Game Review: Dream Daddy – A Dad Dating Simulator

Dream Daddy - A Dad Dating Simulator Artwork

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator or more commonly just called Dream Daddy is a visual novel and dating simulator which was released on July 20th 2017 for Microsoft Windows and macOS, and on September 22nd 2017 for Linux. An expanded version called the ‘Dadrector Cut’ was released for the PlayStation 4, along with an update to the PC version on October 30th 2018, and it was officially released for the Nintendo Switch on July 2nd 2019. 

Dream Daddy was developed and published by an American indie game publisher called Game Grumps, who are probably more commonly known for their ‘Let’s Play’ channel on YouTube hosted by Arin Hanson (also known as Egoraptor) and Dan Avidan (also known as Danny Sexbang). Dream Daddy was written by Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray. There is also a comic book based on the game which I strongly suggest you check out. 

So first off, let’s start with the positives. Dream Daddy has a decent number of variations regarding dating options with seven distinct daddies for you to romance throughout, which not only makes your preferences more of a preference but also enhances the replayability as well.

I promised this section would be positive but regarding replayability, I do have to mention that despite the great writing and I really do mean great, it can get a bit tedious reading the same dialogue options during the initial portions of the game. However there’s plenty to experience even across multiple playthroughs that make it worth it.

I am a fan of dating sims, especially quirky ones, it’s why I liked Hatoful Boyfriend, Hustle Cat, Hot Date and Ladykiller in a Bind. Dream Daddy has now been added to that list. It’s sweet and wholesome, while still managing to be about a single father balancing his love life and raising his daughter. Dream Daddy is so genuine and heartwarming and it shines particularly brightly when compared to the boring, regular harem narratives.

It also managed to represent the LGBT+ community well without desperately grasping at diversity and inclusion as tools for a story rather than just one of the many ways in which people live their lives. Something else it did really well was reference and show sexual situations without it coming across as too sexual, meaning it works well as a wholesome dating sim but isn’t afraid to push boundaries a little.

I like that you aren’t just dating, your still a dad first and foremost and maintaining your relationships isn’t just one of the best parts of the game but it makes it real, it makes it more authentic and thus makes it more worth playing. 

So now we know that Dream Daddy is sweet and has a genuine heart to it, but it’s also really funny. It blends family and romance (maybe even love) with real humour. You have got to love those Dad jokes. I mentioned up top that it’s well written, the dialogue is pretty much always snappy, funny and delivered well. Something that is a Massive plus for the game is that it’s meant to be funny but the jokes are never at the expense of the fact the characters are gay. It’s just lighthearted and silly humour designed to tickle you and offend no one. That being said the characters are very comfortable with their sexuality and don’t shy away from it, the game is gay and you totally get that from the start.

Lastly, the art style was good, it was distinctive enough to be recognisable, varied enough between characters to express preference and just to distinguish people, I hate games where the male leads either look identical in a waifish anime kind of way or look so radically different that no one person would find them all attractive, Dream Daddy finds a nice balance and provides us an ample selection of well designed characters to romance and lovely backdrops to romance them against.

Okay now onto the negatives, firstly and this follows on from my last point, you can make your own Dad in the Dad creator, that art style looks far rougher in comparison to the rest of the game and as a result is just a little off putting, not enough to stop playing the game by any stretch of the imagination but just a small issue that I personally had. That being said, and slipping back to a positive for a moment you have a lot of options to choose from to make your true dad persona including binders if you are trans, which is not only great for representational reasons but also again reflects a reality that not a lot of games do. 

Okay back to negatives, some of the mini games were really fun and I can admit to enjoying them, both as a break from the narrative and well as a fun supplement to the game overall but I also had my issues with them. namely irksome controls for some of the games and in particular the whole golfing mini game, when presented with a challenge I usually can’t stop but I’m still plodding along trying to beat the challenge in this one.

I also wish you could create more of a character for yourself, I mean you get to design yourself and pick the backstory for yourself and your daughter that you don’t get to express a specific personality too much, except in who you date and how you care for your daughter, which is still good I guess but in hindsight and for such an overall good game it makes it feel a little lacking. 

It’s also a little short, I mean you get plenty in the game and as I said up top there’s plenty of options and reason to play it again but a play through is relatively short. However if you like a game that’s brief and charming then this one is for you, it reminds me a lot of Monster Prom in that regard, another game you should check out. Also sorry for the unrelated game promo, developers of Dream Daddy.

Last negative I guess, no voice acting, and this holds true for Monster Prom which I just mentioned above as well. Instead of complete voice acting it’s just brief clips, I’d prefer no voice acting over it being sprinkled in, that being said I can see why people might not want voice acting i.e the voice actor might not sound like how they voice the characters in their head, but I feel like the solution to that is an option to toggle the vocals on or off.

Speaking of audio and I know I said I was done with positives, but the theme music is amazing, the music in the game in general was good but the theme music is fantastic, it’s been a few years now and it still gets me.

But anyway, overall Dream Daddy is a really good game, the issues are relatively minor, it does justice to the LGBT+ community, has diversity as well and doesn’t make a point of broadcasting either. It’s funny, it’s sweet and so because of all that and more, I’ll give it an 8/10.

 

First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/


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