Genre: RPG, Indie, Strategy, Sim, Parody
Platform: PC (Steam)
Rating: M (for Mature)
Release Date: January 19th,2015
It has come to my attention I live in a very sheltered video game world.
I say this because I had received the game HuniePop by developer HuniePot just shortly after the release from a friend. I hadn’t really played it at all, since I assumed my friend who gave it to me was just picking on my strange relationship with dating sims and anime visual novels. It sat in my Games list on Steam for a long time, gathering dust as I scrolled by it to play other gems I had acquired during the whole first quarter of the year. Slowly but surely, the comment/review queue in HuniePop’s Steam store grew longer and longer while I remained blissfully unaware. It wasn’t until my friend pointed out that I had 0 hours playing it despite all the great things he’s read about it. So I went and read the highlighted views on Steam.
“Why haven’t I played this game yet?” I asked myself, before promptly downloading it and starting it up.
HuniePop is an adult hybrid game that takes a unique approach to entertaining people. When I say, “unique” what I really mean is insane, because this game is anything but your typical dating sim. The best way to describe HuniePop is that it is literally a semi-pornographic dating sim parody with a load of tile matching involved. Of course, I make it sound shallow describing it like that. There’s clearly more depth to the game than that, but you wouldn’t normally think so given how cleverly absurd the game is. Some people would tell you that HuniePop is a terrible game that reinforces racial stereotypes and gives people the wrong idea about how relationships work. And they’d be partially true.
But that’s the beauty of HuniePop in a nutshell. The game doesn’t take itself seriously – if you think it does, you need to step back and relax. It’s full of Internet and anime references, falling short of being a full-on hentai simulation. What it does is reach down into your inner being; deep, deep down into your heart where the basest sense of humor and entertainment reside. It then takes everything you know to be logical about dating and … scoring … with a female human being and turns it on its ear. After completing the game, that dark part of your heart thanks you profusely for being able to have some time in the fresh air before retreating back to its gloomy home.
The plot of HuniePop (yes, there is a story) is that you are the loneliest of social reprobates who has never scored with a woman, even though the entire thing opens with you in a bar drinking. An unknown girl starts talking to you, goading you into making bad conversation choices (trust me, none of the three responses in every exchange are good) to the point where she takes a special interest in you. Turns out, this girl is actually a love fairy who makes you her special project. Come hook or crook, she’s going to help you become a babe magnet and sex machine. Thus, you meet eight girls in rapid succession, and the fairy tasks you to lure each one into your bed.
Gameplay is rather simplistic, although there is a lot there to work with. First of all, you have a device called that is part Blackberry and part tracker that turns you into some sort of genius stalker. It records every detail about the girl involved as you find out about them. And this is where it gets weird – the things you must ask the girl are things you know you should NEVER ask the girl. Like what is her cup size, or her age, or her weight. Don’t worry, though, since each girl doesn’t seem to mind these questions and will answer truthfully. All of this is essential, though, as each girl will randomly quiz you about those facts you collected during your talks with her.
The device also lets you buy gifts, foods and drinks for each girl. Each of these things add up to successful interactions with the girls, even if the gifts are somewhat stereotypical and racist to some degree. For example, one woman is an Asian physics professor whose unique gifts include chopsticks and other stereotypical Asian items. There is a Hispanic stylist who loves Mexican gifts such as maracas and sombreros. Each girl also has a food bar that depletes with every discussion, so if you want to talk to her, you need to feed her a food she likes. The African American flight attendant loves watermelon, which leads to moments of WTF and OMG. Furthermore, every girl has a preferred drink and set alcohol tolerance. You are allowed – no, ENCOURAGED – to get women drunk while talking to them to make the whole experience more successful. Just be careful, though – many gifts/food/drink types overlap, and you only get so many of each type a day before the store runs out.
The goal is to have as many successful interactions with each girl as possible. Whether it’s giving her a great unique gift to double your success, or giving her a gift with a heart on it (it’s part of her two lifestyles), or answering questions correctly, or just starting conversations, you earn something called Hunie points. These points can be used to improve your Traits, which are used in dates. The traits include Romance, Flirtation, Talent, and Seduction. Each corresponds to a color of bubble (which I will describe later). Traits can also reduce the loss of Affection, drive up Passion and earn Sentiment. With each advance in a trait, it becomes more and more expensive. It becomes absolutely vital in the later game to be more and more successful at interactions purely to raise your Traits to win on dates.
Which leads us to the entire DATE portion of the dating simulation. It’s not really a simulation of any kind, since the girl automatically accepts any invitation to go on dates with your character. Once on the date, you head off to a special location and a game board pops up. Bubbles of different colors fill the board and your job is to make as many big point matches as you possibly can to fill up what is called her Affection meter. Every girl has a favorite type of bubble and a least favorite kind of bubble, so you try to make as many matches centering on the favorite bubble type. The blonde cougar MILF, for example, loves Seduction most, and likes Romance least. You spend a great deal of time trying to make favorite matches, or large chains (four to five bubbles in a row) to score the most Affection possible. Once her Affection meter is filled, the date is successfully over. The twist is that each date only has 20 turns to do so. While at first this may seem rather easy, with each successful date after the first, the amount of Affection required goes up substantially. This is why you need to keep pushing up your Traits. Failure doesn’t end the game, but it means you have to try at a later date.
There are other types of tiles … err, bubbles in the game as well. There are golden bells that signify Joy, and they give you a free turn. There are blue teardrops that raise your Sentiment, allowing you to play Date Gifts you earn during interactions to alter/cheat in the date game. There’s hearts – the pink kind are Passion, which increase your scoring modifier; while the purple ones are broken hearts which subtract points from your score. This is a first for me – in all the tile games I’ve played, I have never had to avoid making matches to win. Date Gifts can alter purple hearts to Passion hearts, and there’s a trait that lowers their impact. Needless to say, it’s amusing, since making matches makes the girl standing klonopin online off to the side offer strange commentary, usually cheering or moaning seductively.
You need to have four successful dates with each girl before you can … as the love fairy says, “bang” her senseless. The other stipulation is the last date must be at night before you can take her home to your place. The entire game changes then – the girl strips down to her underwear and you try to make as many matches as possible to raise the bar to the max, simulating sexual intercourse. If you pause, the bar goes back down, so it’s a madhouse of clicking insanely, trying to make dozens of chains. In a way, it’s hilarious trying to concentrate with all the sexy racket the girl is making in the background. Once you’ve … scored, there’s no reason to keep talking to or dating the woman in question. She’s conquered game-wise. Of course, you might keep doing it to unlock more hairstyles, outfits and selfies. That’s another thing – the game has a collectable side, where there’s a plethora of outfits, hairstyles, panties and phone selfies you might want see. However, to end the game, you just need to bag the eight main babes. Of course, there are also secret babes and a chance to score on the love fairy. If you are interested in being a completest, that is.
The most entertaining thing about HuniePop is that it’s a well done game. The art is good, the voice acting is mostly good (I hate the self-proclaimed “bitch’s” voice), the game is somewhat addictive. The humor is not only bizarre, but completely subjective – I found the love fairy’s completely inappropriate comments that were borderline racist to be hilarious at times. It’s not meant to be taken seriously – it’s meant to be the exact parody of a dating sim, to the point of completely ridiculous. Although the game can get repetitious (how many times can I answer the same question by the Indian Yoga instructor?), there’s enough depth and gameplay to spend 20 hours playing this $10 game. I’ve heard it called a “wankfest,” and that might be true if you are into cartoon nudity. It’s definitely not a kid’s game.
Nathan is a 40-ish year-old gamer, father and programmer. His hobbies are board games, video games and watching his son. He wrote for http://www.ironmanmode.com/ for the years of 2012 and 2013 to make money for Child's Play. He has been basically playing games since the 1980's in one form or another. His very first favorite video game was actually an arcade game called Dig Dug. He has played every generation of video game console (including the Magnavox Odyssey)