The dating scene can be an unpredictable, anxiety-inducing beast. What better way to alleviate this, then, than by introducing one of the most cheerful, loveable creatures on the planet to the mix: the beloved doggo. Best Friend Forever is effectively a hybrid game, splitting your duties between looking after your own pet dog and heading out into the town to meet potential love interests.

The game kicks off with your chosen character arriving into the area of Rainbow Bay, where pretty much everyone owns their very own dog. There isn’t a whole lot of choice when it comes to picking your character; you can choose which pronouns you’d like to be identified by, your name, star sign, blood type, and… that’s about it. Visually, you have a choice of 3 character designs, all of which sport baby pink hair, but conspicuously lack many other discernible features.

The game prompts your character to download ‘Woofr’, a dating app for dog lovers. Setting this up requires you to go through a cringe-inducing questionnaire that’s clearly designed to elicit laughs rather than actually find out anything about you, and this, unfortunately, falls completely flat (a few of the questions almost cross the line into being genuinely insulting). It’s only when the game really gets going and you’ve picked your own pet pooch that things begin to liven up a bit.

Caring for your dog requires little micro-management, thankfully. As you interact with other residents in the area, you might need to calm your dog down with a few strokes or dump its waste in a recycling bin. The game can be played via the touch screen or with an on-screen cursor, so most of these actions feel rather effortless, and they don’t happen too frequently. Most of your care comes after you’re done chasing love, and you’ll need to ensure your dog is fed and cleaned sufficiently before putting it to bed for the night. Its feelings and needs are displayed via handy stat bars, so it’s always easy to discern what actions you need to take on any given day.

The dating scene itself is quite basic for the most part. The game displays a map, with which you can choose which of the game’s characters you’d like to interact with – either through a chance encounter, or a proper date. These scenes essentially play out like a visual novel (with the occasional poop from your dog), with minimal player choice other than a few dialogue branches here and there. Through our experience with the game, courting your chosen love interest is about as easy as simply meeting them on a frequent basis; it doesn’t really matter how your conversations play out, so long as you’re merely present.

It’s quite telling that caring for your pooch is generally more fun than the visual novel side of the game, but even this can get repetitive and monotonous after a while. Best Friend Forever is an admirable hybrid of two seemingly disparate genres, but both sides of the game suffer from a lack of variety as a result.