Moving to a new city is always hard, unless of course, you move to Rainbow Bay, the town with the highest dog to human ratio. In Best Friend Forever, you find yourself in that exact scenario; ready to start a new life in this friendliest of dog-friendly cities.
Now, why would you move to the most dog friendly town to ever exist and not get a four-legged friend? In this dating simulator you get the chance to raise and love your very own dog, and you get to adopt (not shop!) the perfect companion. After looking at the dogs available to adopt, I chose the Staffordshire Terrier – having grown up around them, I can’t resist them, even in digital form. You have five sets of stats to improve and level up; Manners, Sociability, Trust, Smarts, and Fitness. This can be done through interactions found on the map, interacting mid-conversation when your dog is scared, excited or aggressive, and through your weekly activities – you can choose five per week.
As you start to grow a companionship with your dog, you begin to explore the city and meet a wide cast of people of all races, sexualities and genders, making for a fairly diverse game. You can interact with the NPCs, and eventually go on dates, before finally choosing who you would like to date, officially. The artwork is full of clean cut lines, and gorgeous scenery; the city looks vibrant, cultured and wild. Every potential love interest has a unique personality with specific interests, as do their dogs. A lot of work has gone into this game to develop and flesh out this diverse range of characters.
While the artwork is stunning, I can’t say the same for the in game text. The story is primarily told through descriptions of your surroundings. While most of it is easy enough to digest and fits with the artwork and vibe of where the story is at, there were instances that read like fanfiction, the kind that gives it a bad name. The worst instance I found was during a character introduction in which you notice their “sculpted pectorals”. That one phrase was all it took to put me off of him being my character’s love interest, and any future interactions with him. While it had moments of making me cringe, for the most part its descriptions were thorough in telling the story.
I also encountered some discrepancies with your dog interacting with people who had already left the screen. While this is not especially an issue, it again distracted from the story being told.
There are several Easter Eggs scattered throughout the scenes and the dialogue, that kept me entertained throughout. These referenced other games, as well as memes from several years ago. I won’t give any away, but if you’ve spent just about any time on Twitter, Tumblr or Reddit, you’ll notice and get a little bit of enjoy out of them.
The game spans the first fifteen weeks of your time in Rainbow City, as you train your dog, and graduate from your training school. Because of this, the game is very short – it took me a little over an hour to finish the story. Furthermore, due to the very linear nature of the game, there is unfortunately no way to really lengthen this. Yan replay and choose a different love interest and thus a new story, but that’s really all there is.