Is your computer running? Yes? Well you’d better go catch it!! Ba Dum Tsh!
Aaaahh the dad joke. A high level skill only truly acquired upon attaining fatherhood and only mastered once your kids are old enough to be embarrassed by you. No kid will roll their eyes harder at you than your own offspring. My son isn’t quite there yet, age-wise, but he does lovingly humor his father with a weary side glance every now and then.
Dream Daddy took the art of dad jokes and bad puns and whipped them into a story of witty dialogue and colorful gameplay. To be honest this game sat a total of zero months/weeks/days in my backlog since I started playing it the same day I bought it. My wife had been eyeballing this title for quite some time since it was released on Steam last July and the hype surrounding it was impossible to avoid, making it tough to put off buying it right out the gate. We were knee deep into a few other games and both felt that $15 was a little steep ( I know! I know!) for an indie game on the PC at the time, so we decided to hold off in hopes of one of those legendary Steam sales. Alas, it was not to be…or maybe we just missed out I have no idea really, but we ended up paying full price. That’s fine though, not every game needs to be obtained through a deal. As I stated in one of my earlier posts, retail is not a dirty word if it’s something you really want.
One of the reasons I, personally, was drawn the this game was that the developers were none other than the Game Grumps. Who, to my knowledge anyway, were a group of YouTubers that did let’s plays and other silly, usually video game related, videos. Cool! It’s always nice to see genuine gamers breaking into the gaming industry and with a knockout hit no less. I’ve always enjoyed the humor in their videos and it definitely shined through in Dream Daddy. Plus, we of the Pixel Bites household are always down for a unique spin on a dating sim/visual novel. We played the heck out of it, but was it worth the wait?
Without further ado let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this dad dating simulator.
The cover art for the game looks fairly typical for an American made dating sim game. Big bubbly script and hearts with a few of the love interests on display. Nothing much fancy going on there other than giving you a sample of the great character art you have to look forward to should you decide to give the game a try. Also, the title of Dream Daddy could be misleading for sure. Like a sugar daddy?? Am i going to be trolling for some rich old guy to foot my bills? That’s not very romantic! But no, the well placed “A Dad Dating Simulator” should assuage your confusion.
You’ll just be attempting to woo other dads…wait….now I’m a homewrecker? Also no, well for the most part anyway. You are a single dad who just moved into a new town where all your neighbors are conveniently (mostly) single dads that are open for either friendship or romance. I say “mostly” as one of the dads is in fact still married to his wife, albeit unhappily, but thats all part of that character’s particular storyline. Not everything is so peachy keen in the town of Maple Bay. Given the right dialogue choices each character will eventually warm up to you enough to tell you their tragic tale of single dadhood.
All the characters, dateable or otherwise, are drawn with an amazing attention to detail and it would seem that their personalities were given that same consideration. Everyone is unique and well thought out. The background art on the other hand….not so much. My wife said they reminded her of those old computer crayola click and paint coloring pages and I think she hit the nail on the head. I get that you aren’t supposed to be really paying too much attention to the backgrounds as they are kind of irrelevant, but the discrepancy between the quality of the character art and the background art was disappointing at best. The music in the game is elevator-ish, but its not at all annoying or repetitive. One of the dateable dads takes you to a concert where you listen to a song from an actual Canadian punk band called PUP which was definitely a neat addition. The song was catchy enough for me to seek them out on YouTube for a post gameplay listen.
Now, all the dads are good looking guys covering a wide range of tropes from “Coffee Shop Hipster Dad” to “Super Religious, Locked in a Loveless Marriage Dad” to “Burly, Bearded, Good at All Things Manly Dad”. On the other hand, you “The Nerd”… I mean “Dad Everyone Totally Wants to Date”…*cough* you get to be witty as ole heck, but pleasing to the eye you are not. The character creator really only gives you hokey choices for choosing your character’s appearance and try as I may I couldn’t create any dude that didn’t make me cringe every time his picture popped up next to the dialogue text box. It’s kinda reminiscent of the whole character art vs background art discrepancy. My character is shoddy and weird while the other characters are all streamlined and sexy-like. It just ruined the mood for me personally. Perhaps I just relate to the MC’s personality on too deep a level with his self professed nerdy, introvert personality. What can I say? I’m a Beta male strong and proud!
Your daughter, Amanda, is a chip off the ole block except she’s, you know, much cooler and has confidence abound. I really liked how she was as much a part of the story progression as the other dads. You need to make the right dialogue choices in order to properly nurture your already healthy relationship with her. In turn she helps you out greatly with your dad quest of making new friends and budding romances. She’s going off to college soon and wants to make sure you won’t be left alone to your own devices *sniff*…So proud.
The Dadbook app is something you are presented with after meeting each of the dads and it’s basically a way for you to communicate with them and ask them on Man-Dates. Clicking on each of their pictures will give you all their likes and dislikes to help you in making the right dialogue choices. You make your own profile as well, but for the most part your info is of no relevance. Its cool….my feelings don’t matter…..*sniff*. You can date each guy twice before you are forced to make your final decision for who you’d like to attempt to make your one and only dream daddy. I say attempt because there are multiple ending possibilities based on how you ranked on each date. You can end up as just friends or new partners. Or if you’re feeling rebellious or are just really terrible at reading people’s emotions you can end up a big, alone, sad sack
Unlike HuniePop, another dating game I reviewed a while ago, the end goal of Dream Daddy is not sex. Sure, there are some suggestions and a few text only moments where sex is involved, but there’s no racy cuts scenes or pictures. This game focuses largely on cultivating honest, caring relationships with not only dreamy daddys, but your daughter as well. R rated content would have detracted from the whole feel good ambiance of the story. So maybe those eggplants and “drop” emojis that flood the screen when you impress a character are super suggestive….but also straight up hilarious.
One of my favorite things in the whole game was the mini games you played on various dates. Each one was different and based off of familiar puzzle games we’ve all played in a million other places. These, on the other hand, were all made relevant to whatever particular activity you were engaged in on your date. A fishing date with Brian involved a match three fish puzzle. On an aquarium date with Hugo you play a swiping mini game that blocks penguins from escaping their exhibit. Your first date with Damien you accidentally break one of his garden statues and have to scramble to puzzle it back together. A lot of people actually complain about the mini games since each one is tied to an achievement, but aside from Brian’s notorious mini putt mini game I easily popped the achievements for each game with no problems at all. I found them to be a nice break from just clicking and reading during each date. And honestly, where HuniePop brutally punished you for making even the most miniscule of mistakes, Dream Daddy gives you a big Care Bear hug and says “Its ok that you let seven penguins escape! Here, have an S rank!”. Your mini game score does affect the end date rank you receive, so I can understand people getting frustrated if the mini games are giving them a hard time, but come on people!… Every good relationship needs a little elbow grease!
One complaint I do want to make, and this is a very common one apparently, is that the developers apparently took out an ending in Joseph’s storyline, but left the achievement. There is literally no way to 100% complete this game achievement-wise. Now, I’m not a huge completionist by any means. If I really like a game or the achievements are easy enough I will usually do my best to get them all, but for a game to be straight up uncompletable….that’s RE-DONK-U-LOUS. I imagine for most people that’s not that big of a deal, and really it doesn’t detract from the game itself in any way. I would still highly recommend Dream Daddy to anyone. Just because you can’t 100% your ‘cheevo list doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to 100% open up your heart with some adorable daddy fun.
Don’t be shy! Who’s your Dream Daddy? Were the minigames dreams or nightmares?