Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / Dream Daddy

Go To
Welcome to the neighborhood.note 

Player: I have a good feeling about this place.
Amanda: Me too, dad.

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a Dating Sim created by Game Grumps for Steam.

You play as a single father who has just moved to Maple Bay following the death of your spouse. Your daughter Amanda, a sassy teenager with a love of photography, encourages you to get out of your shell and meet someone. Fortunately there happens to be quite a number of dateable single fathers in your new neighborhood.

Are you ready? Hi Ready, I'm Dad!

Your dating options include:

  • Mat Sella: Owner of the local coffee shop, a top-notch musician, and lover of puns.
  • Craig Cahn: Your old college roommate, now a sports equipment business owner and local fitness fanatic.
  • Hugo Vega: An English teacher at the local school, who is fond of trivia, wine, and cheese.
  • Brian Harding: A friendly and easygoing rival dad who likes to brag about his daughter.
  • Damien Bloodmarch: A gothic individual who is fond of the aesthetics of the Victorian era.
  • Robert Small: The resident 'bad dad,' a rugged, hard-drinking loner.
  • Joseph Christiansen: Your next door neighbor and the local youth minister.

The game was released on July 20th 2017.

In 2018, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Comic Book was added as a DLC on Steam and also available to be purchased in other sites like Amazon. It's a collection of comic book issues made by various artists.

Tropes in this game include:

  • 420, Blaze It: If the Dadsona tries impressing Lucien with his knowledge on drug lingo during his second date with Mat, he stumbles on the drug number and says "520" instead of "420", making Mat unimpressed.
  • An Aesop:
    • Mat's Ending: Don't let fear dictate how you live. Be Yourself.
    • Robert's Ending: It's never too late to change as long as you make the effort. Forgiveness is always better than hatred and bitterness.
    • Brian's Ending: Over competitiveness is bad. You shouldn't assume the worst of others.
    • Craig's Ending: It's okay to work hard for other people, but don't forget to take care of yourself.
    • Damien's Ending: Don't let your life be dictated by your 'brand'. It's okay to like things outside of what people most know you for.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: It's a same-sex relationship, but Robert's route is based around the attraction to the "bad boy" (or bad dad, in this case). Actually deconstructed, however — in his good ending, Robert will admit that he's not in a good place emotionally for a relationship despite his mutual attraction with the player character, and resolves to improve his situation first while keeping the possibility of a relationship in the future.
  • Ambiguously Brown:
    • Enforced in Amanda, who retains the same physical characteristics regardless of the the ethnicity of the player character (as well as regardless of whether she is your biological or adoptive daughter).
    • Robert and his daughter are ambiguously tan, with no other definite indicators of ancestry.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: You can hit Craig with one during his second date, when trying to convince him to take a camping trip with you: it basically cuts to the heart of the main conflict of his route.
    Main Character: Craig, do you ever do anything for yourself?
  • Always Identical Twins: Craig's twins (Briar and Hazel) are identical. Joseph's twins (Christian and Christie) are fraternal, but they are nearly identical in appearance and mannerisms.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Joseph and Mary Christiansen, the only married couple in the game, are very obviously unhappy with each other. They rarely speak without arguing in some way, and Joseph admits that a large part of why they're still together is for the kids. For all her drinking and flirting, Mary's never cheated on him, while Joseph has slept with Robert in the past.
  • Be Yourself: A central theme in some of the routes, with the love interest coming to terms with some aspect of their personality that they keep hidden.
  • The Bear: Brian, the large bearded Big Beautiful Man of the romantic options.
  • Big Fun: Brian again, who is chipper and energetic and the only dad with a big belly.
  • Bittersweet Ending: It is possible to complete the dates with apparent success, yet not wind up dating the dad at the end. Even so, Amanda will comfort you, assuming you kept a good relationship. This is especially true in Joseph's route, where you don't end up with him regardless, and to a lesser extent in Robert's good ending, where he decides he's not ready to properly date anyone yet.
    • Joseph can't just break up with his wife out of nowhere. He loves you, but he loves his family just as much, prompting him to stay with them in either of his endings.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When she was four, Amanda couldn't decide whether to go as a princess or a dragon for Halloween, so she went as a Princess Dragon.
  • But Thou Must!: During his third date, Mat asks the Dadsona if he's alright after listening to several bands during Open Mic Night, but the only choices are "I'M TOTALLY FINE", "EVERYTHING IS GREAT", and "NOTHING IS WRONG".
  • Camping Episode: Craig's third date takes place at a secluded campsite in the woods.
  • Cast Full of Gay: A mix of this and Everyone Is Bi. All fathers of the neighborhood are available to start dating your male character. No one's sexuality is explicitly stated, but some (Robert, Mat, Joseph and Craig) have been or are married to women. Hugo is the only one to mention an ex-husband. Brian and Damien's past love lives are never mentioned in the game.
  • Central Theme: Fatherhood and its difficulties; Being a father is not easy, it's hard work and everything can go downhill unexpectedly, but it's very much worth it.
  • Character Customization: You get to decide how the player character looks, from the color of their skin, hair and eyes, to the clothes that they wear.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Judging by the opening and their outfits, Joseph is pink, Craig is blue, Brian is green, Hugo is yellow, Damien is purple, Mat is violet, and Robert is red.
  • Cryptid Episode: The "Dover ghost" encounter on Robert's second date. On his third, you join him on a paranormal tour of the suburbs.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: At the beginning of Brian's third date, Amanda says that even anything inedible can be deep-fried and it will taste edible.
  • Dog Stereotype:
    • Invoked. Robert pretends that his dog Betsy is a vicious pitbull in line with his "bad dad" image, but on his third date you learn that she's actually a very sweet Boston terrier. Similarly, Robert is not as bad as his own appearance suggests.note 
    • Brian's corgi is adorable, energetic, and friendly.
    • The Duchess Cordelia, a mastiff, is similarly friendly, as well as very intelligent.
  • Developer's Foresight: Amanda is Ambiguously Brown so that it's always plausible that the player character can be her biological father, no matter what skin tone you pick. In addition, Amanda's deceased parent is always shown as being dark skinned.
  • Family Man: All of the fathers love their families very much but Joseph is a clear example, as a father of four. He gets back together with his wife in the Good Ending for the sake of his children. Downplayed with Robert, who is estranged from his daughter. He seeks to be this, though, wanting to change.
  • Fictional Social Network: "Dadbook", apparently a social media site for fathers. Its name is a play on "Facebook".
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Several dates involve the Dadsona getting injured and his date needing to patch him up.
    • On Robert's second date, he will take care of a cut on the Dadsona's hand. In his narration, he will mention that it was touching and a bit sexy.
  • Food Porn: The dinner Craig cooks for you while camping. Perfectly seared steaks cooked with thyme and ginger and basted with butter, potatoes roasted with olive oil and rosemary, and salad greens sprinkled with feta. And s'mores, because of course.
  • Foreshadowing: If you go to the gym with Craig before Joseph's BBQ, there's a bit where you fly off a treadmill and crash into the back wall, and Craig warns you to know your limits. If you don't learn your lesson, you can die on his third date by jumping off a waterfall after he specifically reminds you not to push it.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At the beginning of Mat's first date, his final Dadbook post appears a split-second before Dadbook vanishes. Since it's too fast to read, you need to set the video in "slow-motion" before you can catch the post by pausing at just the right moment.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Amanda gets one from her dad when he gets worried about her coming home past midnight and calls out to her, "AMANDA ANN!"
  • Gameplay Grading: Each date is given a letter rank depending on how well you impressed your date by making the right choices and succeeding in the minigames. This is parodied in the piano minigame in Mat's third date, where the rank cycles between various forms of "S" before settling on one of them, regardless of your performance, because "doing your best deserves the highest rank, anyway".
  • Gayborhood: The setting. The male player character can romance any of his male neighbors.
  • Gay Option: While all the romance options are male, you can choose whether the MC's deceased spouse was a man or a woman.
  • Generation Xerox: Joseph's children and Brian's daughter Daisy resemble their fathers very much.
  • The Ghost:
    • Crish is possibly the most jarring example. Despite Joseph showing anxiety over his well-being at the barbecue and Mary having to deal with it, he never gets mentioned again, and likewise never makes an appearance.
    • Ashley A.K.A "Smashley", Craig's ex-wife and an old college friend to the MC. She's brought up quite a few times during Craig's route, but she never actually makes an appearance.
    • Hugo's ex-husband is an odd example. He's mentioned a few times in Hugo's route, but is never even given a name to work off of. Likewise to Ashley, he never makes an appearance in the story.
  • Good Parents: You are one, having a very close relationship with your daughter Amanda, as are the rest of the fathers in the game.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It's actually possible to win the Pokémon-esque "brag-off" between your player character and Brian about your daughters, but you have to choose a very specific sequence of commands. note 
    • Robert's good ending requires the player to make the correct choice very early in his route. The player must choose not to sleep with him. Otherwise, the player will be locked into his bad ending route.
    • Joseph's Death Ending, to get the "Panic! at the Disco" achievement. The two other Death Endings are fairly obvious in how to gain them, but Joseph's requires either trial-and-error, or a guide. You have to do a backflip in Joseph's second date, which will cause the MC to break his neck. However, you will only be able to succeed in doing so if you choose all of the worst-scoring dance moves possible, and then try to backflip. The combo needed is Worm, Windmill, Twerking, and finally Backflip.
  • Happily Adopted: If Amanda is not your biological daughter, she's this.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Several characters are dog lovers, which helps establish the cul-de-sac as a friendly neighborhood with nice people. In particular, Brian and Robert have their own dogs (which the player character suitably fawns over). Dogs are even used to humanize seemingly jerkass characters like Mary and Ernest. Damien actually works with stray dogs at an animal shelter, which helps to humanize him as less of a pretentious Gothic oddball in addition to the rest of The Reveal. Later, one of Damien's shelter dogs helps bring together Hugo and his estranged son, who bond after adopting her.
  • Hipster: Mat, with the drink options offered to you making reference to alternative music.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The scene with the grill at the barbecue has all of the dads making some sort of pun, one after the other.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: When Craig invites the Dadsona over to Robert's dinner, the latter serves them osso buco. The Dadsona compliments its taste, but Robert tells him that he got it from the trash can, making him almost gag. Subverted since Robert was just kidding.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Briar and Hazel have slightly different hairstyles and wear their clothes differently which reflect their personalities. Briar wears her baseball cap forwards and her jersey buttoned up while Hazel sports a backwards Tomboyish Baseball Cap and her jersey is unbuttoned.
  • Idiosyncratic Menu Labels: The graphics quality options are called "Daddy", "Daddier", and "Daddiest".
  • Informed Flaw: Your character will express envy over Craig's physique and laments how little he exercises, even if you designed him to be absolutely stacked. However, it's worth noting that even the fairly muscular build you can choose is still somewhat lanky when compared to Craig's body and the main character has a tendency for self deprecation.
  • Magnetic Hero: The MC seems to have this trait, if you don't consider it to simply be a gameplay design decision to make sure none of the dads are any harder to romance over the others. All of the dads seem to show an immediate interest and/or fondness towards the MC, and most of the dads even have interactions before the dating starts to gain bonus points with them right off the bat.
    • Brian has one instance of being able to score bonus points before Dadbook, in the form of the various answers you can give after you get hit in the face by his Frisbee. He also immediately starts to gush about his daughter's achievements, which the MC takes as Brian boasting, but pursuing Brian reveals he didn't try to invoke challenges with the MC, and in fact did so mostly to try and impress the MC.
    • Craig is notable, as he contains an instance that has the chance for a significant amount of bonus points in the form of the gym event, that you can trigger if you didn't go to the bar, or didn't sleep with Robert if you did go to the bar. Possibly justified, as Craig has known the MC before the other dads, and there are various hints throughout the game, his route in particular, that imply that Craig may have had a crush on the MC since college.
    • Damien is one of the few dads that can't gain bonus points with the MC before Dadbook. Justified, however, as your first meet with him outside of the Barbecue is simply the MC overhearing Damien complaining to the "Dead, Goth and Beyond" employee over the authenticity of their products.
    • Hugo is another notable one, as while it isn't possible to score a large amount of bonus points before Dadbook, Hugo will always have a point bonus over the other dads, while the others have a chance of failure. You have no choice but to meet him before the Barbecue, due to the Parent-Teacher Conference, and you always leave with him gaining hearts after the MC makes a joke on "The Catcher in the Rye."
    • Joseph, like Damien, doesn't have any chances to gain bonus points before Dadbook. Possibly justified though, as Joseph is the only dad to actually be married in the game, even if his marriage is an unhappy one. It doesn't exactly stop him from casually flirting with the MC beforehand, though.
    • Mat is rather casual when compared to the others, but still has a noticeable example with the first meeting. No matter what menu item you choose, Mat will gain points, but there is a chance to lose those points in what name you recommend to Mat for his banana bread. However, there's more choices in favor of the MC gaining more points, and the fact Mat decided to ask this question (as well as give free banana bread) to two people he just met (the MC and Amanda,) gives shades of some sort of attraction.
    • Robert is possibly the most obvious with how many bonus points he can gain. The bar meeting seems to have the most chances to gain positive points over all of the other dads, and even Neil, the bartender, remarks that Robert's friendliness towards the MC is out of character, saying that "He must like you." The fact he even vaguely offers the MC a one-night stand can further the idea of attraction, though accepting the offer actually has negative impact on his character and his route.
  • Maybe Ever After: Robert's good ending. While the two of you have expressed your mutual feelings and Robert is starting the road to recovery, he admits that he's not ready for a relationship yet: the MC agrees to remain Robert's friend, while leaving the door open for them to try something later on down the road.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The youth pastor dad is called Joseph Christiansen. His wife is called Mary, and his children are called Chris, Christian, Christine and Crish.
    • With a last name like 'Bloodmarch', it's inevitable that Damien would be a Goth. Though it's possible that he chose his last name when he transitioned.
    • English teacher Hugo just had to name his son Ernest Hemingway.
  • Minigolf Episode: Brian's first date partially involves the player trying to beat him at minigolf.
  • Missing Mom: Or possibly Disappeared Dad, neither Brian nor Damien talk about their former spouse to any degree. This isn't mentioned in any other route as well.
  • Multiple Endings: A staple of this game's genre. Every dad has one Good Ending, and one Bad Ending. Which ending you find yourself in depends mostly on how you rank in the dates, and if you succeed a certain event in each route. Special mention goes to Robert, as he is the only dad to have three obtainable endings instead of two. Which ending you find yourself getting all depends on whether you sleep with him the first night you meet him, as doing so locks you into a route with only one outcome, no matter what you do, or what choices you make on the main route's third date, especially in regards to Robert's advances and emotional volatile state.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Brian, Craig, and Joseph have these in the form of Death Endings. These outcomes primarily only happen by choosing the obvious bad answer. Joseph's, however, isn't quite as easy. These endings each have an achievement corresponding to them, and will bring the player back to just before they messed up, with the obvious bad choice no longer listed as an option.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: If you want to get the good ending for romancing Robert, you can't sleep with him the first chance you get.
  • Off the Rails: On your third date with Robert, the two of you crash Quinn's midnight ghost walk pretending to be paranormal investigators, and proceed to derail Quinn's rather mundane ghost stories with Robert's fantastic "cryptid" hunting tales at every tour stop.
  • Older Than They Look: While none of the dads have a stated age, all of the dads have this to varying degrees. If you didn't know that they all seem to have at least one kid at or above the age of 10, it wouldn't be too hard to believe they're young adults at most. Downplayed with Robert, who does show a bit of age to him when compared to the other dads.
  • One-Hour Work Week: The MC's job is never specified, and he sure spends a lot of time at home. On your second date with Craig he mentions putting on a shirt from a Writers' Summit he attended 20 years ago, so he might be a writer.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with a vengeance in the Emmas (Emma P., Emma R., and Emma S.), Amanda's friends whom even the player character has a difficult time keeping track of. There's also Chris, Christie, Christian, and Crish Christiansen.
  • Parent with New Paramour:
    • Naturally. The player character and all the dateable dads have children. How well your love interest's offspring react to your new relationship varies on the route, but Amanda herself is very supportive of you.
    • Both Carmensita and Daisy will play Shipper on Deck, though often unintentionally, pushing situations that make the player and either Brian or Mat together.
  • Precision F-Strike: There's very little adult language in the game beyond "hell" or "shit", and the MC repeatedly chides Amanda for using bad language; so when Ernest kicks him and he exclaims "OW FUCK MY KNEE", you know he's hurt.
  • Queer Romance: You're a single dad whose goal is to romance other single dads.
  • Pro Wrestling Episode: Hugo's third date takes place at a wrestling match, after the MC discovers he is a fan of it.
  • Romancing the Widow: You are the widower in question. Your spouse passed away some time before the beginning of the game. Mat and Robert are also widowers.
  • RPG Episode: Issue 5 of the comics has the dads play a "popular but nondescript" fantasy tabletop game.
  • Schmuck Bait: As tempting as it may be, selecting the “Bad Cop” option will only make Craig’s infant daughter cry.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Schrödinger's Question: In the opening scene you can choose the gender of the MC's late spouse and whether Amanda is his biological or adoptive daughter.
  • Story Branching: Robert is the only dad in the game that has two, completely different routes. Depending on whether or not you sleep with him the first night, if you decide to go out to the bar during Amanda's sleepover, his three dates will end up different. Coincidentally, the route and ending you get if you sleep with Robert the first night is considered by the game to be the "No Romance" route/ending.
  • Suburbia: The setting is a peaceful cul-de-sac in a friendly neighborhood.
  • Surprisingly Creepy Moment: Robert’s second date starts off fairly normal in the woods at night. He tries freaking you out by making up a story about him being in the woods alone with his dog. Suddenly, you both hear a disturbing howl from deep in the woods and see a figure in the distance. Not wanting to take any chances, both of you promptly hop back in his truck and drive home. This is one of the few creepy moments in the game, which is mostly focused on romance and comedy.
  • There Is Only One Bed: Or moreso "There is Only One Sleeping Bag," this trope happens on Craig's third date. The MC discovers right when the two were ready to call it a night on their first night camping that he forgot to pack another sleeping bag. The MC volunteers to sleep on the floor, while Craig takes the sleeping bag, but Craig insists he's fine with sharing. This occurrence is the catalyst that causes Craig and the MC to admit their mutual attraction to one another.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: This pops up several times throughout the games, mainly during dates.
    • When you meet Brian in the park, the player character will enter a Pokémon battle with him when it comes to bragging about their daughters. It looks like a genuine Pokemon battle, sprites and all, and you have to use the 'Brag' and 'Item' commands to take down Brian's HP.
    • In Brian's route, you'll have to play a tedious mini-golf game that relies on you hitting the ball off angled partitions in order to get it into the hole. There's an achievement for getting all holes in one.
    • Also in Brian's route, there is a tile-matching game with fish during the second date.
    • Damien's first date involves a puzzle-style assembly game.
    • Hugo's route has you play a top-down arcade shooter on the first date as you repel penguins.
    • The first date of Mat's route includes an Auto-Scrolling Frogger-esque minigame, with the goal of surviving to the end of the timer.
    • An update added a minigame to the second date of Robert's route where the player uses a knife to "whittle" pieces of wood, and then tells Robert what the player thinks the resulting wood sculptures look like.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: World's Okayest Dad, the achievement gained from experiencing Amanda's Bad Ending, was this with the game's initial release. It had the second lowest achievement rating out of all the achievements, second only to the one achievement that, at the time, was completely unobtainable by any means outside of cheating. The first Dream Daddy patch on July 30th, 2017, made this ending far easier to gain afterwards, though the devs poked fun at the players for wanting this ending to be easier to achieve.
  • Welcome Episode: The player can meet all the dads beforehand, but if they didn't, the barbecue functions as this as Joseph introduces the rest of the dads to him and officially welcomes him to the neighborhood.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: The Christiansens evoke this stereotype, as they're implied to be an upper-middle-class white family whose patriarch is a youth minister. Joseph is nothing but welcoming to the player character, though, and is on good terms with the other dads in the neighborhood, but his home life leaves much to be desired.