Like many other variety gamers, I enjoy playing and experiencing the many genres of games the world has to offer. I’m a huge fan of fast-paced dungeon-crawling roguelikes, cinematic open worlds with rich character building, and competitive team games that require a decent amount of sweat and skill. But sometimes, when I feel like slowing down and really enjoying a game, there’s nothing I love more than pointing and clicking my way through a dating sim. And indie developer Rocket Adrift’s Raptor Boyfriend provided me with exactly that.
In Raptor Boyfriend, you play as Stella, an anxious human who has just moved to a small town called Ladle for her senior year of high school. Determined to make a good first impression on your first day, you must come up with a plan to make sure your new classmates think you’re cool. However, you soon discover that some of your classmates are actually Cryptids, and your expectations for finding a high school sweetheart are quickly dashed. During your first day at school, you are introduced to the cast of three characters that you can choose to pursue.
There’s your childhood friend Taylor Tall-Toe, a sulky bigfoot who plays guitar.
Robert Raptorson, a velociraptor jock with a love for parties and poetry.
And Day Lilly, a studious magical fairy who is haunted (literally) by her ghostly ex-girlfriend.
The gameplay is quite conducive to your typical visual novel type dating sim. The game is divided into seven different chapters that you click on – the story and growing relationships being the heart that drives Raptor Boyfriend. Often, you’ll be prompted to choose a dialogue option for Stella, and how you answer can impact how other characters view her. There’s also a nice nostalgia factor that comes from the interactive time between chapters. After part of the story has passed, you will have the opportunity to interact with things inside your house. The story only progresses when you call one of your love interests on your landline. Depending on who you choose to call each time, you’ll be rewarded with knowledge about that character and insight into their feelings, so choose wisely! You will also receive that character’s collectibles to show off the progress of your relationship.
I chose Day to sue and received these super cute comics.
Because I chose Day for the romance, I was able to discover his passion for drawing and his desire to leave his hometown of Ladle. The dialogue between Stella and Day was sweet and honest. The uncertainty of their feelings seemed relatable and took me back to the days of pining for girls in high school English class. I’ve played my fair share of dating sims and mobile romance games to appreciate the care the developers put into their relationship and the overall dialogue written into the game.
The three main love interests were endearing in their own way, but my favorite moments from the game were encapsulated in Day’s storyline. Much of his plot revolved around his ghost ex-girlfriend Ingrid, who immediately hates Stella’s guts just for being there. Ingrid is toxic in a way that’s ultimately understandable, but that didn’t stop me from wishing she’d left Stella alone. While part of me wishes the evil ghost that hates your guts was a romance option, I think it might be something I should work on with my therapist instead. I implore you to play the game for yourself and see if you’ve ever had an Ingrid in your life.
At the end of the day, Raptor Boyfriend was a beautiful graphic novel game that I had the pleasure of immersing myself in on a lazy Friday night. The beauty of dating sims is that you can choose who the character goes after. You have the autonomy to choose your favorite, and there’s a heartwarming story behind any character you love. Whereas Raptor Boyfriend was definitely not my first dating sim rodeo, I was pleasantly surprised that dating sims now allow me to choose and date the cryptid of my dreams. It reminded me of my high school crush, the importance of getting a ride home from school, and how seriously I took everything at that age. I will definitely be playing again to get Robert and Taylor’s endings and collectibles too! If you’re looking to enjoy a wholesome dating game about awkward teenage romance, give Raptor Boyfriend A try! And drop your favorite dating sims below, I’m always on the lookout for new suggestions.