A lonely college student wakes up after a night of hard drinking, and immediately decides to head to another bar to drown their sorrows, and maybe find someone to hook up with. Unfortunately for them, tonight is not their lucky night as depending on which bar they go to, they run across either a deranged scientist, a vicious serial killer, or a literal demon. From there, things escalate pretty quickly, and the protagonist soon finds themselves at the mercy of these lovely gentlemen, all of whom are more interested in vicious torture than any kind of romance.
Boyfriend to Death is an adult visual novel with a heavy emphasis on blood and gore. Unlike many visual novels, the aim of the game isn't to successfully seduce your guy of choice, it's to try and survive the things he'll do to you. Naturally, the game is loaded to the brim with Nightmare Fuel, bloody torture, and a heaping helping of violent insanity with almost all the endings culminating in the protagonist's agonizing death.
This game is not for the faint of heart.
Boyfriend to Death was released on June 3rd, 2016. PC and Mac versions can be downloaded and played for free at its official website.
A sequel was released on March 18th, 2017.
A Spiritual Successor titled Till Death Do Us Part was released on October 3rd, 2017.
A fourth game titled Dollmaker is currently in development.
These visual novels contain examples of:
- 100% Completion: Getting all the endings, every CG and all in-game music qualifies as this. In the first game, this isnt really rewarded (you get chibis of the guys on the death collection screens and that's it), but the second one gives you a bonus "Extras" page with sketches and scenes that were not implemented in the game, and even mentions this trope by name.
- The Alcoholic: The game begins with the protagonist waking up from a night where they were "so drunk they almost forgot their own name". This is further explored in Sano and Strade's routes where the main character admits their drinking might have something to do with some serious emotional instabilities.
- And I Must Scream: In the "To what life?" ending, Rire puts your soul into a bottle, where you cant be heard and are essentially trapped for eternity.
- An Arm and a Leg: This only occurs if Sano wants to keep you. Lawrence does this, too.
- And Show It to You: Strade does this.
- Art Evolution: Happens in the second game, most notably when comparing Ren's sprites and Sano's sprites.
- Bad-Guy Bar: Route 66.
- Bastard Boyfriend: All of them to some degree or another. Heavy, heavy emphasis on "bastard".
- Better to Die than Be Killed: In one of the endings of Strade's route, after seeing the organs in the fridge, if you lose all your sanity, you kill yourself with a screwdriver, denying Strade the chance to murder you in an even more horrific fashion. The ending is appropriately named "You Got the Last Laugh".
- Big First Choice: The first choice you get is to decide which bar you're going to for the night. This decides which one of the three "boyfriends" kidnaps and brutalizes you.
- Bittersweet Ending: The survival endings of the first game.
- The one for Strade has him putting a Shock Collar on you as he decides that he wants to keep you forever.
- The one for Rire has him claiming your soul and putting it in a bottle. But at least you live.
- Sano has three survival endings. The first has you being made part doll. The second has you becoming a partner in his sick experiments. The final one has him and Akira putting a mind control insect into you and then letting you go.
- But Thou Must!: In Strade's "He loved you too much..." ending, the only option you get at the end is to "Moan".
- Call-Back: In the second game, on the website where you look for a bar to visit an advertisement for the Snapdragon, the bar where Rire meets you, can be seen.
- Several of Rens endings are essentially repeats of scenes with Strade and the player from the first game, with you taking up the role of Strade and Ren taking up the role of the player. You even make him pick between two weapons to torture him with.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': No matter what choice you make in the first game, it'll never end well for you.
- The Cameo: Sano gets one in the second game. Extras reveal Rire had scenes where he was going to have one, but they didnt make it to the final cut.
- Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are : Rire's route culminates in this. If you lose this deadly Hide and Seek, he'll grow bored of you and jam a tentacle through your torso.
- Content Warnings:
- The first game:WARNING
DO NOT USE THIS GAME TO TRIGGER, UPSET OR HURT YOURSELF IN ANYWAY.
That was never the intention of this game. This game was not developed so you could upset yourself.
This game was developed for fetishists by fetishists.
DO NOT USE OUR WORK FOR THE INTENTION OF BEING IN PAIN.
That is not what it is for.
PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
- The second game:Please read through these before opening your game!
Make sure you are comfortable with the themes before playing.
PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
- The first game:
- Creepy Twins: Sano and his twin brother, Akira.
- Deal with the Devil: In one of Rire's endings you agree to trade over your soul in exchange for being released from his torture. Naturally he doesn't bother to specify what kind of conditions you'll be released into...
- Depending on the Artist: Since the games have had three artists with three distinctive styles, all of the characters look fairly different depending on who draws them. For example, we have Rire by Darqx◊, Rire by Gatobob◊, and Rire◊.
- Despair Event Horizon: Many endings require emptying your Sanity Meter.
- Dies Wide Open: Strade.
- Downer Ending: Most of the endings. The first game is the worst in this regard as nearly all of the endings result in some form of horrific death at the hands of the boyfriends, and the endings where you actually survive aren't a whole lot better.
- Eaten Alive:
- If you give up while Sano's taunting you with fire, he feeds you to his pet.
- In the sequel, one of Vincent's endings has this happen to the player character. And they enjoy it.
- Erotic Asphyxiation: In "Strade loved you too much..." , his heart will turn bleeding red, triggering this death sequence.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Boyfriend to Death sums it up pretty well.
- Eye Scream: Twice in Strade's routes, and once in Sano's.
- Evolving Title Screen: In the sequel, getting all the endings for a character leads to the title screen gaining color, and getting all the endings leads to a fully-colored title screen.
- Failure Is the Only Option: No matter what you do in the first game, you'll always get a bad ending; even the "survival" endings really aren't that much better fates.
- Fan Disservice: In the sequel, Strade gets a Shirtless Scene as a frozen corpse with his chest cut open.
- Fanservice: A few examples, most notably Cain's sprite that has him fully nude, and there's the occasional gratutious Shirtless Scene.
- Faux Affably Evil: Strade somehow manages to be both friendly and upbeat, even whilst he's jamming a drill through your foot.
- The posters in the protagonist's room include one for "Sick Little Game", and the advertisements for the three bars are just filled with little nods to the guys' true natures.
- In the second game, if you meet Lawrence at the bar, you'll run into Ren, who proceeds to buy drinks for the three of you. If you choose not to drink, Ren is uncomfortable since Lawrence isn't drinking either. If you drink yours or Ren's, they just smile normally. If you drink Lawrence's, Ren is actually shocked... but then grins as you finish it. Later, after Lawrence attacks the player after Ren leaves, the player becomes drowsy. Lawrence's drink was drugged, but Ren isn't picky about who he takes home.
- Gaslighting: Rire is particularly apt at it. He likes slowly driving you insane, as it is more entertaining.
- Gender-Neutral Writing: The player character's gender is never specified, and even the adult scenes are written in a way which doesn't imply a specific gender.
- Golden Ending: While the survival endings in the first game lean towards bittersweet, the second game has more straightfoward examples.
- Ren's has the player escaping alive and agreeing to be his friend, giving them their number and promising to talk to him, implied to be the first step in him getting over his Survivor Guilt over Strade's death.
- Lawrence's is the player professing that they have also seen the river, making him not alone, arguably for the first time in his life, with them mutually agreeing to have fun in the world with everything dying around them.
- Vincent has the player forgive him for his actions and agreeing to stay with him, in some cases also becoming a werewolf and joining his pack.
- Cain's has the player stay with him, with the player who's also implied to be not human.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Strade slips into German a few times during his route.
- Guide Dang It!: In the second game, unlocking Rens route involves choosing a specific dialogue action, which is easy enough, but it also involves performing an action in-game that seemingly doesnt serve a purpose and just comes off as weird and then clicking on a background detail that doesnt highlight itself and is easily missable. The game also never tells you that there is even a path for Ren, with the only hint being the fact that he has an affection meter. Assuming you knew little about the game beforehand, you wouldnt be blamed for not knowing Ren even has a path.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The game opens with the player character joking that they were so drunk they almost forgot their own name, after which players must input a name.
- Humans Are Interesting: Rire seems constantly amused by your relative frailty.
- I'm a Humanitarian:
- Strade. And in certain playthroughs you too.
- In the sequel, Ren eats Strade's heart, and can eat yours too. Vincent eats you as well, if he wolfs out.
- Interface Screw:
- In the "You took too many drugs" ending with Lawrence, you're greeted by several of these, including a option merely reading "STOP" multiplying and being the only option to choose, and the dialogue box merely reading "no no no no no no no no no no..."
- Cains "You ate yourself" ending has a more subtle example, with the player's health meter completely depleting then completely rising again. Repeatedly.
- Karma Houdini: No matter what you do in the first game, your captors will always get off scot-free in the endings.
- Last Lousy Point: Getting all the endings falls victim to this trope. By the time you are close to getting all the endings, its likely youre going to wind up merely finding a different way to get an ending youve already seen. This is worsened by how some endings require you to have a certain affection level, meaning you may have to pick the exact dialogue choices theyd like, which can be very difficult to figure out.
- Life Meter: You have one, along with a Sanity Meter.
- Living Doll Collector: Sano loves dolls.
- Male Frontal Nudity: All of the gentlemen get this at some point, the sole exception being Rire. Lawrence is an interesting case, as his route doesnt ever show him naked- only a bonus CG unlocked after completing the game does.
- Medical Horror: The majority of Sano's route is spent strapped to an operating table while he performs all kinds of strange and bizarre experiments on you.
- Multiple Endings: All routes have several. Crowning mention goes to Ren's route, which has 27 endings.
- murder.com: Serial Killer Strade runs a "red room" stream on the Dark Web. If your Sanity Meter runs out while he's torturing you down in his basement, he turns you into his newest "star".
- Nightmare Fetishist: When the writers say it's "for fetishists by fetishists", they're appealing to this crowd.
- Non Standard Game Over:
- It is entirely possible to completely derail Lawrence's route by choosing to run left when he attacks... and promptly get killed by Vincent's motorcycle.
- In Lawrences "It was beautiful..." ending, the "You Died" screen is replaced by "Youre Dying", and cuts to a bizarre scene with Ashe that ends in a fade to the title screen.
- Only One Name: Rire and Strade. Justified in Rires case, since hes a demon. Strade... not so much.
- Playing with Syringes: The majority of Sano's route involves this.
- Please, I Will Do Anything!:
- Press X to Not Die : Several of the games more critical choices run on a strict time limit.
- Psychotic Smirk: Strade is the most notable example due to being a Perpetual Smiler, but damn-near everyone exhibits this at one point or another.
- Puppeteer Parasite: "Sano let you go."
- Relationship Values: All of the gentlemen have these. Rire and Cains are hidden- theyre visible, but they have no color until the very end.
- Sadist: Strade really, really likes to hurt people, and how much "entertainment" you provide him determines whether he takes a fondness to you or not.
- Sanity Meter: You have one along with a health meter, and so does Lawrence. Vincent has an anger meter.
- Scary Teeth: One of the many ways Rire reveals his true nature.
- Screen Shake: Mild in Rire's route, very mild in Sano's route, but very heavy in Strade's route; don't play the latter's route if you have epilepsy issues.
- Shock Collar: Strade gives you one in "He'll keep you forever."
- Ren also wears one in the first game, and gives one to you in the second game if you take his route.
- Shirtless Scene: A few at certain points.
- Rire gets a downplayed version; his shirt stays on, but it's open.
- Lawrence gets a straight example, and on more than one occasion. It helps that he wears his sweatpants so low they look ready to completely fall off.
- Strade gets one, but he's dead during it.
- Vincent takes it to the logical extreme and seems to have a shirt allergy.
- Snuff Film: How Strade makes a living. In fact, in one ending he records himself slitting the main character's throat.
- Spawn Broodling: Sano's "You hatched some new babies!"
- Sunglasses at Night: Rire never removes his sunglasses, except when he wants to show off his glowing yellow demon eyes.
- Tentacle Rope: Rire's demonic nature allows him to summon large black tentacles, a power which he uses to great effect.
- That Was Not a Dream: In Rire's route, he tells you that all the strange things that happened the previous night must have been the protagonist's nightmare. Of course, he's lying through his teeth.
- Torture Cellar: Strade's basement is one of these. Not only does it have the tools that he uses to torture you, but also the webcam and other equipment he employs for his Snuff Film streams on the Dark Web.
- Tongue Trauma: Both Lawrences and Cain have endings that involve ripping the player characters tongue out.
- Video Game Caring Potential: Surprisingly enough, there are several opportunities in both games to be nice even though you really, really wouldn't have to be. The best endings in the second game all have elements of this in play.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can attack Ren in the basement if you have a knife during Strade's route, which will lead to...
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Yeah, go ahead, slice open poor little Ren's arm with that knife. Strade will be very pleased with you.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Rire is not even mentioned during the second game, if you don't count his cameo in the bonuses section. This might have something to do with the fact that Rire's creator, Darqx, didn't participate in development.
- Wicked Cultured: Rire pretty much embodies this trope.
- You Are Not Alone: Lawrence's "You both know the truth." ending is this in full-force, since the MC reaffirms him he's not the only one who's seen the river.
- You Got Spunk!: Rire is more entertained if you play this way.
- You Won't Feel a Thing!: Averted. Sano tells you the the injection will make you feel everything and stay conscious, though you won't be able to react.
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!: Akira, helped by a Relative Button.
Till Death Do Us Part contains examples of:
- Bastard Boyfriend / Bastard Girlfriend: The player character starts Chris' route as one.
- I Love the Dead: Jack's route.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: The player can now choose their gender, but most routes are not impacted by the choice in any way besides word choice.
- Troubled Abuser: One possibility of the player character in the Chris and Aria Routes.
- Yandere: Marcus' route is centered around him kidnapping the player who recently divorced him (presumably for this kind of behavior).