Boyfriend Dungeon Review: Steel Romance

A game about weapons. About dating and friendship with weapons. Rational and having a human form. And to top it off, with this same weapon, you can also crush enemies into cabbage. Unconventional, right?

Our hero is a young slacker of unspecified gender (your choice), who comes to the seaside town of Verona Beach for summer vacation to visit their cousin. The cousin has just broken up with their girlfriend, so you have at your disposal an empty apartment, a beautiful beach, cheap seafood restaurants, and unique dungeons with aggressive monsters… Yes, yes, in this world there are airplanes and mobile phones, as well as dungeons (slang term – “dungeons”) and monsters. That’s how everything hybridly came together.

A rose weapon transformation

And our hero (or heroine, hereinafter referred to as MC) is also very unlucky in love. Therefore, all loving relatives, including that very cousin and the mom who sends touching text messages, really want MC to meet someone, anyone! The cousin persistently arranges dates and tries to get us involved in some kind of active activities, and one of these activities, well, purely by chance, turns out to be dungeon exploration. With the destruction of the local evil creatures. And how do you destroy evil creatures? With weapons, of course!

However, even in this game world, things are different: the weapons here are not ordinary. In addition to the usual arsenal, there are weapon-people – individuals who can transform into blades (swords, spears, axes, well, you get the idea). And there are so-called wielders – those who fight using such weapons. Of course, a simple tour of the first floor of the local “dungeon” with an estoc – a fencing trainer, turns into a strange adventure, we stumble upon a couple of unconscious… um… blades, who don’t remember how they ended up here… In short, things got complicated.

Receiving a message on the phone

The idea of weapons transforming into people – or vice versa? – has been encountered before, for example, in the anime Soul Eater and Noragami. But rarely. And it’s nice that similar interesting plot twists now exist in games too, it’s a pity that the idea of the universe itself and “why did it happen, where did the sword-people come from?” is not fully explored, oh well.

Throughout the game, the main character gradually gets to know the other candidates for partners. The game, essentially, is a combination of a dating simulator and a dungeon crawler. The dating simulator parts are a visual novel, done very well, with excellent graphics and amusing text message exchanges. You arrange meetings, give gifts, agree or disagree to have close relationships and kisses… The main love points, by the way, are not gained through gifts, but in those very dungeons. And indeed, fighting together against a couple dozen monsters brings people closer.

Valeria character in action

The cast of characters available for dating is quite diverse. However, I predict that girls will like it more than boys (if we are talking about straight preferences) – because there is only one girl there. There are three boys. Two more non-binary comrades. In the add-on, which will be unclear when, they promise another girl and a boy.

And there is also a cat! He turns into a clawed knuckle duster. Romance with him, of course, is not expected, purely friendly relations. (Of course, you can also become friends with all the other participants). And the cat, in my opinion, is the best character.

A cute pet cat in the game

In relationships, no one demands to limit themselves to monogamy, you can “upgrade” everyone in the “love line” at once. Give me a harem! There are no scenes of jealousy at all, which is a huge plus.

The dungeons in the game are not difficult. There are only two of them (but multi-level), and the funny enemies, mostly in the form of animated objects, should symbolize the fears of the main character. Yes, just like in the Persona game series! Of course, everything here is very simplified, and you will have to dodge not different caliber demons, but jumping phones and cocktail glasses (fears are very symbolic, um). The combat system remotely resembles the game Hades. Dodging, two main attacks, combos. Each weapon has its own special abilities, and the further you upgrade your relationship with that weapon, the more passive abilities you gain by using it in battle. Our main character also levels up, increasing only the amount of HP, though.

Engaging in a battle

Zines will help in battle – these are kind of magical bombs that, however, need to be crafted first (and the crafting recipe, as well as the materials, need to be found in the depths of dungeons). Initially, we only have access to straight-flying, terribly inconvenient fireballs, but later the protagonist receives both AOE-sleep (putting enemies to sleep) and AOE-scarecrow, and summons beetle helpers, and a bunch of other useful things. However, only one type of bomb can be carried at a time, but up to four at once!

A deep conversation with a character

You can also craft helmets-hats-other-headgear (they usually give some bonuses) and dresses-costumes (but they are only for beauty). And, of course, gifts for weapons. Who to give what is generally determined quite intuitively (a thoughtful-mystical comrade – a book, a girl-dagger – bracelets in her style, a musician – stage makeup), although sometimes there are surprises (give a succulent plant to a kitten! he will gladly eat it – very realistic).

Wonderful music: thematic tracks, unobtrusive songs, both battle and neutral-background, each one is very suitable for the given moment. I am currently writing this article to the OST of Boyfriend Dungeon. The animated inserts are of the highest level. The characters are even voiced! Not all lines, though, but most of them.

Reading a message on the phone

The plot is, honestly, not really there. There is a kind of dotted, detective-like storyline that could just as well not exist, and that’s about it. The rest – meetings, parties, playing with kittens in a cafe – is well implemented, but it doesn’t really string together into a cohesive narrative. Sigh.

Does this game have flaws? Unfortunately, yes.

Despite the huge hype from Kickstarter (the creators raised over 200,000 dollars), Boyfriend Dungeon gives the impression of an unfinished product. On the trophy shelf, where we place figures of defeated bosses, there is definitely room for one more trophy, but there is no third dungeon in the game. Having two is good, but it’s unforgivably little!

Considering that your dialogue choices and decisions don’t really affect the main ending, and the individual “good endings” differ only in minor details, there isn’t much point in replaying. Oh, and by the way – it’s not really possible, considering that “load from a certain point” is not available – the game only has an autosave feature. In my opinion, the design decision to “remove regular saving” was unforgivable fifteen years ago, let alone in 2021!

Exploring the city in the game

The game is very short, it can be completed in seven to eight hours. I didn’t have a close relationship with all the steel friends (only with four out of seven), but if I had set such a goal, it would have added maybe an hour and a half to the completion time. The guy who turns into an axe (or the hammer girl) that we meet at the party disappears after the first appearance – obviously, to appear in the DLC. The main desire after finishing the game is “give me MORE”! Seriously, after such a Kickstarter, Boyfriend Dungeon is supposed to be twice as long. With a convoluted plot and the revelation of the mysteries of the world and the origins of the blade people…

But overall, despite being unfinished, some glitches, and plot flaws, Boyfriend Dungeon is a very cute, enjoyable, and uncomplicated short indie game. Anyone can play it purely as a dating sim because the combat part is extremely easy. We have already courted pigeons., They romanced dinosaurs. It’s time to get acquainted with weapons! Boyfriend Dungeon was released on August 11, 2021, and is now available on Steam with a 10% discount.

Boyfriend Dungeon
Action, RPG, Visual Novel, Simulation
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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