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Dream Daddy PC game review: Great art can't save this gay dad dating sim

Dream Daddy is a new visual novel to hit Steam that focuses on the story of a father who moves house with his teenage daughter called Amanda. After enduring the passing of her mother, it's time to locate the Dream Daddy.

Dream Daddy
(Image: © Game Grumps)

Visual novels remain to be a popular escape for those who enjoy interactive stories. They are effectively the result of fusing together gameplay with an e-book. Dream Daddy is another one of these games, but instead of focusing on something more fantastical or sci-fi, it's a rather relaxed story of a gay (or bi) father attempting to find a partner after dealing with the death of the mother (or adopted father) of his daughter.

As you may have already concluded just looking at the name, it's essentially a gay dad dating simulator, and it's a pretty good take on the idea.

Dads unite

The first thing you'll immediately notice from the get go is the art style. It's fantastic. Everything from the menu screen to the creation tool, scenes to the characters themselves, the developers did a stellar job with the visuals. Everything is kept simple, which focuses all attention on the story and characters currently on screen. As a visual novel (VN), this is incredibly important and is something I found lacking in other VNs whereby you found yourself distracted by the user interface or other elements that cluttered the screen.

After creating a new game, you're taken to the character creator where you can build the main protagonist. In my initial playthrough, I opted for a Johnny Bravo look, thanks to the character's default generation reminding me of the muscle-touting Cartoon Network God. After completing this step and starting the main storyline, we're introduced to Amanda, the daughter. Amanda gets a lot of screen time, especially given that this is meant to be a dad dating simulator, but Amanda gives us a lot of insights into the main character, complete with great art and writing.

Dream Daddy

And that's reflected throughout the VN, where each character has their own unique personality and back story, leading to a more immersive world.

Each potential date looks, sounds, and behaves completely differently. Throw in some humorous dialog, nods to other games, cultural references, and you'll find yourself on an entertaining ride. Be warned, though, if you don't enjoy puns (or dad humor) then you may grow tired of this game.

Once you've started, everything acts pretty much as a standard VN. You click to progress through dialog, make some choices, play through some mini-games and eventually settle down with one of the potential mates.

One complaint I do have with the art style is the look of the main character. I'm not sure if this is because they're utilizing a character creation system, but the art work looks rather flat compared to other characters. You really do look out of place when others are in view, which is a shame.

My God, it's full of dads

Dream Daddy

The game itself has a strange aura surrounding it. Immediately, you're provided the impression that this is simply a lighthearted approach to telling a story which celebrates LGBT pride and its community. But at points, it could be viewed as a little condescending. Sure, the Dad puns are well and all but take the character creator, for example, it's a little weak and has limited options that almost feel bolted on without much thought.

While I applauded the writing for Amanda's dialogue and other characters you'll meet as the story progresses, for a VN overall it's pretty weak. This isn't helped by the fact you'll need to play through the game multiple times for the different endings that can be achieved. In total, there is a total of seven dads you can choose from to date. To see everything the game has to offer, you'll have to play through what is ultimately an unsatisfying story multiple times.

Dream Daddy

Puns. Puns are everywhere!

Another problem I found with the game is the options screen or, well, lack thereof. There's a menu entry to view the options window, but since there are only two options to configure, it's almost pointless including it. Music and streaming options are included, but I would have liked to see other options for text speed, auto progress, etc. These are already found in many other VNs, so I feel like it's a rather strange omission.

Without spoiling things, as progression is made, it also becomes apparent that your choices don't really have consequences. Sure, there are bad endings out there, and you can mess it up with your chosen dad, but when multiple choice windows appear, it's difficult to see how these make an impact on the story aside from altering a few numbers in the backend.

Dream Daddy

Forget the dad jokes

The question is: should you buy Dream Daddy? It's a difficult question to answer. The art is fantastic, no complaints there (aside from the main character). The story is mediocre at best but is helped by having some solid characters.

Dream Daddy

The choices, sadly, don't feel very impactful, which is another negative for a VN, but the number of endings and diverse options of dads available to date do make a notable difference.

Pros:

  • A unique release.
  • Stunning art design.
  • Interesting array of characters.
  • Solid user interface.

Cons:

  • Rubbish options.
  • Strange character creation.
  • Story is mediocre and short.

At $14.99, it's a tough sell. I'd say hold off for a sale, but if you love VNs and are in the market for such a dating simulator, it may be worth picking up.

See at Steam

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

34 Comments
  • Hmmm...social justice BS thinly disguised as a product review (rolls eyes)...yup, continuing the Windows Central theme of articles having nothing to do with WINDOWS LOL
  • Get over your homophobia, bigot.
  • Just because you dont agree with somthing does not you're afraid of it libtard. I hope the LGBTQ dies.
  • Just because it has the word "phobia" in it doesn't imply fear. There are words that take on meanings beyond what they literally seem to indicate. Asking Bing to define homophobia led to "dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people." More often than not, contempt is inspired by internal fear. And even if it isn't, your comment about hoping "the LGBTQ dies" shows how bigoted, hateful, and homophobic you are. The only thing that needs to die is hatred.
  • @Centrally Windows  For the record, phobia literally means "panic fear of". Although the term homophobia has become a perjorative term for people that hate homosexuals, it's truly unfortunate because true phobias can be horribly debilitating for people dealing with them.  As a scientist and medical professional, I dislike it when any word is diluted or twisted or changed to mean something it's not. You might very well be accurate when you say someone is bigoted or hateful against homosexuals, but a phobia (ironically) is not a choice and it must be diagnosed. When we use so much hyperbole in our discussions, it has the opposite intended effect and waters down our arguments and their accuracy.
  • Not quite frett.   Phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Aversion: a strong dislike or disinclination.   Next time you want to correct someone there's 2 things to remember.   1. Have a point, a valid one at that. 2. Don't. You're not capable of having a cogent argument.        
  • I was referring to the original Greek where phobia comes from.  I'm not sure why you responded so aggressively.  My point was to be accurate when using terms that should be reserved for people with actual medical conditions.  It's similar to calling someone "retarded" because you are trying to insult them.  That's highly offensive because there are individuals who are mentally disabled (retarded) and cannot control that condition.  Unless you are a licensed professional, you should not be going around calling people homophobic, any more than you should say someone is retarded. And for the record I was not arguing. I was simply attempting to clarify the definition of a medical term.  I have no problem with anyone calling someone a bigot or whatever, but save the armchair diagnoses to the professionals.
  • Nobody here was speaking in Greek, so complaining that they were not using the term 'phobia' correctly is irrelevant.  Homophobia is absolutely the correct term to label someone who has an aversion or fear of homosexuals.  He responded 'aggressively' as you put it because you were wrong and were dissembling in an attempt to obscure the fact that this term was technically and logically correct. I am aware that some snowflakes have a problem with being labeled accurately.  That is really not the rest of society's problem.
  • Classic closet case... Say hello to Mr Tumnus and Aslam for me! Hope you one day come to terms with yourself.
  • I find it interesting and revealing that people like you, who insist there's nothing wrong with homosexuality, are ALWAYS the first to use it as an insult.
  • Quite aside from the fact I was being genuine, that level of hatred coupled with the hyper masculine screen name has to come from somewhere... I choose my insults based on their targets, it doesn't matter if I think it's bad, if you think it's bad it will be effective. I do believe in equality, but care very little for political correctness... Offence is taken, not given.
  • Wait, so you wish death on people you don't like? There's only one of us that's a complete retard and that's you. Piss off mental midget.    
  • Hmmm...homophobia thinly disguised as a comment from a crying snowflake (rolls eyes)...yup, continuing the Eryker theme of comments having nothing to do with WINDOWS LOL
  • The word pobia has lost all meaning thanks to the left. Today's outrage culture everyone is either a naz-i, pobia or ist of some kind. Sigh
  • I didn't know "pobia" was a meaningful word to begin with. :P More seriously, really? As if English never had words that have meanings beyond a literal face value before "the left."
  • I think it's a large sandwich in America... Or was that a poboy?
  • Being from the home of that large sandwich... I can confirm that its PoBoy. =P
  • Ryzama you win 3rd place in the stupid comment contest. Right behind bozo 1 and bozo 2 (SnipingNinjaX1 and eryker. SnipingDouche took 1st for his ridiculous want of genocide.)
  • I wasn't defending the die comment moron, I was commenting on the new outrage culture that reacts with hysteria to anyone that disagrees with current 'progressive' narritive. If you don't think the left contains outrage culture that is self imploding, you sir deserve the stupid award above all.
  • I didn't say you were. I said you won 3rd place for stupid comments. Illiteracy must make life rough on you.
  • After years of the left being smeared by the right it amazes me how quickly the right became crying snowflakes when people stopped dancing around thier racism, misogyny and homophobia and worried more about their victims than unrepenetant alt-righters feelings.
  • You do realize this game was made by the Game Grumps, right? It started as a joke, after Danny and Arin played a crappy flash game about a kid that feels in love with his best friend's father. In fact, a couple of the dads are designed after other youtubers; Craig is based off Markiplier, for example. And I'm sure the thick one is based on the one from Yogcast.
  • thick one is totally based on me imo
  • I can see that. Sadly I have yet to meet somebody that looks like a character from "Hatoful Boyfriend"...
  • Sadly?
  • It's a joke. The romance options in HatofulBoyfriend are... pigeons.   Fricking pigeons.
  • I don't care what angle you're coming from, straight, gay, etc. but i don't get these kind of games. Dating sims? i'd literally rather clean my kitchen. 
  • Kitchen cleaning sim to follow.
  • i'm sure it'd sell like crazy! 
  • Wait til the gay dad kitchen cleaning DLC pack drops. Nothing but dollar signs.
  • Honestly, a visual novel of any sort has to be really good for me to be hooked myself. Despite the fact that I very much am interested in Dream Daddy...Mediocre stories are quite off-putting and can't hold my interest. It's hard for me to see the allure of a visual novel, without the compelling novel to back up the appealing designs.
  • So if I got it right, main character's wife dies and then he turns gay and starts dating dream daddies? That's so messed up! TIP: If you want to play some game in which you can actually use your brain, then I'd suggest Eu4 or HOI, or if you're for the challenge: Victoria 2. Or read a book ;) 
  • Actually in the game you have the option to make the MC's deceased spouse a man or a woman, but if you do pick a wife as the spouse then it means the MC is bisexual (yes bisexual men exist). There are also comments made in the story that suggest that the MC had a thing for his old college roommate Craig so it isn't a case of "all of a sudden likes men because the story requires it."
  • First of all, I'm gay and I'm into sexy men with goodlooking body, so homophobes f*** off we don't need your social commentary. Second: why am I reading this on WindowsCentral? Lame software. Lame character design. Lame gameplay. Lame article. Lame lame lame. ps: I'm in a very happy and monogamous relationship so please be ashamed of yourself when you'll send me pictures of you sexy daddies. BE ASHAMED.