Dr. Love Expert is a fake romantic advice column imagined up and written by the author of this preview to sort through his feelings on playing the first two hours of Kitfox Games’ dating sim/dungeon crawler Boyfriend Dungeon. The name was chosen because it was the first thing that came to mind upon remembering the running joke of the 2013 animated film Frozen, in which Kristoff references his family of trolls he deems “love experts.” Letters to be featured as part of Dr. Love Expert can be sent to email@example.com, but no one will see them because that’s not a real email address.
Dear Dr. Love Expert,
I’m writing to you from Verona Beach, where I moved to visit my cousin for the summer. But being here is turning out to be a lot more than I bargained for. Between the stress of rebuilding my social life and fighting my inner demons (literally), you could say my life has turned into a real…Boyfriend Dungeon.
Maybe I’m exaggerating. This Boyfriend Dungeon I’ve found myself trapped in has been pretty great so far. As of my writing to you, I’ve only been here about two hours. But that can feel like several days when you’re going back and forth between meeting the locals and going into an actual dungeon (they call them the “Dunj” around these parts), all of which has been an absolute delight. Because while I’d probably be too scared to go into these dungeons myself, I’m never alone, as I have a friend or, well, maybe someone more with me at all times. That’s because there are people here at Verona Beach that can turn into actual weapons.
Now Dr. Love Expert, please don’t throw this letter away after reading that sentence. I’m dead serious. I’ve met a lot of people here who can turn into weapons. Such as Sunder, a handsome, free spirit and club owner who turns into a talwar, Seven, a mysterious K-pop idol who can transform into an actual laser saber, and I’ve even met an adorable cat named Pocket who can shapeshift into a pair of brass knuckles.
This is just normal life to these people, and pretty much everyone here is chill with it. I did meet a guy named Eric, who seems to have some prejudice against these kinds of people, but I haven’t gotten a real sense as to why yet. But anyway, to earn some money, I’ve been taking these sword people into the dungeons and fighting the demons that come to life there. I’ve been told they’re symbols of my inner fears, almost like a Persona 5 dungeon where the enemies are all the personification of someone’s inner psyche. These Dunjs are tough, and I’ve been experimenting with a few different swords to see whose fighting style meshes with mine most.
I know this is a lot of information for you to take in, Dr. Love Expert, but this part of the Boyfriend Dungeon is why I’m writing to you today. See, I’m feeling a little bit torn. I’ve only been here for two hours, but I can already start to feel myself gravitating toward one sword in particular: an estoc named Isaac. Part of me is already captivated by the way he thrusts and pierces through enemies during battle, and it feels like he’s already started doing the same to my heart.
Outside of fighting together in the Boyfriend Dungeon, Isaac is a successful financier, as well as a tutor that’s been teaching me a lot about sword fighting. He’s reliable, kind but still firm, although it seems like he has a tumultuous relationship with his father. So daddy issues are probably a red flag to keep an eye out for. But altogether, he seems to have his head on his shoulders, and that’s the stability I want out of a man and a weapon.
But again, I’ve only been in the Boyfriend Dungeon for about two hours. Am I getting ahead of myself by committing to someone I haven’t known that long in a city I just got to? I don’t want to let go of a good thing, but it feels like I might be leaping in too quickly if I don’t explore more options. Plus, what if I dive into this relationship first, then find myself several hours into the depths of the Boyfriend Dungeon and decide I might have found a better fit in Sunder (although his own friend warned me about how flakey and flippant he can be, which sounds like my last bad relationship), or Seven?
Are two hours long enough to know whether one sword is the sword you should fight with? The one that you want to put in your sheath forever? I tried going to friends with this situation, but telling them that my possible suitors can turn into swords quickly devolved into them repeatedly quoting the Spongebob Squarepants episode where Patrick tells Squidward to “firmly grasp it.” What should I do, Dr. Love Expert?
En Garde and On Guard
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En Garde and On Guard: While your entire letter sounds like a fever dream, it’s not my job to assess how believable your story is; it’s to give you advice based on the information you’ve given. It sounds like you care a lot for Isaac already, and that’s a good thing to be able to identify. But you’re in a new, as you called it, Boyfriend Dungeon, and in these kinds of situations, it’s always good to be open to as many new experiences as possible. I think your best bet is to be honest with Isaac about where you’re at emotionally. If you can be civil and willing to revisit your relationship after you’ve had some time apart, it’s best to remove all semblances of doubt. If your bond is as strong as you think it is, perhaps you’ll meet other swords and find they don’t slice and stab the way you want them to. Two hours is nothing, and there’s probably a few more hours of the Boyfriend Dungeon left. Take some time to try on other blades. I’m confident that you’ll find one that’s to your liking. And if it turns out to be Isaac, well then at least you know for sure. Perhaps I’ll have more experience answering questions on the specifics of your situation when more people can enter the Boyfriend Dungeon on Xbox, PC, and Switch later this year.