Paige FTW: Daydreaming of ‘Dream Daddy’

Before we begin, yes I know Kingdom Hearts III came out this week. But a game with this long a wait deserves a thorough experience before I can even begin to write about it. So get ready for that next week. (Maybe.)

But prior to Jan. 29, I needed something else to play and so decided … why not Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator, that most progressive of dating sims?

This western visual novel isn’t particularly deep, but it sure is respectful and thoughtful of all body types, races, sexualities and genders. You are a single daddy, trying to raise your daughter Amanda and find love (or just, you know, friendship, if you prefer) in a new town with five dreamy daddy types.

There’s Craig Cahn, your old college roommate-turned-gym buff; Amanda’s English teacher Hugo Veda; Damien Bloodmarch, a transgender Victorian fashion aficionado; and the list goes on. Each daddy has their own troubles and storyline to navigate through a series of “dates,” as it were, and ultimately you can decide which daddy to pursue to some kind of conclusion.

It’s standard dating sim stuff, really, except that everyone is so gosh darn respectful. There’s no crazy “I’ll lock you up in a cage because I love you” stories here. Instead, you help navigate genuine, reality-based questions about topics like toxic masculinity, religion and anxiety. It’s really never been more timely, as far as games go.

I mean, I liked it. It was fun to play. It was well written, and I even got the good Amanda ending where I was a great daddy (and I got together with Brian, the “friendly competition” daddy).

But dating sims are about … wish fulfillment! That, and those beautiful CG illustrations of you tumbling into some stud’s arms. Dream Daddy has a lot of great writing and care put into it, but they did not set aside a dreamy art budget.