We’re very eager for Boyfriend Dungeon, a roguelike slash visual novel hybrid that combines fighting alongside dating. Our preview of the game explained some of the best features: kissing swords, going out on dates, the fact that Isaac and Valeria exist… But there’s one feature in Boyfriend Dungeon that stands out even moreso than the inclusive character creator.
As a wielder – someone who can’t turn into a sword, but is very good at using one – that’s just moved to Verona Beach for the summer, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve got to do everything by yourself. But nope, it turns out your cousin Jesse will not only be there to help you get by, but you’re also living in his old place until the summer ends – with no payment of rent necessary! That’s nice! Jesse is, for the most part, the familiar face that ties you back to your childhood together and he is just a text message away.
But Jesse isn’t the only one who helps comfort you when you need it, you also have your Mom…or you don’t.
Let me explain. After character creation, the game’s respect for the player and their experience truly shines through by asking quite a simple question: do you want to have supportive texts from your mother throughout the journey? During my time with the preview of Boyfriend Dungeon, I got the chance to play it differently. In one playthrough I had my mother’s supportive texts, and in the other I didn’t.
The difference? Almost nothing really, there’s no meaningful discussion with anyone about it. But this feature actively made my experience with Boyfriend Dungeon 100x times better because I didn’t have to constantly face the anxiety of a mother figure breathing down my neck 24/7. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a mother figure that loves you, but from my own experiences, it felt a bit like a slap in the face that I don’t really want to deal with.
Strained familial relationships is something that some in the LGBTQ+ community can relate to, either because of their gender and sexuality or simply because our family figures don’t understand who we truly are. And while I don’t doubt for a second that for some players a loving mother stand-in will help them, I can’t relate to that at all. So with that in mind, I really appreciate that Kitfox Games decided that while they could have left the loving mother in regardless, to centralize and add more to the protagonist’s character, the happiness and safety of their players is simply more important. I respect that a hell of a lot.
And besides, who needs a mother figure when you’ve got a sword to kiss? Am I right or am I right?