able to enjoy a new upgrade for Sunder to use when we got down and dirty with some monsters. The dunj for the demo was a shopping mall infested with nasty bugs and other creatures. I got a good feel for the combat as we explored the procedurally generated map.

Each weapon has its own playstyle. Sunder is a talwar, resulting in a balanced approach. Not only does Sunder have good speed, it was able to do some area damage for effective crowd control. That was good because many areas of the dungeon were crawling with enemies, requiring you to stay on your toes as you dispatched them.

Sunder’s wider attack range and speed combined with smart dodging resulted in quick work of our enemies. The different combos available in the demo also led to varied combat, meaning you didn’t have to spam the same two combos to trounce your foes.
 

Boyfriend Dungeon Preview

Dunjs have plenty to explore and discover.

Besides smooth combat, the demo provided a good idea of what to expect when exploring dungeons. They aren’t simply filled with enemies. They also have plenty of loot, which comes most often in the form of health or mana refills. You also may find a chest with a nifty accessory or a weapon. While playing the demo, I stumbled upon an adorable barrett that I could immediately wear to make my character look even more gorgeous.

I also found Seven, the lasersaber who is also a K-Pop idol. He has an agent, as you’d expect for someone so glamorous. While I only had a brief conversation with Seven, it whetted my appetite for what is to come in the full game.

Deeper into the dungeon were more enemies, and defeating them netted us money and the occasional bit of loot. The dunj started off pretty easy, but the difficulty ramped up as I got deeper into it.

Near the end, besting opponents required mixing combos, dodging efficiently, using spells and refilling health to stave off death. The demo ended before we could fight the boss, but we were prepared for one hell of a fight with that behemoth bug.

Even More Cuties

In the time since the Kickstart launched to now, Kitfox Games ha raised more than three times its targeted amount and smashed through a ton of stretch goals. As of right now, three additional weapons have been funded, including Pocket the cat and a weapon based on Hatoful Boyfriend.

While playing the demo at the booth, I overheard a story about a person wanting to buy a Boyfriend Dungeon t-shirt. When the person was told that they were sold out, he or she threw a $20 bill at the booth simply because they wanted developers to have the money. It turns out that people are super passionate about Boyfriend Dungeon.

After playing the demo, it is easy to tell why. The short bit I played was bursting with personality and charm. It’s mix of dating sim chicanery with excellent dungeon crawling made for one fun experience. Hell, I didn’t want to stop playing it, which is the mark of any good demo.

Boyfriend Dungeon is targeting a 2019 release for PC.

 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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