Behaviour Interactive is the horror savants behind the incredibly fun Dead by Daylight, a game that pits a monstrous Killer against four Survivors. In DBD, the Survivors are attempting to repair generators and distract the Killer in order to open the exit gates and escape the match. However, even when the Survivors do manage to escape, they’re forced to face off against another Killer in a never-ending loop.
That’s how the lore in DBD started when the game was released a little over six years ago. In that time the game exploded into a live-service horror icon, amassing tens of thousands of players daily. To evolve the experience for both Survivors and Killers, Behaviour has added a variety of new lore mechanics to the game, mostly revolving around the Tomes that contain new lore information.
With this evolution of lore for all of its characters, it makes sense that the developer would have a lot to draw from if they wanted to make any number of spin-off games. While the announcement of Hooked on You: A Dead by Daylight Dating Sim was originally treated as a joke, many players were surprised to find out that the game was definitely real and in current development.
Many of the players of Dead by Daylight who’d been around since the beginning were surprised, but no one was really against the idea for the game. Many in the community are already thirsty for the different characters in the game, so building a game off that craving from the audience only makes sense. That doesn’t necessarily make it a cash grab, as long as the game is done right and pleases its audience.
Whether or not Hooked on You scratches that itch really depends on what you’re looking for or expected from the game. There are a lot of classic dating sim staples like picking your partner and minigames that show your worth to those potential partners. However, the game doesn’t really take any big swings mechanically, instead relying on the same kind of mini-game and dialogue choices throughout.
The game starts pretty simply, with the player washed up on a beach on a tropical island, with no idea who they are or how they got to the island. All you know is that you can hear an omniscient Narrator and the living Ocean arguing back and forth. Then the player is introduced to four stunning killers, Huntress, Wraith, Spirit, and Trapper.
Each of these Killers looks like their in-game model if they suddenly cared about how attractive they looked, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Hooked on You has a different art style that looks very similar to other dating simulators like the Monster Prom series. This works in the game’s favor, as the new ways to view the Killers and their personalities are the best parts of the game.
Each of the Killers is very distinct and relies on their own lore from the game, while also having interesting interactions with each other. It’s fun to see how the Killers play off each other’s personalities in a humorous way, making fun of or supporting each other in a way that would never be possible in Dead by Daylight. In that way, this spin-off is a great exploration of the characters in DBD.
The writing, on the other hand, could have used a couple more looks before it was pushed out. While several of the jokes were good enough to draw laughter, there were just as many that felt like a bit much. It doesn’t help when the game makes self-referencing jokes about how bad some of the jokes are. Don’t talk about how bad the joke is, just write a better joke or be happy with the bad one you put in.
There’s a lot of that self-referencing humor and many times it comes in the form of someone arguing with the Narrator, whether it be the Ocean, Dwight, or Claudette. These segments are pretty boring, as they don’t require much from the character other than a lot of reading. Hooked on You spends so much time understanding it’s a game that sometimes it forgets that the game is supposed to be fun.
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t fun to be had in Hooked on You, as there are many moments that work well in the game. It’s just clear how much filler there is to keep each path over an hour long and it’s a shame that those moments exist. Outside of that, the characters are a lot of fun and the different dialogue or mini-games keep it somewhat lively and interesting.
There are only a few types of mini-games in Hooked on You, with one, in particular, repeating more as you get further in the game. The primary game involves a spinning wheel, with the player having to land on the right marker. After each attempt, the wheel will continue to speed up, providing more of a challenge each time. This repeats for five or six times, with the overall score determining how you did.
While it starts out interesting, doing this over and over again becomes tedious very quickly. Not only is the mini-game not that hard, but it’s used for nearly everything in the game. A little diversity in mechanics would have been nice, but it doesn’t necessarily take away from the impact of each new path. Each story is different enough and you can skip through any moments that you’ve already seen.
The Final Word
Hooked on You: A Dead by Daylight Dating Sim will be a lot of fun for fans who’ve spent the last six years growing with the original Dead by Daylight. While the mechanics can become a bit stale near the end of each path, it’s almost worth it to get a closer look at each of the killers that we’ve become so familiar with over the years. Players who are new to the series may want to play the original before trying this one out.