HuniePop is a game that has got a lot of bad rep in the last few months, because of the whole Gamergate controversy, and unjustly so. It’s a dating sim title from a western developer, with quite a bit of sexual content. Still it adds something fresh by featuring a surprisingly deep tile-matching puzzle for the dates.
In HuniePop you play as a nameless male or female who never had luck with picking up girls. One night you meet a sexy women who later shows up in your room. However things are not as they seem, and you realize that this girl is a love fairy called Kyu. A little naughty, racist, stalker love fairy. She is here to help you fix your love life by picking up all the ladies in town.
And there are a bunch of girls to choose from, usually following some stereotype: Nikki the hardcore gamer introvert, Aiko the sluty Asian teacher, Beli an Indian yoga instructor, Jessie the porn actress, Audrey the self centred bitch, just to name a few. This style may not be to everyone’s liking though. These girls fire off profanities left and right, so those that come looking for your typical waifu material, beware.
At its core HuniePop is a dating sim. It’s very reminiscent of the popular flash game Ganguro Girls, many of us are guilty of playing as kids 🙂 You must woo each girl enough times to be able to bring her to your love nest. With the help of the HunieBee, a high tech stalking device, you can see immediately home in on any girl you want. Once you meet up with her you can talk to her in order to learn more about her, such as her height, weight and let’s not forget the bust size. From time to time the girls may ask you questions about them or your habits. Answer correctly and you will get Hunnie points which can be later used to upgrade your stats for the puzzle segments of the game. It’s a fun system which can get a bit awkward at times. For example, sometimes a girl will tell you her bust size only to ask you the same thing in very next question.
However not everything is as easy as it seems. Talking will make your girl hungry, so you either have to buy food she likes or leave for pursuit for another target. If you are at a bar you can even give your girl a drink to loosen her up a bit.
You will need to juggle your dates, as not every girl will always be available. Sometimes a girl is asleep during that portion of the day, at other times she may be out of town for a while. This also allows you to collect money from other dates. Yea, I also don’t know how that even works, my dates usually empty my wallet.
What sets apart HuniePop from other visual novels and dating sims is that this game has actual gameplay. Inviting a girl to a date starts up a tile-matching mini-game where it’s your goal to fill up the affection meter. I bet some of you are thinking “What is this casual filth doing in my dating sim” but bare with me, the matching game here has quite a bit of depth.
You can move any bubbles horizontally or vertically as long as you match three or more bubbles in a row or column. This is a pretty nifty system which prevents bubbles from getting stuck at the bottom or sides and always gives you a handful of possible moves. To keep things challenging you only have 20 moves to succeed at the date. This means you can play at your own pace and plan out each move carefully.
There is quite a variety of bubbles on the board each with a different color and function: Orange (Romance), Blue (Talent), Green (Flirtation) and Red (Sexuality). Depending on your date she may prefer one type over the other, racking in more points if you link the bubbles of that type. Better yet, linking up 4 or more bubbles gives you a chance of spawning a special bubble worth much more points.
However the depth doesn’t end there. Aside from the 4 basic bubble types there are also 4 additional bubbles which change how the match plays out. Pink bubbles increase your passion level which in turn gives you more points for every bubble you pop. Gold bells give you an extra turn. Purple hearts on the other hand greatly reduce your affection meter so it’s in your best interest to keep these from coming into contact with one another. Finally you have Tear Drop. Chaining these up increases sentiment, which allows you to give gifts on your date. Gifts play a vital role, as they can have many different functions. For example, they can destroy all bubbles of a specific type, or give you other bonuses which makes these sections a lot easier. After each date you gain Munie depending on how well you did. This allows you to buy food, alcohol and gifts for the girls.
Despite its content, HuniePop’s erotic content isn’t as hardcore as some may have come to belive. Aside from the periodic skimpy bikini, the naughty content comes in the form of lewd images your girlfriend sends you on the phone as well as a single image after you finally bring the girl back home. There are two versions of the game, the Steam version and the aptly named Steamy version. Even if you opt for the censored Steam version, you can still download the 0kb patch to uncesnor the game.
There are quite a few unlockables here. Gifting specific items to a girl unlocks other hairstyles and outfits. And aside from the nine standard girls you can unlock three secret ones, including a catgirl, alien and a goddess.
The game is on the short side, taking just 10 hours to unlock everything. Despite this it can get repetitive at times, since you will be going through the same five dates with each of the girls, so its best played in shorter bursts.
The visuals are a mixed bag. The backgrounds look great and there are a lot of distinct places to visit such as the mall, university, beach, bar, cafe and gym. The artwork in the game can also look really good. However the character art is all over the place, some look good while others not so. Their clothes are generally too revealing from the get go instead of slowly becoming more suggestive as you get to know them.
HuniePop is fully voiced. While there are the occasional questionable lines, all the voice actors do an exceptional job with their characters. You can definitely hear that this visual novel didn’t come from Japan, as the English voice acting fits more naturally with the dialog.
Ultimately HuniePop is a refreshing title. It may not be a 100 hour deep look into the workings of a relationship that some may have come to expect from their visual novels, but is nevertheless an enjoyable puzzle game with a lot to offer. If you are a fan of dating sims you might want to have a go at HuniePop, but if you are easily offended it be best to steer clear of this one.