First things first: while the game may be called Boyfriend Dungeon, there are actually only three potential boyfriends at time of writing. Two of your weapon partners are nonbinary, and the sixth is a whole ass woman.
There’s also a cat. You cannot romance the cat. Please do not try to romance the cat. He’s not even a cat that can turn into a human that can turn into a weapon. He’s just a cat. That can turn into a weapon.
Please keep in mind that while these will be brief reviews, there will be spoilers for the main plot, as well as some of the main casts’ backstories and story lines. If you want to play the game before reading what I have to say, please, do so! It’s a cute game, and you can knock it out pretty quick if you have a free day.
Isaac Brooks – Estoc
Isaac is the first weapon you meet, and serves as your tutorial guide to explain the dunj. He also pulls double duty as the only character to react to finding new weapons in any way that references the main plot; since you don’t pick up Sawyer until the end of the mall dungeon, you’ll get more foreshadowing sticking with Isaac until you pick up Pocket in La Rosa.
As a weapon, the estoc isn’t bad. It’s a fencing weapon, however, so while it’s fairly basic it also doesn’t do so well against large groups or stronger enemies. The light attack is a bit slow and jerky, and while the Parry skill you pick up and upgrade through his relationship goals is cool, it’s also got a fairly short frame of effect even when you upgrade it, so you’re better off just dodging.
As a person, Isaac is great. He’s an investment… lawyer? Banker? He’s a rich dude with a leftist bent and a severely unhealthy and unhappy relationship with his dad, who features heavily in his story line. Despite my pleas, I was not allowed to stab, cut, or beat his father, which is reasonable but also very disappointing. As someone who also has parental issues, it would have been extremely cathartic to at least have the option to verbally eviscerate him, if not physically.
Beyond his father issues, Isaac’s also a genuinely good man. He genuinely wants to improve the world, and he uses his money as a way to do that, at least until his shitty dad gets in the way. He’s also very spiritual; a couple of your outings with him involve visiting the local mission, where you get to chat about religion and community and also how awful his dad is. While not my favorite of the main cast or weapons, he’s a solid choice for early dungeon delving and just an overall cool guy.
Pocket – Brass Knuckles
Pocket is the last potential weapon you can meet in the dungeon, on the second floor of the La Rosa dungeon, unlocked after completing the mall dungeon and meeting Sawyer. He’s a free-roaming cat, which in the real world means he’s a free cat, but in BFD means you get texts from his owner Tank whenever its time to advance his story. Tank is fine.
The brass knuckles are probably my favorite weapon, not because they’re necessarily better to use, but because as Charlie can attest I just really like having the option to beat things to death with my bare hands in videogames. They hit hard, and even the heavy attack is faster and smoother than the estoc’s light attack. As you increase your relationship with Pocket you also get to immobilize enemies, which only lasts a few seconds but is still incredibly helpful against large crowds, since it means you have a beat to heal or focus on a particularly annoying monster. The heavy finisher also has pretty phenomenal range, especially considering it’s for a pair of brass knuckles., which typically have a range of two feet or so, provided you extend your arm completely.
Pocket is, I cannot stress enough, a cat. He’s a bit prickly and touch-averse when you meet him, but he warms up to you and eventually lets you hold him as you improve your relationship. He also does things like steal your wallet to use you as a distraction to rob a local restaurant, and get into a bunch of fights with one of the city strays trying to make you an honorary cat.
No, you cannot transform into an actual cat outside of one dream sequence. It’s heartbreaking. I have never felt more betrayed in a videogame than I did after completing Pocket’s quest line and discovering you cannot, in fact, turn into a cat yourself. But other than that, Pocket’s great. It’s a just a series of fun hangouts with the cat that has decided you belong to him now, which is honestly as close to The Dream™ as we’re ever likely to get.
Rowan – Scythe
Hi yes hello you glorious enby nerd. Rowan can only be unlocked by heading north to their mansion after the July 4th barbecue, where you stumble upon them sending off a hearse with their grandmother’s body. Rowan is our token Magic Goth, which means they can summon gravity wells and give you a single buff, and spend a lot of time saying weird shit and being generally a very cool, composed disaster that I love more than coffee.
The scythe is a two-handed weapon, so it’s slower and a little awkward to get used to. It makes up for that with having some of the best crowd control of your armory, with a special ability to create gravity wells that draw monsters into them for max AOE potential. Once you’ve upgraded it a bit killing enemies trapped in that gravity well gets you three stacks of the Deadly Momentum buff, which is a small damage boost. The best use for the scythe, though, is the fact that it has better range than most of the other weapons, which means you can use it to grab monster drops that have landed in the black areas of the dungeon you wouldn’t be able to collect otherwise.
Rowan themself is struggling to handle the death of their grandmother and move forward on their own in a world that’s largely outside their lived experience. When you first meet them they’re angry and grieving, lashing out at the player character and blaming them for her death; but getting to know them reveals that they’re also awkward, and largely unused to dealing with people in general. Their only friend is their familiar, Crowley, and a part of them thinks it’s better that way, to be lonely and alone rather than risk getting too entangled with someone else.
More than that, Rowan is kind of weird. They’re very much the goth of the friend group, to the point they might just change their name and move to Pleasantview – but they’re also funny, and loyal, and magic in a way that echoes Isaac’s spirituality without becoming a mockery of it. They have a tendency to be overly reliant on the player character at times, and to lash out at them when stressed or afraid, but it’s a tendency they get an ear lashing from their grandmother’s spirit about and make a genuine effort to apologize for and correct once they recognize it for what it is. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, they’re kind of a huge dork. That screenshot I used in my game review? That’s their first attempt to ask you to kiss them. They’re delightful.
Side note: they give you their phone number by slipping you a number puzzle. If you, like me, have trouble figuring it out, Crowley visits you after a few failed attempts and just gives it to you directly, but if you want a hint: the first three digits are the area code for Maine.
Sawyer – Glaive
Sawyer is met after clearing the final boss of the Verona Beach Mall dungeon, and they are the youngest of the group. I don’t know if they’re actually the youngest, but even if they aren’t, they’re the youngest. This isn’t up for debate, and you’ll see why when I get to talking about them.
The glaive is another two-handed weapon, kind of like a spear but with a scimitar stuck to the end instead of a dagger. It takes a bit of effort to get used to, since its the slowest weapon in the game and unless you’re really good at combos the heavy attack is fairly inefficient, but if you can get used to it it’s crowd control is even better than the scythe’s. Unfortunately this can also work against it, as it makes the already bizarrely easy La Rosa dungeon even easier, but it makes up for that by being surprisingly satisfying to wield once you get into the groove of things.
Likewise, Sawyer is also very awkward, and not always in the same endearing way that Rowan can be. They’re very high energy and passionate, but also prone to overthinking things and freaking out when they think they’ve messed up. While that is deeply relatable, it can also be uncomfortable, or even kind of annoying at times. The problem is that Sawyer is young, and self-conscious in the way that poor queer kids so often are, and sometimes the result is that you just want to take them by the shoulders and shake them gently until they stop echoing your panic attacks back at you.
That said, you spend a lot of time during your budding relationship teaching them how to cook, and they’re pretty bad at it to start out. Part of it can be explained by the fact they’re young, and haven’t had to take care of themself for very long, but mostly it’s just because it’s a fairly common trope that gives you an easy excuse to hang out with them. It’s not something I personally find particularly interesting, but Sawyer is sweet and fun, and even if they think they should add blueberry syrup to literally anything I will forgive them for it because they’re one of my favorite characters in the whole game, and critical thinking is for English class.
Seven – Lasersaber
Seven is found on the ninth floor of the first dungeon, and before I go any further I want to clarify something: he does not turn into a lightsaber. His weapon form has some of the aesthetics of a lightsaber, but it’s much less viscerally satisfying to wield. It’s more like a glow stick had a baby with a taser. If you haven’t played the game yet, please manage your expectations accordingly.
That being said, the lasersaber is still one of my favorite weapons to wield. It’s faster than the estoc (sorry, Isaac) and has a much more satisfying range of motion. It also has a chain lightning effect that you can upgrade to both hit up to five enemies, and potentially trigger again after hitting an enemy, which makes it the best one-handed weapon for crowd control by far.
As his excellent crowd control suggests, Seven is also pretty good at isolating himself, although it isn’t as good an idea outside of combat. A K-Pop idol originally from Verona Beach, he’s apparently back in town for a vacation while his band is on hiatus. At first he can come across as distant and arrogant, but as your relationship progresses it turns out he’s just extremely depressed and has some fairly bad coping habits. The more he opens up to you, the more you can see that he’s just kind of insecure, both in his personal life and his professional one, and especially where those two collide. He doesn’t like confrontation, which leads to some brief but painfully realistic misunderstandings when he hesitates to talk to people the cares for about the things they do that bother him.
Which sucks, because Seven’s a genuinely sweet guy, who likes mysteries and plays the guitar and has been stifled and frustrated by the role he has to play in Blade Generation. He’s warm, and creative, and despite how much he dislikes confrontation on his own behalf he’s more than willing to step in to defend the player character when the situation arises.
Sunder – Talwar
Sunder is the first weapon you meet in the first dungeon – remember, the one that leads to you being ambushed by waves of enemies specifically designed to fuck you up as quickly as possible? You’ll want to hang on to the memory of that bullshit, because Sunder, much like those enemies, will wait until you feel almost comfortable and secure, and then break your goddamn heart like the asshole he is.
As a weapon, the talwar is pretty decent. It’s not as fast as some, but it has a good arc to its swing and at higher relationship levels it inflicts a bleeding effect that is, with no exaggeration, the most useful status effect in the game. It’s heavy attack also doubles as a ranged attack, which is helpful when clearing out the depths of the mall dungeon and the first few levels of La Rosa.
Sunder as a person is an absolute dick, and I say that with equal parts fondness and pure seething rage. He wants connection and companionship, but his general dissatisfaction with life and how long that life has gone on means he has a tendency to pull away from any real sort of relationship, be it as a romantic partner or a friend. He also is an incurable flirt, which was fine in the four runs where I was romancing him, but felt a little uncomfortable in the one where I was going for a friends-only playthrough.
The biggest issue Sunder has is that he is a 200+ year old vampire, who desperately needs therapy, but is likely never going to get it because he’s spent 200 years using people as snacks, and that kind of thing makes it hard to not get depressed, as it turns out. His depression isn’t as explicit as Seven’s, and he tends to cover up his problems by being a typical hard-partying fuckboy, but between the fact he admits to being burned out on life in general and the fact he’ll break up with you no matter what your relationship status is, it’s safe to say Sunder would also benefit from speaking to a professional. If this review of him seems a little harsh, that’s because he broke up with me five fucking times, and four of those times he turned around after and said “hey do you still want to fuck sometimes tho” which is, and this is true, not something you should offer to someone you just broke up with using the “it’s not you, it’s me” line of reasoning.
I love him, though. He pisses me off, and is kind of garbage, but you can just change my name to Oscar because I live in the dumpster.
Valeria – Dagger
Valeria is the second person you meet in the mall dungeon, with a sharp word about the importance of consent and an admirable suspicion of this random person who just happened to stumble upon her injured, alone, and disoriented. She is the whole ass woman mentioned above, which is less a comment on whether she’s cis and much more about the fact she is just. A whole ass woman. She’s also the only woman, so if you were hoping to roleplay someone who only likes women I’m pleased to announce that you’re going to absolutely love Valeria. You don’t have a choice.
The dagger is a typical dagger, and works with typical dagger mechanics: you poke things very quickly with the pointy end, and sometimes slash them if the mood strikes you, but it’s very much about speed and precision rather than power. It is – say it with me now – faster than the estoc, but it does less damage and has significantly less range even than the brass knuckles. Rolling is the name of the game when wielding the dagger; as you advance your relationship with Valeria your dodge roll picks up new quirks, like confusing enemies, confusing enemies more, hurting anyone you run into while rolling, or letting you go straight from a roll to an attack without the beat to recover the other weapons require.
As is befitting her role as the only woman you have available to romance (at time of writing), Valeria is appropriately amazing. She has a lot of trust issues, which is healthy and good considering both her background and the fact you find her injured, alone, and disoriented in a dungeon, but she’s quick, clever, and fierce beside that. A painter who came to Verona Beach looking for a fresh start, Valeria is appropriately independent and bright, and wonderfully insightful, at least when it comes to art.
She’s also a guerrilla graffiti artist wanted by Interpol for vandalizing the Louvre, as part of a group known as the Roses of Venus. She’s still recovering from a bad break-up, both professionally and romantically, and she can be a bit prickly and suspicious as a result; but as you get to know her you see how much she values honesty, how dedicated and passionate she is towards both her ideals and the people she cares for. She’s also just really fucking funny, y’all. Setting aside the fowl pun she can make while discussing her dislike of ducks, there’s also a text conversation where she mentions evicting a muffin that’s been in her studio for years, which is objectively hilarious.
Of course, the best part of all these characters is that the game not only lets you romance them all at the same time, it actively encourages you to, to the point that my friends-only playthrough could be a little awkward at times. If you haven’t read it already, and you’d like to know more about my thoughts on the game as a whole, you can read my review here!
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