Boyfriend Dungeon Is More Than I'd Hoped For

I was expecting a cute visual novel, but it cuts much deeper than that

Key Takeaways

  • Boyfriend Dungeon is a much better visual novel and dungeon crawler than I could have imagined.
  • Exploration and monster fighting feels great, but also feeds into your relationships.
  • There’s something to love about every single character who isn’t Eric.
Boyfriend Dungeon main artwork

Kitfox Games

The concept of dungeon diving while wielding weapons I can also date caught my attention, while the finely honed characters and dungeon delving kept me enthralled.

Boyfriend Dungeon has been a lovely (and surreal) experience so far, and isn’t at all what I was expecting. I went in thinking it would be a somewhat typical visual novel with a twist, where the people I meet—and possibly date—are also swords. I also knew I’d be taking my sharp-dressed friends into the ”dunj” to fight monsters and improve relationships outside of romantic dinners and whatnot.

All of that is true, but it’s also much more than that. Nearly every character is fun and interesting in their own way. Time spent in the “dunj” is productive and also a lot of fun. Honestly, most of the time I can’t decide between going on a date or taking a stab at a better dungeon run.

Exploring the “Dunj”

Jumping into the “dunj” to kill monsters is the most video game-y part of Boyfriend Dungeon, no surprises there. What really caught me off guard and fascinated me was finding out that the local monster hotspot was also a manifestation of one’s own fears and insecurities. I know I could never hack it as a psychologist, but I think it’s a really interesting approach to an RPG-like dungeon crawl. Make the monsters representative of the character’s deep-rooted issues? Yes. More of that please.

As I mentioned, the “dunj” is also just a fun time. There are loads of breakable objects that usually house goodies like money or crafting materials. You can swap weapons between floors if you want to mix up your moves (or woo someone else). The randomized floor layouts also keep searching for secrets and treasures from getting dull.

From the perspective of the game world, I’m running around a mall with a friend while literally fighting my fear of change, and I do love that. But it’s also fun to do, and never feels like a grind—at least not the bad kind. I’m always looking forward to the next room where we can stop for a minute and enjoy a quiet moment together. Maybe I really want to see what form the area’s boss is going to take.

Looking for Love

Forging relationships is also super important, and just as enjoyable as a jaunt through the “dunj” (so long as I’m not talking to a particular character named Eric). The cast is extremely diverse and everyone (who isn’t Eric) has a very distinct personality that makes them fun to talk to. Not just in a “let’s date” kind of way either; I legitimately want to see what happens to everyone (other than Eric). I want to learn to cook with Sawyer, help Isaac make peace with his father, and hope maybe someday Pocket will let me pet him.

isaac estoc in boyfriend dungeon

Kitfox Games

Okay, about Eric. The guy is insufferable, overbearing, smug, mean, rude, creepy, and also possibly a sword racist? I’m not sure how else to describe it, but he really has a problem with swordpeople, and that, plus his incessant advances, makes me uncomfortable. His existence in the game isn’t a bad thing—my intense dislike of him shows how strong the writing can be—but I hate him as a character. I keep telling him to back off and stop being a jerk to my friends, but I don’t know if he’ll ever get the point.

I wasn’t just being cute when I mentioned having a tough time deciding between thrusting myself into battle or going on dates, either. I’ve gotten so genuinely invested in almost all of the characters that when I see a date location pop up I’m legitimately torn between the two options. I suppose it’s a good thing the two elements overlap a bit, at least—that way I have a reason to keep doing both.

Boyfriend Dungeon is two fun and interesting games that work well on their own, but work even better together—feeding off and supporting each other. I don’t want to stop playing because I’m having so much fun in the “dunj,” and also because I want to see what happens next. I do want to say if you enjoy playing either of these types of games you should absolutely give Boyfriend Dungeon a try. It’s a wonderful time any way you slice it.

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