RPGs have always been my favorite genre of video games, but when I’m not delving into dungeons, fighting gods, and saving the world, I love a good multiplayer game. One of my favorites is Dead by Daylight. I love playing as some of my favorite slasher characters and chasing my friends around. Still, sometimes I want to play a single-player story-driven game and hang out with my favorite villains and monsters. With that in mind, I couldn’t have been more excited for Hooked on You: a Dead by Daylight Dating Sim.
Hooked on You provides a break from the dark swamps and creepy churches of Dead by Daylight and instead treats us to a tropical beach resort. The beach locale is complete with volleyball, a campfire, and a host of murderers that are single and ready to mingle.
While Dead by Daylight has a huge cast of 26 killers and 24 survivors, Hooked on You is limited to a more intimate group. There are four datable killers and two survivors for you to torment. Our eligible bachelors include:
Huntress, an axe-throwing killer that just wants to cook a mean stew and cuddle up with you.
Trapper, the cruelest killer of the bunch, but maybe he has a soft spot deep down.
Wraith, the nice, shy killer, who swears he’s going to find a way off the island.
Spirit, the goth chick with a cold exterior, but maybe you can warm her heart.
A few other killers from Dead by Daylight make cameo appearances throughout Hooked on You, but only these four are potential partners. Each character is drawn with a brand-new vacation outfit that maintains their identity while adding a dash of fun to their typically dour appearance.
I was disappointed that so few characters appeared in the game. While I expected that licensed Dead by Daylight killers like Michael Myers and Freddy Kreuger wouldn’t make the cut, tons of original killers were absent as well. I was sad that I didn’t get to see either of my favorites (Legion and Plague) at all during my playthroughs. Survivor fans got the short end of the stick, as only a pair of them (Claudette and Dwight) appear in the game at all.
As you participate in resort activities like cooking and drinking, you’ll have a chance to get to know the killers better. You’ll want to brush up on your minigame skills, as many activities and dates involve a simple minigame, and good performances can impress your killer of choice. The minigames generally involve stopping a spinning wheel in the correct place, similar to the generator minigame in Dead by Daylight.
One frustrating element of Hooked on You is that you don’t get much time to get to know the killers before you need to pick one to focus on. To get the romantic ending for each killer, you need to spend most of the game with them, both to build enough relationship points to get the romantic ending, and to know enough about your potential lover to answer questions when the game quizzes you about them. In my first playthrough, I had decided to romance Spirit by the end of the first day, but I still couldn’t quite get the good ending. Fortunately, a playthrough only takes a couple of hours, so it’s not too much of a setback.
While it’s nice that Hooked on You is so short (since there are 10+ possible endings), it doesn’t leave a ton of time for character development. The game relies on your familiarity with the killers going in, which isn’t the end of the world, given that it’s a spin-off game. But most Dead by Daylight players aren’t overly familiar with the lore. It’s annoying to have the killers in Hooked on You reference something that doesn’t quite make sense unless you search the Dead by Daylight wiki.
It doesn’t help that Hooked on You spends so much of its script on meta jokes. It feels like there’s a joke every third line, which cuts into time that could have been spent on character development in a script that’s already short. I also didn’t jive with the game’s sense of humor. Many jokes poke fun at the game’s silly concept, but the game would have appealed to me more if it just embraced being a dating sim instead of constantly making fun of itself. There were a few genuinely funny moments, but there were more groan-inducing jokes than ones that got a chuckle out of me.
The short script is a shame because the more serious character moments were some of the better parts of the game. I enjoyed listening to Wraith open up to me about his past or Spirit talk about her insecurities, but these moments are often short or interrupted by comedy segments. You also spend a shocking amount of time talking to the faceless narrator in Hooked on You. The game feels like it wants to be a comedy, but the jokes didn’t land often enough for that to work.
The endings in Hooked on You are also a mixed bag. I enjoyed all of the romantic and secret endings, but the friendship endings make little sense. In one of the romantic routes, you meet your chosen killer’s parent about dating them, and your would-be lover talks about you showing them what love truly is. Despite this, if you haven’t built their hidden romance score high enough to get the romantic ending, they do a very sudden 180 and the game ends. The only difference between the romantic ending and the friend ending is the final two minutes of the game.
While the script didn’t quite impress me, I loved the visuals that Hooked on You had to offer. After running and hiding from these killers in Dead by Daylight, it was nice to see them in a more casual, colorful environment. The character art is gorgeous, and the backgrounds are well done. My only complaint about the art is that I wish there were more of it. Each character has several poses, but there are only a handful of characters. You will have seen the bulk of the character art in your first 30 minutes with the game. As a result, even though the art is a high point, it becomes a little stale after your first playthrough.
There’s a certain novelty to Hooked on You that makes it easy to recommend to Dead by Daylight superfans, particularly those that are into the lore. For your casual Dead by Daylight fan, or dating simulator fan, there’s just not enough meat on the bone here. The writing isn’t bad in the moments where the script isn’t stuffed to the gills with jokes, but the occasional shining moments don’t add up to a compelling narrative, leading to an ultimately forgettable experience.