Dream Daddy Review: Delightfully Satisfying Game Even When It Breaks Your Heart

8.5
  • OS X
  • Windows
  • Simulator
2017-07-13
Dream Daddy
Mat is the cool dad in Dream Daddy. Dream Daddy

Dream Daddy: A Daddy Dating Simulator has a dad joke already written in its title. I’ll give you a second. Wait for it...still got nothing? Look at the first letter of each word and spell it out: DDADDS.

Dream Daddy is a dating simulator that allows you to make your own character or “Dadsona” to play the field with some fine dads. The art is bright, colorful -- so much pink you have to love it -- and perfect for the cheery tone. There are seven datable dads in the game, each with his own schtick and quirks. You’ve got Robert, a.k.a. Bad Dad, who offers to take you back to his place for a good time after a few drinks at the bar. Then there’s Brian, the big bear of a man who constantly brags about his genius child. There’s Mat, the dad who smokes weed with you and knows all cool bands. And so own.

You get two dates with each daddy before you must make a final decision. No one really makes a move on you until the third date, which means you’ve committed to that one character. Unless you date Robert. You can have sex with Robert any time if you want to hook up with someone and don’t care about the romance part. It won’t affect your dating status with the other dads in the game.

Like all games, Dream Daddy doesn’t come without faults, though “faults” isn’t the best word to describe what some may perceive as imperfections. For example, the writing for the characters can sort of blend together. Once you’ve gone on multiple dates with the different dads, you notice they all have a similar way of speaking to your Dadsona.

Dream Daddy
Filling out your Dadbook profile is fun. Photo: Dream Daddy

Essentially, all the dads at one point fall into this pit of nervous rambling while sprinkling self-deprecating comments about themselves. They acknowledge their nervousness, blush and eggplant emojis fill your screen. Because all the dads have that nervous tone, their individual voices and personalities can blur together if you’re binging the game. You can go from reading Craig to Mat to Joseph to Brian’s dialogue and forget who you’re dating.

But the nervous dialogue doesn’t detract from what makes Dream Daddy special. The more I played Dream Daddy, the more I found myself thinking isn’t supposed to work. Just the dad jokes alone can get corny and most dating simulators fall into the tropey will-they-or-won’t-they mess that make them hard to play. But it’s the little nuances in each Dad’s story that make you fall in love with the game. There’s complexity in the story lines and these characters aren’t just fulfilling some trash fan service. It’s quite the opposite and genuinely portrays a wholesome dating experience.

Dream Daddy
Joseph is a lot more complex than you'd think. Photo: Dream Daddy

Let’s take Joseph, for example. He’s a youth minister who mentors the kids in his neighborhood. You meet Joseph’s wife, Mary, at the local hole-in-the-wall bar. You question her as a mother for being blatantly drunk in public and not even trying to hide her flirtatious behavior. If you go the Joseph route, you start to feel for him having to deal with Mary’s issues and the children.

But then you learn Joseph isn’t a saint, either. He might do his best to be a good guy, but he lets the pressures of life get to him. He hasn’t been faithful to his wife and it’s contributed to the rockiness of their marriage. While it seems like you’ve made a genuine connection with Joseph and he might want to be with you, he’ll try to do what he thinks is right in the end. It’s not a cookie-cutter clean ending.

Dream Daddy
So many zaddies. Photo: Dream Daddy

Then you have Robert, who I’ll admit I judged too hastily due to my own disdain over the girl-thinks-she-can-fix-bad-boy-if-she-loves-him cliche. Even when playing Robert’s story, the developers switch to ominous music that’ll make you think he’s going to slay you with something other than his dick. But if you stick with it and reject Robert’s physical advances, you learn he is at fault for his own loneliness and despair for reasons that don’t immediately come to mind. What Robert needs is truly sweet and realistic. His “good” ending is one of the best in the game.

Then there are characters like Craig, who’s an active Dad both physically and emotionally in his children’s lives. He’s running around making sure their needs are cared for and being involved in their interests. He finds he’s neglecting himself by not making time to have fun and let loose. It’s not until your Dadsona comes around where he realizes maybe he’s wound up too tightly and needs someone to bring more joy into his life.

This is way Dream Daddy is wholesome. It’s not about giving people happy endings that feel cheap and predictable. It’s about creating stories and memorable moments players can relate to. Dream Daddy manages to break the well-worn cliches and tropes dating simulators tend to fall into to create an enjoyable experience. You’ll be crushing on these characters even if they break your heart in the end.

Dream Daddy is now available on Steam for PC and Mac users.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Dream Daddy
8.5
Delightfully Satisfying Game Even When It Breaks Your Heart
This is way Dream Daddy is wholesome. It’s not about giving people happy endings that feel cheap and predictable. It’s about creating stories and memorable moments players can relate to. Dream Daddy manages to break the well-worn cliches and tropes dating simulators tend to fall into to create an enjoyable experience.
  • surprisingly wholesome
  • each dad has a lot of depth
  • creating your dadsona is fun
  • dialogue between dads can feel similar
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