Written by jin0uga, edited by Otaku Apologist
Dream Daddy, a gay visual novel developed and published by Game Grumps. Released on July 21, 2017. Download on Steam for $14.99. For PC Windows, Mac OS and Linux. No voice acting. No visible genitals.
Your character’s significant other has just died. You and your daughter uproot and move into a new neighborhood to escape the painful memories. There, you meet seven gorgeous Dads who are either conveniently single, or in a bad marriage. Navigate your new life in this cul-de-sac and juggle between friendships, romance and your teenage daughter.
A large focus of the game revolves around your relationship with your daughter. You get to experience first hand the hurdles of parenthood. Your verbal exchanges with the daughter are witty and fun to read. However, the amount of banter can go overboard. I came here to romance hot men, but found myself always talking to a teenaged girl about shit like social anxiety and college.
The writing for the game takes time to get used to. The story is rife with internet humour and hipster dialogue. There’s a ton of references. Depending on your sense of humour, Dream Daddy will either be very fun for you, or a total snooze fest.
The characters aren’t what they seem. They seem like walking tropes, but when you get to know them, they sidestep your initial impressions. Take Joseph. I expected him to be well adjusted, but going on dates with him results in some truly surprising angst.
After you’ve taken your chosen Dad on three dates, you unlock his ending. Unfortunately, the various endings are open-ended. The story arc for each Dad is written well, but the endings aren’t satisfying. There are no repercussions for two-timing your main squeeze. The endings are bland, like nothing is resolved. The sexiest thing you get to do is kiss a guy.
The player character Dad has a fun personality. I expected a blank self-insert character, but he turned out to be relatable. He’s a try-hard, but his earnestness is pleasant.
Amanda is your in-game daughter. Her dry humor absolutely hits the spot. She’s not the most accurate depiction of a teenager.
There are seven hot dads to choose from. Joseph is your neighbour. He’s your typical suburban Dad, friendly to a fault. He dresses like he’s primed to play a round of golf, with a soft blue knit sweater wrapped around his shoulders.
Craig is your college bro. He was once a total mess, but he’s since cleaned up his act. He’s ripped, jogs regularly and has kids, but he still talks like a frat boy. In my humble opinion, Craig is best Dad.
Mat runs the hipster coffee shop near your new home. Like you, he’s a connoisseur of bad puns.
Robert looks the part of a rough and tumble biker. Always in his hardcore leather jacket, he spends his time at bars.
Brian is easily identified by his bulging belly. Everything he owns is slightly better than yours, and his daughter is an overachiever. He’s jolly like Santa Claus, but has a competitive streak.
Hugo is your daughter’s English teacher. He’s always suited up for the occasion, but doesn’t know how to deal with edgy teenagers.
Damien is a broody man with a love for Victorian era outfits. He looks the part of a modern day Dracula with his dark suit and long, flowy hair. Ironically, he’s a vegetarian.
Dream Daddy has gorgeous art. The style is blatantly western. Character designs are fantastic. All seven Dads have their unique styles. They are pretty damn hot, and pleasant on the eyes. Their character sprites only have one or two pose variations. Characters have one outfit, which are plenty good looking, matching their characters perfectly.
Backgrounds are easy on the eyes. There’s a large variety of places you visit. Most importantly, they match the style of the character sprites. The interiors of each Dad’s house and public spaces are crisp and detailed. The park has benches, swing sets, and a large playground.
The game uses a bright pastel colour palette for its backgrounds, while character sprites get more solid colours. It makes the sprites stand out, while the backgrounds look soft and welcoming. Shadows are likewise heavier on characters but softer on the backgrounds.
Dream Daddy is a visual novel. Clicking the textbox advances the story. Once you finish the prologue, you can choose which Dad to romance via Dadbook. When you’re on a date, try and select the correct dialogue choices to get closer to your man.
There are mini-games peppered throughout the game. They act as palette cleansers that break up the monotony of reading. In your first meeting with Brian, you two engage in a pokemon-esque battle. The graphics change to grayscale to mimic old Pokémon games. In another date, you get to play golf.
My favourite thing about the game is its minimalistic user interface. It’s pleasant to look at and navigate. However, this minimalist approach has a bad effect on the save/load system. Instead of showing all your saves on a large menu, they are crammed into a single list. Scrolling down to find the right save is ridiculously archaic. You also can’t overwrite your old saves. Each time you save, a new file is created.
SOUND EFFECTS AND VOICE ACTING (SFX)
The game has no voice acting. There are character noises, in the form of grunts, scoffs and laughter. These sounds make the game more immersive, but the clips are overused. The biggest offender is your daughter, Amanda. The noises she makes can be distracting. Luckily, she was a decent character, so I didn’t mind the minor annoyances.
The game has minimal sound effects. Navigating the menu plays a chirpy noise. Character actions don’t get a sound effect. In place of a voice, a sound effect is played whenever the textbox is filled with new text.
The opening song is a calming tune mixed with piano and synthesized drums. A gentle voice croons the title of the game, over and over. Dream Daddy is all about the sugar, not hardcore porn.
Most of the music takes after the art and style of writing. It’s cheerful, mimicking the aesthetic of retro game tracks. One song which plays early in the game perfectly embodies the spirit of Dream Daddy. It’s a bouncy track, and sounds as if it was made by hitting random keys on the keyboard. No acoustic instruments were used. It simply uses a set of sound effects to create a simple rhythm.
The rare, broody song plays whenever Robert, the Dad in leather, shows up. You’re treated to the shred of an electric guitar. It’s accompanied by acoustic drums and the strum of a guitar. The song is mysterious, a nice change of pace from the rest of the soundtrack.
There is no hentai in this game. It’s unfortunate, I’d love to see the characters fuck each other. You get a tiny dose of suggestive text once you successfully romance a Dad, but nothing explicit.
Dream Daddy is an inoffensive, non-erotic gay dating romp full of internet humour. There’s nothing here to get your dick hard. If you’re looking for an emotional visual novel on being a gay man, you won’t find it here. This game is all happy endings and rainbow farts for miles. It’s a fun meme game that will make you laugh at itself.