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Review: Raptor Boyfriend Could Be More Absurd

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Calling all monster appreciators! Have you ever fantasized about kissing a dinosaur on the lips? Have you ever wondered about what it would be like for a bigfoot to hold you in his giant hairy arms? Well, wonder no longer, since you can make that your reality in Raptor Boyfriend. Despite the game’s tongue-in-cheek nature and objectively funny premise, Raptor Boyfriend is a surprisingly serious and sincere dating sim once you get past the visuals. However, the sheer amount of melodramatic angst starts to drag the narrative down with the speed of a extinction event meteor.

First of all, before we start, I would like to note that the development team behind Raptor Boyfriend consists of only three people. This is an impressive game and achievement for such a small group! As such, I played the game with that in mind. This is also why I brushed aside some minor technical issues and lack of meaningful dialog branches. In fact, for how small a development team, the game feels quite polished. I will say that I wish the menu was easier to navigate, since I sometimes did not know where my cursor was. Some things I felt should be intuitive, like pressing B to fully exit the menu, are absent in the game.

The story of Raptor Boyfriend is fairly simple. You play as a girl named Stella, who moves to Ladle with her father after the death of her grandmother. Ladle (which is obviously a reference to Forks, Washington) is full of cryptids. On her first day of school, she befriends Robert (a raptor), Taylor (a bigfoot), and Day (a fae). Oddly enough, Day is the only character from the main trio who seems to lack a direct Twilight reference in her name. The three of them become friends, and the rest of the game focuses on Stella’s attempt to date one of them. The game employs a narrative in which Stella looks back on the year. Personally, I felt like there were way too many comments from “future Stella,” which negatively affected the overall pacing of the game.

For a game that focuses so much on the characters, I found them unbearable when in a group. When Stella was one-on-one with them, it was not so bad. But once they were together, it was very difficult to believe they were friends. None of them seemed to converse with each other. When they did, the dialog felt forced. Every chapter follows the same format. The group hangs out together and then makes plans for later. Before those plans, Stella has some time to call and hang out with a love interest of her choice. Choosing who to hang out with is the only choice you make that has any real meaning. It does not appear that the dialog options actually affect how much they like you. All of the hangouts end on a negative note, and then the chapter ends.

raptor boyfriend choices

It also became more difficult to sympathize with them or Stella as the game progressed. The most egregious example followed an argument that threatened to drive the friend group apart right before Christmas. Stella is really worried about this. But, she also points out that this split might sabotage her chances to get with one of them. It felt like all she cared about was getting a kiss and a partner, rather than genuine concern over the potential collapse of her friend group. Because the it doesn’t feel like a real friend group, there was no tension in the split. It also felt unbelievable that someone like Stella could have the charisma to act as the glue in such a situation.

That leads to something I constantly wondered about as I played Raptor Boyfriend. The game is a satire, but how much of the game was genuine? Obviously, the idea of dating a raptor is ridiculous, and the way the game frames him as a really sexy character is a joke. But the way that the game deals with each character’s growing pains and trauma is something you have to take seriously. Stella clearly has some sort of social anxiety, given quickly she spirals in crowds, and the game does a pretty good job in portraying it. The situations that trigger it can seem minor, but you have to remember that these characters are in high school. I certainly remember how everything felt world-shattering when I was that age.

Stella is intensely uncool. Almost every piece of her dialog is desperately cringy. Her friends are not any better. So her gushing about how cool everyone is and how much attention they pay her got tiring fast. While I can believe that this is part of the satire – that Stella is so uncool that these objectively uncool characters seem cool in comparison – I could not tell if this was the writers’ intention. The game focused almost exclusively on everyone’s messy personal lives, instead of providing some moments to connect to them as normal people. If we look at other absurd dating sims, such as Dream Daddy, past conflict and trauma were not the only things they talked about. Yet, that’s all that happens in conversations in Raptor Boyfriend. It meant that the general mood for the game was awkward and sour, which honestly did not equal a fun experience.

raptor boyfriend really

I legitimately could not understand Stella’s appeal.

Raptor Boyfriend is a fairly interesting game, though the premise loses its appeal after a while as it becomes a straightforward visual novel. Its linear nature and lack of meaningful dialog options, as well as the frankly generic and trope-filled characters can make it difficult to play more than once unless you like collecting things. Overall though, it is a pretty smooth experience, albeit with some bumpy grammar and consistency. It does a good job at portraying issues like social anxiety and PTSD in a grounded light. Unfortunately, its dour mood and lack of meaningful player choice make it a forgettable experience despite its unforgettable name.

Raptor Boyfriend is available for the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC.

Raptor Boyfriend

6

Despite its ridiculous premise, the plot of Raptor Boyfriend is so cliched and serious that it drags down a lot of its promise.

Food for Thought:
  • A single route took me about 3-4 hours. But since you can skip quite a bit of dialog in your next playthrough, it should take about 8-10 hours to fully complete the game.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend and Dream Daddy are absurdist dating sims and visual novels just like this one but because they leaned into their ridiculous premises way more, they were fun. Raptor Boyfriend ultimately just felt like a normal albeit depressing dating sim past the first scene.
  • Seriously, is Day a reference to a Twilight actor or actress? Or is her name just a reference to the word 'Twilight'?
    If you want to know more, check out Siliconera's review guide.
    Stephanie Liu
    Stephanie is a Canadian writer, translator, anime fan, and gamer who has been writing and gaming ever since she was four. She loves RPGs, simulations, and action games. Big animanga fan and was one of those girls who did school projects on anime. Only exhibits her true power at night. Aside from writing for Siliconera, she translates for light novels and video games.