Let’s Review Huniepop

 So I haven’t actually done anything game related in a while, thus I figured I should do a review of the new game that I recently got last week. Which a lot of you have probably heard of already Huniepop.
Now for those who don’t know,Huniepop is a puzzle game that labours under the impression that it’s also a dating sim.Which was kind of a disappointment to me as I backed it on the idea that it was a real dating sim, which is a type of game I happen to enjoy, but there just aren’t enough good adult ones out there. When I say that it’s under the impression that it’s a dating sim I mean that it has some of the window dressing one would associate with a dating sim but none of the functionality.
You do go out with girls sure, you talk to them, ask them questions,buy them gifts, etc. Just like one would expect to do in a dating sim, but none of it has any real effect in the, you know, dating part. Your relationship advances solely through completion of the puzzle game aspects. Talking to the girls and giving them gifts or paying attention to them serves no other purpose than to level grind for XP, which the game calls “hunie”;and that XP is only spent on giving you bonuses to the puzzle game,meaning the dating pretensions are really only an excuse plot to provide a story justification for playing the puzzle game over and over and to explain why you get sexy pics afterwards. Since you get cash from the puzzle date whether you succeed or fail and there are tons of gifts you can buy to score Hunie and other power ups; once you get used to the puzzle game you can max out every girl fairly easily without ever actually talking to them…..and I did.
That's some good characterization there.

That’s some good characterization there.

Talking to the girls amounts to asking them basic questions about themselves such as birthdate, job or measurements, them quizzing you to see whether you remember their answers,and the occasional random question from them chosen from only three or four potential random questions per girl. Whether you get them right or wrong doesn’t really effect anything because it will just come up again later and there’s really no sense of depth or personality to each girl that you can date beyond the superficial stereotype half of them fit into. Nikki is an introverted gamer-girl nerd who wears frumpy and unfashionable clothes and has incredibly limited social skills, because obviously the designers are aware of their target demographic. Audrey is the drug-addled party girl/megabitch who uses her looks to exploit money and gifts from men while treating everyone around her like shit.Who is, for some reason that is never explained apparently good friends with the introverted nerd, despite the only time you see them together being a bitchfight between the two. Jessie is a sex-crazed cougar, Momo is a flighty,energetic catgirl who spends all of her time trying to be increasingly cute, you get my point.Essentially each girl has one character trait played to the hilt and that’s about it.You will never learn anything meaningful about them and you will care about them only in so far as their shallow character trait fits your specific fetish and makes you warm in your private spots.
The four unlockable girls are even padded out in their dialogue by asking you various trivia questions on cats, celestial events and other past things in the game in lieu of anything story-related or getting to know them as characters.
The thing is,there’s literally nothing else to do besides talking to the girls.You literally go from one girl to the next over and over again.There is no point in the game where you are never not conversing with them. Which means you will hear the same dialogue….a lot.At least until you have enough hunie to max out your stats for the puzzle game, which won’t take long if you’re trying to max all of them.Then interacting with them at all becomes utterly irrelevant besides initiating the puzzle game.
In a dating sim the actions that you take and the conversations that you have with the girl are supposed to raise or lower her affections, effecting the outcome of the relationship.Each character has their own unique path and story arc. Endings are dependent upon the girls that you choose, statistics which effect your relationships, time limits and scheduling of your time and resources. You know, things to simulate how dating and such works in real life.
In Huniepop there is none of that.Each girl has the same dialogue interactions.There is no storyline to speak of in the game generally and certainly not one for each girl. For that matter there’s no ending to the game or failure conditions for the relationship. The way that you treat them or talk to them means nothing.You can be the most sexist, emotionally abusive prick you want and as long as you can score a few three in a rows in the puzzle game they’ll still whip off their panties and get on their backs begging for your…..huniepop.
Now, as harsh as I’m being about this, don’t think that the dating sim aspect is bad per se. It really isn’t. Just pointless and shallow. The girls look good, their art design is well done, they all have very distinctive looks which match their personalities.Or at least what little personality they have. Every girl has several unlockable hairstyle and clothing items that they can wear, and the game is good enough to record which answers the girls give to your questions so that you can easily remember them for the inevitable quizzes that come up.
Since the beginning of time man has stared up at the sky and wondered, "Can I tap that?"

Since the beginning of time man has stared up at the sky and wondered, “Can I tap that?”

      They actually put quite a bit of work and polish into what they did and they did it well, it’s just they didn’t do the right things to make it an actual dating sim instead of just tacked on useless shit. And you would think that if you were going to market your game as a dating sim/puzzle game you would at least take the time to play a few dating sims and see how they were put together. There are some games that do blend in dating sims well with other game styles like Persona 3 and 4, or the harvest moon series. In those series the dating sim aspects are an important part of gameplay.Even older dos dating sims like True Love are far, far superior to this. Here you could have removed the dating sim parts, kept the girls and just used the puzzle game to get them to advance a story and the game would have been much tighter and better designed as the dating aspects are really just in the way and again, serve no purpose.
The puzzle game is really what Huniepop is all about. And in that respect it’s actually very nearly perfect.The puzzle portion is essentially just a variant of bejewelled, which isn’t the criticism it probably sounds like because it certainly does make sense to use something as popular and well-loved as bejeweled. And most importantly, they did a good job of copying it, not a half-assed job like a lot of even AAA game companies do when they borrow mechanics from other games. They also added in some nice variations to the normal bejeweled gameplay in order to make the system their own.
You have various tokens in place of jewels which represent ways that you can hit on your date.Anything from showing off your talent to harmless flirting, or blatant sexual come ons. You get points for matching up symbols three in a row or more, but each girl has one type of come on that she likes more than others and some that she barely likes at all. You have to get enough points within twenty moves to make the girl happy and advance her to the next level of the relationship. Which doesn’t actually change anything in their behaviour or dialogue, but gets you one step closer to getting her panties peeled.
There are tokens you can match up that look like hearts which multiple your future number of points, tokens that give you extra moves, and tokens that allow you to build up sentiment points for you to use special items that produce various effects to help you out. And there are quite a lot of these special items as well. Which is a good thing since you’ll need them all because whenever you complete a puzzle the next puzzle instantly increases in difficulty regardless of which girl you were doing it with before.So the difficulty will steadily increase a lot which is why you’ll need hunie from either the pseudo-dating sim talks or buying gifts to boost up your traits to help you with the puzzles…..and you will need them.
I never actually liked Bejeweled itself but I did very much like playing the puzzle game in Huniepop.It was fun and actually just had more or less the right level and progression of challenge to i. It was very obvious that the team put a lot of work into making the whole thing shine and sparkle.As I said,you could have removed the pseudo-dating sim and easily carried the game on just the cute girls and puzzle games alone.
Now when it gets to the sex scene that’s a slightly different story.
The sex scenes have you playing a slight variation of the puzzle game where you just have to match the tokens three in a row and rack up a certain score in order to get your partner to curl your toes and proclaim you a raging sex god.You have infinite tries but here, in what can only be described as the most erect of dick moves, your score quickly drops every second.And I mean very quickly.You have to continuously score three in a rows and combos and you can’t stop to take your breath for even a moment if you really want to win this part, especially on the higher difficulties.It takes some getting used to because you kind of have to train your brain to see the patterns and react quickly, but until that happens this sections WILL piss you off.
The real problem with this section is the dropping score, I can understand why they do it but the issue is that there’s a certain degree of luck to this part since you have no time to form strategies. What this means is that your score can drop back down to zero from the tiniest distraction or from having to pay attention to something else for even a second. And because of the random nature you won’t always be able to get multiple combos and if all you’re getting is three in a rows the score will actually drop faster than you can possibly increase it. Mind you the game is programmed well enough that you’ll get a lot of incidental multiple combos and you won’t ever not have a move that you can make so you’ll get off easy there.But the inability to take a break for even a second is more than a little aggravating. Especially since you can be there for five to ten minutes at a time, depending on your luck and skill level trying to get enough combos.
The bottom line though, is Hunipop a great game. Absolutely. My annoyances and disappointments with the lack of a real dating sim aside, the game is well-put together a polished. The puzzle game, which is the real central mechanic works almost flawlessly and is a good variation on a classic system. The designs are good.The girls are cute, if shallow and inconsistently characterized,and there’s still quite in doing the puzzles to unlock all of their sex scenes that it will at least give you your ten dollars worth.And as repetitive as the dialogue will get eventually, it is in most cases very funny.Making it worth hearing at least once.
On the other side.The voice acting is of inconsistent quality.A lot of the things added on are ultimately pointless,and there’s much more that should have been done with it that wasn’t.
But.Overall Huniepop is a great game and it was worth backing on kickstarter.So props to the designers and I hope that they do a sequel that delivers on their promises next time.
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