Hey Blerdy Tribe!! It’s Monday once again and I want to kick off the week with some melanin friendly games! If this is your first time here at Blerdy Otome, welcome!
Every Monday I spotlight video games that focus on stories surrounding more diverse casts of characters—for folks like me looking for a bit more representation in their games. Video games are for everyone, so shouldn’t their stories and characters be just as diverse as the people that play them? So I created this series to celebrate games that strive to tell much more diverse stories centering on Black and Brown individuals. But, I welcome all diversity and the series has expanded to include games featuring LGBTQIA rep and characters from other underrepresented groups.
So, if you’re interested in seeing previous Melanin Friendly Games posts, click HERE. This week, I’m spotlighting the upcoming resource management indie otome game, Boyfriend Dungeon, from Kitfox Games.
You move into your cousin’s old apartment, rent-free for the summer. Plus, he’ll help you solve your little problem… you’ve never been on a date in your life!
To get some confidence and meet people, plus earn a little cash, you’re tasked with clearing the creatures in “the dunj”. Soon you discover weapons you find transform into cuties… and they’re SINGLE! (What a craaazy coincidence because you also happen to be up for grabs yourself.) But someone’s abducting weapons and leaving them damaged in the dungeon! Who could do such a thing? Will you solve the blade-napping mystery? Will you find love? Or, friendship, at least?
Craft gifts for your bae blades and give them when the time is right, whether it’s in the dunj or out on the town. After all, a couple that slays together, stays together.
-Official Game Description
Plunder the dunj as you fend off dangerous monsters and take your weapons on romantic dates. Woo your weapons in this flirty, playful, and welcoming world filled with mastery in the procedurally generated dungeon. Serving up a dose of summer-time fling nostalgia, take your dates out as you uncover their stories and level them up. Embark on blossoming relationships with your weapon cuties as you capture their hearts in friendship and in love. In this light-hearted, fantastical shack-and-slash filled with adventure, improve your skills and fend off the monsters together because the couple that slays together, stays together.
Date them all without a care, you polyarmourous dual-wielder, or just be best friends. Either way, you can reach max Love Rank, because platonic love is also real love. (Besides, you can’t be romantic with the cat anyway. Calm down.)
Boyfriend Dungeon kind of feels like a cross between Touken Ranbu and the Persona series–You battle your way through urban dungeons with the help of weapons, who also happen to be hot singles from around the area. Y’all know I LOVE a game with character customization and Boyfriend Dungeon does give us some nice features to play with on that front. There’s also a diverse cast of characters (and weapons) to choose from and I love the LGBT+ representation, since inclusivity has been a big talking point in the fandom recently. You can choose to date your Bae Blades or just keep things platonic, and if you’ve been dying to romance your blades, in Touken Ranbu, here is a game where you can actually shack up with your blade. It’s not a sweeping romantic epic–think very basic dating sim mechanics, but what they do offer is a lot of fun. You can get to know the other pursuable characters, hang out, go on dates, text and chat… or more (if you’re up for it). Romancing the bae blades levels them up so you can do better in dungeons and you might get a hot new bae in the process–win-win!
I’m not going to pretend like I’m great at dungeon crawlers–Hades is fun, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t rage quit after a few hours of dying and respawning–and I’ve seen folks more familiar with the genre lament that the dungeons aren’t really anything special. But, for a serial button masher like me, they were just challenging enough to be fun without making me want to rip my hair out. Each weapon has their own unique stats, handicaps, and benefits and it’s fun playing around with the different mechanics. And I’m not gonna lie the elaborate transformation sequences were *chefs kiss*
The monsters you encounter in dungeons are physical manifestations of your fears and insecurities (a la Persona). So let’s say a person has issues with masculinity brought on by an overbearing father–they might encounter truck based monsters, since for them trucks represent their idea of masculinity. You’re literally confronting your inner demons, and it’s a fun alternative way to address more complex issues than you’d expect to find in a video game.
And on that note, there has been a lot of discourse about Boyfriend Dungeon and it’s depiction of stalking and manipulative behavior–there is one character in particular that is especially terrifying–that some folks found upsetting, despite the content warnings at the start of the game. Though, in their defense I didn’t see a detailed list of warnings before I bought the game, so I get the frustration (I bought Hadaka Shitsuji before I saw the warnings and I was not prepared for that clusterfuck).
However, that said I don’t think that’s grounds for demanding the devs change their game, maybe add an opt out feature in a later build, but I do think having the content and the character in the game are important for the narrative the devs are trying to tell. Folks went in expecting a lighthearted, comedic dungeon crawler/romance game and were surprised when things got a bit heavy–and yeah, I can see that, this game definitely takes a deep dive into the real adult fear territory. But, I kinda like it because it definitely gives (at least within the “fantasy” of the game) a realistic look at some of the, uh, less than savory aspects of modern dating, which can be pretty far removed from the fluff filled fantasy world of romance games.
But, that aside, I’m liking the game so far and I like the idea of having more hybrid games like this–sometimes I get burned out on otome and romance games, so it’s nice to hack and slash at monsters without having to boot up a new game. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you have the chance!