You'll know if Boyfriend Dungeon is the game for you as soon as you hear the basic premise. In a modern city, people can turn into weapons, and dating them makes them level up. The dungeons are not abandoned caves, but abandoned malls. You don't drink potions to restore health, you drink boba tea. You can date anyone, be they male, female, or non-binary. You yourself can choose what pronoun you'd prefer to be addressed by. That all adds up to a dating sim/dungeon crawler set firmly in the present.
If this very 2019 take on a classic video game genre amuses you, chances are you backed it when it was a Kickstarter project. If you rolled your eyes at the mention of preferred pronouns, maybe you'd rather read our Ghost Recon Breakpoint preview instead. That game, like many others at E3, is about having fun using concepts we've seen many times before. In Boyfriend Dungeon's defense, however, it's also all about fun. It doesn't present a modern take on romance to be challenging, it just wants to look at things from a playful new perspective.
When it comes to the dating sim part of the game, Boyfriend Dungeon is very casual. Again, the inclusiveness isn't some big political statement. In the demo, at least, you just choose your avatar and pronoun, are dropped into a city, and can date any of the three available characters. It's almost like Tinder, if your Tinder dates could turn into swords. You text your potential dates to take things further, flirting starts almost immediately, and there's many opportunities for breezy banter.
The dungeon portions continue this breeziness, which might be a weakness. The monsters in the demo build are pretty standard fare, things that crawl at you and stationary things that shoot at you. You can do a dodge roll, drink boba from your inventory to heal, and unleash simple combos with your currently-equipped bae. Think "X-X-Y-Y" kind of combos.
You're able to change your weapon mid-dungeon, although it wasn't clear in the demo how essential that option will be. The bad boy talwar was most effective, able to launch slashes of energy as a ranged attack. But it didn't matter too much, as none of the monsters were too threatening. Some even dropped more boba, so there was never a shortage. Since it was a demo, however, and the game doesn't have a release date, a lot can change.
Boyfriend Dungeon promises a "flirty, playful, and welcoming world" which seems to imply it's a fun dating sim first and dungeon crawler second. It's light on challenge but has playfulness to spare. We know it won't be everyone's cup of boba, but it certainly stands apart from everything else being shown at E3. It's available for Steam Wishlist now.