Dating simulators. We've all tried one, something from Japan that an indie developer put together where it's still-frame animations of characters looking way hotter than they would in real life. Having extra long conversations where you get to know them before you play a mini-game in the hopes of dating them. Possibly seeing scantily clad versions of them in swimsuits. Basically, a 90-hour game of reading with puzzles and choices all to see all the animation. Sometimes they're fun, but can very predictable. What wasn't was seeing the Game Grumps create, develop and produce their own game (Created by Leighton Gray and by Vernon Shaw, formerly of Hot Pepper Gaming), where they make fun of the genre in the most awkward way possible in Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator.
Dream Daddy puts you in the role of a widowed father taking care of his teenage daughter who is applying to colleges. You've recently moved back to an old town you used to live in, but now it's time to get back out there and make new "friends." And by friends, we mean you've decided to start sleeping with men. We won't spoil the finer details of the story, that's for you to discover. Along with your daughter, you meet new neighbor dads, old friends, and a variety of characters as the town just happens to be populated with dozens of hot dads. For animated characters, they're will done and every one of them has a different personality. So whether you're into athletic men, brooding men, tattooed men, smart men, or average all around — there's a dad in here for you.
The goal of Dream Daddy is pretty simplistic: Meet everyone and find a special connection in the group. As you chat with people you'll be presented with options of how the conversation can go. You'll be given prompts on the screen and can pick what to do, which will change the conversation and make the daddy you're chatting with more or less appealing to you, or perhaps they'll be turned off by your choices. If you succeed you'll see hearts flutter out from behind the character and you'll be able to progress in a much more romantic fashion.
The choices, while funny, become a bit stagnant. There's no way to really turn people off from you permanently and make them enemies. Or at least as far as we got with the game. It isn't a major deal breaker, and it isn't the first dating sim to make it so that everyone is on friendly terms of some sort. But I do kind of miss that ability where there are just some people in games who don't end up liking you no matter what you do, because that's a factor in life. There are people you will meet all the time that don't like you for whatever reason just because you said hello. I'm hopeful down the road that I can experience that, but it seems like a missing factor that should be here regardless of choice.
Here's what's holding the game back from having a perfect score: Much like other games in the same genre, it starts to become annoying after 30 minutes of exposition. I totally love the humor, the awkward situations, the over-the-top conversations that no one has in real life. That's all great. But after a while, like many games of this nature, I just want the talking to be over and get to the meat of the game which is choosing the dad. The long, long, looooooooong time it takes you to get there, while accurate to the genre, is ridiculous and it would have been great if at some point they broke the fourth wall and acknowledged how dumb it is.
Dream Daddy is a great dating simulator game, but primarily for the laughs. You can tell a lot of heart went into this game, both to highlight the best of the genre while also making it as funny as they possibly could. The Game Grumps, especially Vernon Shaw, deserve a lot of praise for this title. Even though it drags on like every dating sim does, its worth your time to check it out, especially if you're a fan of their work. Go find your dream daddy today.