Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator.
Not a game I was ever planning on playing. Not a game that I ever really wanted anything to do with, even with the tenuous connection to the Game Grumps (I am a semi-fan of theirs). I’m not a big fan of the visual novel/dating simulator genres. I find them really boring and usually the writing on them (perhaps due to a lot of them being translations) is really, really awful. I can’t stand awful writing.
But I caught a video of a Youtuber playing the first bit of the game. And I did genuinely laugh at the dialogue and choices the character can make. So I decided to give it a try. After all, if it was shit, I’d know before two hours was up and I could just refund the game. Ten hours later and I have romanced all of the dads (Knife Dad is best daddy).
For a game that everyone is saying is a satire of the dating sim/VN genre, it actually has a lot of fucking heart. The dialogue is at times super cringe-y (it does match well with the Game Grumps style of humor) and awkward but it’s also really funny most of the time. Things that aren’t dramatic are made dramatic, the characters all talk like that quirky weird kid in college who wears fox tails, but there’s also clearly love that’s put into them. The relationships you can form with the characters are surprisingly meaningful. The situations they face, between the dads and their children, are easily recognizable in real life.
The relationship between the player character and their daughter is amazingly well crafted. You can choose to support your daughter and have a good relationship with her, or you can ignore her and dismiss her feelings and have a terrible relationship (which I never did because come on). Then you have the other dads and the issues they’re facing. Robert with the wall of booze and fake stories that he puts up. Matt with his love and fear of music. Craig just being…Craig. They’re all interesting characters and fairly in depth.
Of course, there are issues. For a game that ostensibly supposed to be about gay/bi-sexual men dating other men, there’s a weird lack of gay content. If I remember correctly, there’s not a single panel that actually shows a gay kiss. Which, I’ll give the game, would be harder to do with a player customized character but I wouldn’t have minded them limiting the options so that we could have that. It seems like such a weird thing to be missing from a game like that.
Also, some of the relationships with the characters aren’t that deep. Joseph is supposed to be a religious individual but we never really get that from him. There’s no questioning of his religion, no worries about what he’s doing. He’s in a very grey position for most of the game being the only dad that’s still married, but there’s never really any talk about that. And Brian’s relationship is funny but still kind of weird. You don’t really have much free choice in it. You have to compete with him, no matter what.
Plus the mini-games are terrible. I genuinely didn’t like a single one of them. They were shallow and felt completely out of place.
All in all though, it’s a super satisfying game that I don’t regret getting. And it’s not a bad catch for $15.