Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a romantic visual novel where you play as a Dad who gets to meet and go on dates with other dads, the title is pretty straight to the point. It's a dating sim that features mini games, multiple endings and a dad character creator where you get to customize your character. Although the story has some issues it does touch upon ideas about fatherhood and responsibility within its silly and charming exterior. Since Dream Daddy is the first game being developed and published by the Game Grumpsthere has been a lot of hype and anticipation for the game, is Dream Daddy the hot dad dating simulator we have all been waiting for?
You can buy Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator from Steam for £10.99
You and your daughter, Amanda, have moved to the quiet seaside town of Maple Bay where after attending a friendly neighborhood BBQ everyone you meet is a single hot daddy, what a surprise! After meeting all the dads, Amanda helps you join Dadbook, a social media platform where you can look at all the dads profiles and send them messages, let the dating commence. Each day you can message one of the dads and ask them the hangout and go on bro-brunches On these dates you get to know the other dad better, and through choosing different dialogue options can decide how successful the date it. After three dates with a particular dad, the story ending is decided depending on your date scores. If it all goes well then the two of you start being in a relationship, pretty standard dating simulator structure so let's get into the details.
The character’s in Dream Daddy are what makes the game so charming and fun to play. They all have interesting back stories, are well written and, you know, are all super hot. With the choice of seven different characters to pursue they are all completely unique. There's the cool hipster dad, the goth dad, the handsome brooding dad, all different types of personalities. Its characters are full of humor and it's fun choosing different dialogue choices to get their different reactions and the never ending torrent of dad jokes and puns.
What is interesting is that each father has their own struggles and issues regarding being a dad in some way. Being a great role-model, being responsible, disciplining your children and just trying to be a good parent. There are some touching scenes where your character and the dad your dating can have some quiet reflecting moments of fatherhood together. The theme of fatherhood is explored but there are some missed opportunities to explore other topics in greater depth.
Apart from one, all these datable dads are single meaning that they are either divorced are have been left a widower. Because the player only has three dates with any dad there isn’t enough time to explore any of the issues of being a single father or losing someone you cared for in great depth because there isn’t enough time. The game's length also affects the romance element of the game, because of only having three dates there isn’t much time to develop any sort of romantic build up. It pretty much all happens on the last part of the third date. There is too much bro-mance and not enough romance essentially.
This lack of meaningful connections is further exaggerated because of the relationship with your daughter Amanda is presented really well because you spend lots of time with her. She is funny, ambitious and everything you would be proud of in a teenage daughter. When she has problems with her friends or the pressures of college, the both of you talk about it creating a meaningful bond between the both of you. However, there is little to no interaction between your daughter and the men you are dating.
The game, again, could have addressed some interesting conflicts with a single parent who is dating. For example, what if your child doesn’t get along with your boyfriend’s kids or even the boyfriend himself. One of the men you can date is Amanda’s teacher but there is little conflict with this issue and is hardly addressed. Including a little more story in regards to the issue of being a single parent trying to date could have added more meaning to the game. It's understandable that
However, there is little to no interaction between your daughter and the men you are dating. The game, again, could have addressed some interesting conflicts with a single parent who is dating. For example, what if your child doesn’t get along with your boyfriend’s kids or even the boyfriend himself. One of the men you can date is Amanda’s teacher but there is little conflict with this issue and is hardly addressed. Including a little more story in regards to the issue of being a single parent trying to date could have added more meaning to the game. It's understandable that Dream Daddy is a casual dating simulator that doesn't take itself too seriously, buts it's a missed opportunity to explore these ideas that won’t be addressed in video games again anytime soon.
Even though the main story does lack depth there are rumors online that there is a secret ending to the game. This has been spurred on by an unattainable achievement that the devs have listed on Dream Daddy’s Steam page. Fans have gathered on the game’s Steam community board to discuss this supposed secret ending, trying to find clues within the story, reading into the game’s dialogue and some fans even dipping into the game's code to find clues.
After reading some of these theories and what the fans have come up with it is entirely possible that the developers of Dream Daddy have hidden a secret ending. In a similar way to the secret ending in the notorious romance visual novel Hatoful Boyfriend (which if you are a fan of the genre and haven't played, is a must) Dream Daddy has a darker side underneath its charming and loveable exterior. At the time this review has been written nothing has been released so far regarding a secret ending, but if there is then it would be a welcoming addition to the story and add some flavor to a sweet but mild narrative.
The game play in Dream Daddyis mainly focused on the dialogue choices you make when on dates with your chosen dad. The player has the choice of three dialogue options which get a certain reaction from your date. Choosing the right options can impress your date and little hearts will float up behind their avatar. Choosing the best answers will result in an explosion of twinkling hearts and aubergine emojis to burst out from their avatar (here’s hoping everyone can read into the aubergine emoji themselves). After the date, the player will receive a grade which will decide whether the two of you end up being together at the end of the game. These scores are a good indication of whether you are on the right path to getting together with that dad. If not you can just restart the date again and choose different options which is made easy due to the save system that lets you save and load games whenever you like.
To break up the text heavy sections there are mini games within the dates that are short and fun. They usually don’t have much of an influence on your date so are there for the silliness and enjoyment of the player. The game does have a problem with bugs and these mini games do have their fair share but these glitches don’t make the game unplayable. These should be amended with future updates from the developers and shouldn’t put off players who want to play the game.
One important thing to mention is that at the start of the game there is a screen where you can create your character or Dad-sona as the devs call it. There are limited options but its a nice touch to the game and makes the player feel more involved with the Dad they are playing. One particular option you can choose is your Dad’s body type in which the developers have included the option of wearing a binder which is a garment that is used to flatten chests. For many players who identify as transgender, this is greatly appreciated. Dream Daddy has shown that it's inclusive of different identities that can come with being a dad with this humbled option.
Graphics and Audio
Visually the game looks great, a colorful and bright art style that makes the world and its characters really pop. Both the dads and the backgrounds are all so vivid, it's a great looking game. The dad that you get to design at the beginning of the game has a slightly different style than the avatars of the other characters but it's only slightly noticeable. Regarding a soundtrack, the music Dream Daddy is quite repetitive using the same tracks for multiple different scenes. The tracks are could but it would have been nice to hear some variation. Although the Dream Daddy main theme is amazing, as dreamy and charming as the dads.
Dream Daddy is a fun and silly dating sim with heart. The time you have to get to know the dads is too short and there was room to go into more depth but it's a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is definitely room for improvement, but its decisions to be inclusive and not too in-your-face about it is admirable and the stories it tells about fatherhood are heart warming.
|+ Silly and good humored||– Needed more depth|
|+ Bright and colorful art style||– Glitches and bugs|
|+ Explored themes of fatherhood|