Best Friend Forever may be the game to fill that aching hole in your heart after your landlord has told you for the fifth time that you can't have pets in the house. The visual novel is both a dog adoption story and (human) dating sim, creating what may well be the cutest game I've ever played—a dangerous power.
You've just moved to Rainbow Bay (voted by Paws Abroad Magazine as the most dog-friendly place on earth), and are ready to start a new life with a new fur-ever friend by your side—and maybe meet a few charming residents along the way.
After you've gone through the tough process of choosing which pup you'd like to adopt, you'll need to learn the ropes of dog care. In the demo available on Steam, I chose Cheeseball, a smart and spritely Shiba Inu who has a cheeky streak underneath all that fur. Over the course of 15 weeks, you'll need to look after and train your new fluffy friend in order to pass Paw Academy, proving you two are a perfect match.
Training events boost your dog's traits represented by various coloured meters and Cheeseball, as much as I cherish her, needed to work on her manners. Walks are also a vital part of dog care, and in Best Friend Forever, they're the best way to spend more time with your pup and run into Rainbow Bay's flirty residents who each have their own four-legged companion.
As you chat with different people, your pup is, quite literally, always by your side. Best Friend Forever puts a twist on the visual novel formula by having your new companion constantly in the corner of your screen, interacting with you as you read—and it's adorable. You can pet your pup with your mouse as you chat, giving them little chin scratches and ear rubs. There are also mini quick-time events mid-conversation like petting them when they're nervous, making sure they behave with other dogs, and putting their poop in the trash can.
Best Friends Forever's demo was released as part of the Steam Game Festival, and there are only a few hours left to check it out. There's no release date set yet, but the Best Friends Forever's Steam page says it's coming soon.
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Rachel had been bouncing around different gaming websites as a freelancer and staff writer for three years before settling at PC Gamer back in 2019. She mainly writes reviews, previews, and features, but on rare occasions will switch it up with news and guides. When she's not taking hundreds of screenshots of the latest indie darling, you can find her nurturing her parsnip empire in Stardew Valley and planning an axolotl uprising in Minecraft. She loves 'stop and smell the roses' games—her proudest gaming moment being the one time she kept her virtual potted plants alive for over a year.