Well, this was certainly an experience. The visual novel genre is definitely a style that never grabbed my interest for various reasons, but I would have never guessed in a million years that my first foray into the genre would be a game about dating daddies. I remember when Dream Daddy was first released on Steam and the overwhelming praise for the game, but it was never anything I would have cared to play. At this point you’re probably asking yourself “why is he reviewing this? Why this late?” The answers to that are some very persistent friends, a copy gifted to me, and an agreement that I write a review about it. Dream Daddy is certainly something, it’s by no means a good “game,” but I’m a sucker for the amazingly cheesy dad jokes that are littered throughout this short dating sim. What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1… yeah, let’s hop in.
I’m not usually one to just copy and paste a games synopsis, but this one is too good to pass up: “Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a game where you play as a Dad and your goal is to meet and romance other hot Dads. Are you ready? Hi ready, I’m Dad.” Straight from the get go the developers let you know that this game will be a dad pun simulator as much as it’s a daddy dating simulator and I’m 100% okay with that. Once you dive in though it does have a decent little story within. You and your daughter have just moved into the sleepy seaside town of Maple Bay only to discover that everyone in your neighborhood is a single, dateable Dad! Through dialogue with your daughter the player finds out that your baby mama has died and sometime in between her death and your move to Maple Bay you realized that you like men. Or it could be that you realized you liked men once you saw the ridiculously sculpted dad hunks that are your new neighbors. Either way, these guys are prime daddy dating material and your one goal is to make one of them your permanent man piece.
The large portion of Dream Daddy doesn’t have any gameplay as I’m sure most visual novel fans are aware of. So most of my “gameplay” critique is going to have to come from the few little mini games that are presented every now and then. These mini games are extremely easy, not well put together, and don’t have any real consequences. For example, there’s a mini game where you find yourself in the middle of a mosh pit at a concert and you must run away from the horde of people while dodging people in front of you. If you get hit you bounce away and have to continue. I found you can easily just hold forward the entire time and even when getting hit multiple times there is nothing that happens, which seems strange because they added heart pick-ups, indicating they may have had a health meter at one time. Another is a cheaply done “match 3 of a kind” fishing game where you have to match 3 of the same species of fish. Yeah, exciting stuff. Like previously mentioned, this is about the dad puns and the game nails that.
There are a good variety of dads to date, 7 in total, and each have their own interests, personalities, and personal life problems you can explore. The downside here is after the fairly short introduction to each character the game gives you the freedom to continue dating the dads you want, but only allows 2 dates and on the 3rd date that’s the dad you’re committing to. The dates consist of doing an activity the dad is into and there will be various times where you will be able to choose through some dialogue options and depending on your answer you will either turn the dad on or off. Turning them on results in a bunch of emoji hearts and eggplants (yeah we know what that means) to fly from them, indicating they liked your decision. Each date is graded and awarded “dad points” which mean nothing. Regardless of what happens on the date, once you choose that dad for a 3rd date it’s on to some hot man love. Which actually brings me to another disappointment, which may seem like an odd point, but there are only 2 opportunities to satisfy my carnal bear needs and it’s only with 1 of the dads.
The art style is really crisp, clean, and detailed with bright colors. I actually have no problems here since main characters and environments are so visually pleasing. However, besides an admittedly soothing and catchy main theme song, the rest of the sound design is pretty awful. There isn’t any actual voice acting, just random grunts, groans, and guffaws used to animate some of the reactions and these are pretty low quality. The various other sound effects aren’t very well done either, which distracts more than immerses. The dialogue is mostly stale besides the dad puns and a few standout story lines. I also found myself not agreeing with a lot of the player choices they allow you to pick from, but regardless of what I said they all wanted this daddy in the end.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a mediocre, short, and shallow visual novel experience whose only saving grace is its characters and dad puns. The dialogue choices are hit or miss and the mini games seem like last second add-ons to break up the monotony of some of the long, drawn out dialogue sections. I experienced a few good laughs with the puns, but the overall package disappoints and in no way swayed me towards the visual novel genre. At least it tried something new with the man beef content, which is something that isn’t really seen in the gaming industry and I gotta give them that.
Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.
Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is available now on Steam.