I already gushed about Dr PinkCakes adult VN Acting Lessons. The follow-up Being a DIK is bigger, even more ambitious, and probably a lot closer to the real-world experience of many guys than the retired-crypto-bro story hook of its predecessor. Being a DIK seemingly has its origin in a joke in Acting Lessons as “delta iota kappa” is the fraternity both the MC and his best friend attended. It is a coming-of-age story of a young man coming from a poor family who leaves home in order to attend a reputable university that just so happens to be within in easy driving distance from home. The university, Burgmeister & Royce has a name befitting a fast-food joint or perhaps a department store. This should not distract from the experience but if you pay attention to such details, it helps you not to take the story too seriously.
In Acting Lessons, there is as relatively inconsequential system that allows you to pick the main character trait (athletic, charismatic, or well-read). The differences are quite subtle, so much so that you can basically ignore it. In Being a DIK, on the other hand, there is an adaptive morality system. Depending on in-game choices your character makes, your personality slowly gets pushed towards a particular direction. If you act “alpha” all the time, even comically starting fights on a whim, you will turn into a dick/DIK. Chickening out, on the other hand, makes you a — you guessed it! — CHICK. There is also a neutral path. The important aspect is that after a while, you need to commit to the path you have chosen as the game will refuse to let you make various choices that would conflict with your character. This is sometimes indicated by a greyed-out dialogue box, and the hint that you need, e.g. “DIK affinity” for a certain action, or by the game locking you out of certain conversational trees and entire plot lines altogether.
Being a DIK is a mostly light-hearted game that covers typical genre tropes. There is no shortage of college sluts ready to take your dick, and there are rivaling fraternities, too: jocks (triple-alpha), geeks (triple-beta), rich kids (alpha-nu-omega), and sluts (HOTS, or eta-omicron-tau). Some of the humor is quite crass. Admittedly, a few scenes are laugh-out-loud funny as this game goes to an extreme that the mainstream would not dare going anywhere near.
The story of the game is, as of now, incomplete. There are two seasons with four episodes each. If you are a Patreon backer, or don’t mind sailing the high seas, you can also play a pretty superfluous interlude as well as a ninth episode. In essence, you are the new guy at college and you try to establish yourself, meaning that you make some male friends and chase after sluts. This being a zany college simulator, you also get to attend lectures. There is a running gag about you taking gender studies, which is one segment that could have been cut short or removed altogether as it is a bit repetitive. It does set up a subplot of you banging the female professor, though, but even as a means to an end it was not well handled. As of now, it is not clear if the story even goes anywhere. Presumably, as long as Dr PinkCake gets money from his backers there will be more episodes.
The game gives you five main girls to choose from, and over a dozen side pieces. In a single playthrough, you will only get to see a faction of the total content. On top, your “affinity” determines your choices. At least two of the main girls, for instance, will refuse your advances if you are too alpha. I have not played with “CHICK affinity” yet, so I do not know how realistic those stories are. In my first playthrough I somehow ended up with a character at maximum DIK affinity. I am really not sure how it happened, but it did. This lets you do a few things you otherwise couldn’t. Yet, it is not quite believable that there would be other women throwing themselves at you if you were just a bit more of a pussy.
At the end of season 2 you can decide to enter a relationship with one of the girls you have been romancing, or pursue “others” instead. If you pick the former option, it seems the game is mocking you in episode 9 as it throws a lot of party sluts at you, but takes the option away to engage in any lewd activities with them. On top, you do not even get to bang your main girl until the very end. Based on what I read, Being a DIK is supposed to have four seasons, and if you are supposed to be in a relationship in most of the story paths for the second half of the game, then I am not sure how well this game will turn out as the ninth episode was significantly weaker than the others as you are busy telling chicks who pull down your pants to suck your dick that you are not that kind of guy. It’s a bit ridiculous. It could also be that Dr PinkCake considers the “others” path the main one and did not think that his audience would play Being a DIK as a pretty bad relationship simulator.
Acting Lessons had a problem with plot twists and an overburdening plot. Being a DIK is a bit better in this regard. The plot is more straightforward, albeit there are some detours, such as college sluts prostituting themselves for money, or drug abuse. It is not clear to me whether some of these story arcs have not unfolded properly because of the story choices in my playthrough, though. If these arcs were simply thrown out there and abandoned, then it is not done well. There are two major plot twists, and in relatively short succession. I do not want to spoil them, but while one is not completely unbelievable, the other is completely bizarre. It ties several of the characters together in a way that is unexpected and also extremely unlikely. In fact, this particular plot twist comes across as a poor attempt at a “retcon”. To make it believable, there would at least have to have been a few hints in earlier episodes. I have the impression that Being a DIK was probably supposed to end after season 2, and perhaps there was supposed to only be four episodes, i.e. one “season”. With that particular plot twist, a lot of chaos gets added to the plot as it changes your perception of some characters. Presumably, this will be partly resolved in the remaining two seasons. In episode 9, however, this was not really followed up on.
The story is meandering. At first you take classes and start casually dating one or two sluts. Then you want to get accepted into a frat. Yet, afterwards, college life almost takes a backseat and you are spending all the time on frat activities. I think the explanation is that Being a DIK was not supposed to be a decade-long project. Instead, it was turned into a seasonal game after piles of money started coming in via Patreon. Now, Dr PinkCake seems to simply want to get this project going instead of embarking on a riskier third game. I mentioned above that the interlude after season 2 is superfluous. In it, you play the MC’s teenage love interest who moves to California in order to “find herself”, and she returns with tattoos all over her body. The sex scenes in the interlude are a not to my liking as you take on a female perspective. Thus, you probably want to keep a book or sheet of paper nearby to cover the screen because straight sex scenes from the female POV feel pretty gay.
In order to keep Being a DIK going, there is a lot of padding. There are a lot of mini games (do yourself a favor and disable them!) that take a lot of time but do not add anything meaningful to the game. Some are incredibly tedious. There are also “free-roam” segments where you need to do certain tasks to advance the story. These parts make up the most boring point-and-click adventure game you have ever played. Sometimes, navigation is a bit of an issue as you are clicking through 2D images. Sometimes, it is not immediately clear how some areas are connected. This was largely fixed later in the game via the introduction of a fast-travel sidebar. The only remaining problem is that this sidebar does not always show all relevant areas. Another problem is that there are too many characters to fully flesh them out. The game tries to do that, but in the end there is simply too much content. I found myself getting pretty burnt out towards the end of the second season, even though I had spread out my playthrough over four or five weeks, and I kept wondering why there needed to be so many conversations with characters that have little relevance to the story.
I really enjoyed one kind of padding, though: the nerds at Burgmeister & Royce sometimes play a tabletop RPG, and this is where Dr PinkCake goes all out with bizarre humor. These parts are so good that they could be their own game. I find these parts better than the main game. A few five-hour campaigns with more of this content I would be quite happy to spend some money on. The short RPG campaigns in Being a DIK are very well written and they come across as a condensed version of the main game, of course placed in a medieval fantasy setting. Conversations are shorter, the number of relevant choices is higher, and there is a lot more happening, too. To give you a simple example: you may enter a town to stock up on supplies for your journey. Then you are given the choice of spending money on food or hookers. If you are prudent and get the food, you will not get to enjoy lewd scenes with the hookers, and if you have a greater interest in the local hookers, your party will have a tougher time in the very near future. The choices are meaningful and immediate, instead of consequences playing out many hours later. Thus, the pacing is far better than in the main game.
Despite the criticism above, Being a DIK is, by and large, a very good visual novel. Dr PinkCake works alone, and this may be a bit of a problem. I think he would be a lot better off with a good editor that helped him with keeping his story focused. Quite a few story arcs are extremely padded. It simply does not add a lot if a side girl that disappears after a while anyway gets a lot of screen time just so that you learn that she is really not a random whore but instead a much more complex character who has good reasons for her slutty behavior. This is not relevant in real life, and in a game that is already many dozens of hours long, despite it being only about halfway done, this may make you want to not keep playing. Pace yourself if you want to play this game. A lot of what is there is really good but there are some lows. I rate season 1 a 10/10, season 2 an 8/10 and the season 3 content that has been released so far a 7/10.