Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is the most grounded men who love men visual novel I have ever played.
Developer: Game Grumps
Publisher: Game Grumps
Release Date: July 19th, 2017
Platform Reviewed on: PC, game was purchased as a gift from a third party.
I have to admit, I was initially skeptical upon hearing that Game Grumps was making a dating game centred around big burly dudes, and simply passed it off as a joke. Playing it, as someone who has past trauma, there really isn’t much you have to worry about, the subject matter is dealt with in a positive manner. As an escape from real life, it’s nice and cute, but it’s still grounded and real.
Even if you’re unhappy with the game, the Dream Daddy team seem more than happy to adjust to suit a wider audience. Before the game’s release, you were forced to have your partner be a woman, and to have Amanda as your biological daughter. When the game came out on Wednesday, not only in the character creator, you can be transgender, wearing a chest binder with the hair pattern being different as well. As well, Amanda’s other parent, Alex, can now be either male or female, and Amanda can either be your adopted or biological daughter.
The writing is solid throughout, filled with the usual cacophony of jokes and cute moments, but also those emotionally draining moments that feel grounded in reality. While you never have that awkward conversation of “oh yeah I’m gay by the way”, it just feels like I’m around other people like me, without having to explain myself and prepare for rejection. There’s also a transgender dad (who’s voiced by a trans man) in the mix, that just drops that he wears binders comfortably. The game doesn’t make a big deal that he’s trans, because it’s not and doesn’t change your relationship with him. I’ve been seeing that it’s “not enough”, but I don’t think that it’s needed, especially because the wrong words could make transgender people uncomfortable. The children are great, cute and well written, not annoying or boring like other games.
One thing I don’t like is the minigames, I just felt some of them were very confusing and not self-explanatory. There’s one that tells you as you play, which is an obvious match three game, but with really similar fish. There’s also no prefacing for the minigames, apart for a very long loading screen, and I can’t escape the feeling that they don’t connect very well to the overall experience.
There is one dad in particular who didn’t appear to have an engaging route. anytime I would try to change what I said, I couldn’t alter the outcome. The situation involves a third party that you can’t really change, which is understandable, but it is a bit disappointing that you can’t really actually date him. Another dad has a very bizarre choice at the beginning that immediately railroads you into the bad route, and it feels rather unfair, especially with the sense that the game chastises you for it.
Also, the game casually writes off a married woman (as one of the very few women that appears in the game), as an abusive spouse/mother, alcoholic, nasty person, without giving much room to redeem herself,. The worst part is that it’s supposed to be your motivation to date her husband. In my opinion, if the woman and her husband had a healthy relationship, and you could still date her husband as a polyamorous relationship, it would be more interesting than being the side guy, and really nice to see a positive poly relationship.
Dream Daddy is a surprisingly good dating simulator with great writing and fun characters, and is easy to recommend to fans of this particular genre. I hope the Dream Daddy team makes further improvements to the game, and possibly adds more content in the future.
- Inclusive and thoughtful towards the men in the game
- Great character designs
- Solid writing
- Minigames are rather clunky
- Some routes can be rather confusing and difficult to navigate
- Unable to redo a choice without restarting