In my post about Little Red Lie I said the next game I would cover was going to be Dream Daddy. Well, I’ve been playing it. Short review, it’s amazing but with some serious flaws.
Dream Daddy starts out with your character moving to a cul-de-sac on the other side of town. You’re single, and there are seven dads to date. It is not only about romancing dads, it’s also about what being dad entails. As you interact with other dads, you also see how they raise their kids in comparison to your daughter, Amanda.
I love that this is a positive game about gay (and possibly trans) romance. Being gay and transgendered can be hot topics, and Dream Daddy handles it pretty tactfully. Rather then diving down the rabbit hole of discrimination, it treats these topics as something routine in everyday life (which is how it should be). I’ve seen some fans disappointed that it doesn’t go more in depth into these issues, but I’m in Dream Daddy’s corner on this one. The tone is easygoing, lighthearted, and fun. It’s not looking to be a critique of society or what being gay is, and I’m okay with that. Rather the game opts to be inclusive without raising a fuss. I think this is something we need.
Where Dream Daddy really shines is in the writing and character chemistry. Little Red Lie had great writing about nihilism and society. This story on the other hand is the complete opposite. It’s a story about relationships and parenting. The writing is sincere and humorous in a way most video games wish they could be. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, with your main character being an awkward dad who just wants to make friends. There are interactions with the other awkward dads, and wise-cracking children. As an example, Robert, one of the dateable dads, often tells hilarious over-the top stories with a straight face. When someone responds with shock, he lets them he’s kidding, then add, “Or am I?”. There is humor in even the small details, with the shows your character watches on TV making fun of “reality” television. The game also has some well-done emotional moments as well. Even though I’m not a dad, I was really into the story and cared about the characters. Every single character in Dream Daddy is well-written, with their own personalities, wants, and interests. I liked all the characters.
Another feature I enjoy is the option to fast-forward dialogue in the first playthrough. I feel like this game understands people are going to watch this on youtube, and not want to reread dialogue they just watched. Not having to complete the game to skip text is something more visual novels should do.
However, for all my praise, it feels like the game should have spent a bit longer in development. It’s pretty short for a $15 dollar game. Dream Daddy only has you go on three dates with each dad, making it a bit rushed for developing a full-fledged relationship. Some of the routes feel shallow and forced. I feel they could have fleshed this part of the game out more.
There’s a lack of direction in the game as well. I have all these questions. How do I finish the game? Do I go on two dates with all the other dads then choose the one? Do I just date the dad I like three times in a row? Do I really have to date the married one? Dating married men just feels wrong to me. On top of that, there are several awful mini-games that look and play like rejects from Newgrounds. Adding to the unpleasantness, these games typically don’t have instructions. Maybe the charm is in bumbling to success, but I personally did not enjoy these mini-games.
The game is also buggy. Nothing game-breaking, but smalls things including characters art staying on screen and achievements not working properly. If nothing else, the game needed to be in development longer to iron these out.
I liked this game, but $15 dollars is a little steep for what you get. I recommend getting this on sale in a few months after the game is hopefully a bit more polished.