Gaming History 101

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HuniePop Review

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Please Note: Any way you dice it, HuniePop is a game intended for adults.  There is smoking, drinking, very adult language, scantily clad (and potentially fully nude) individuals, adult situations displayed/discussed, and potentially what could be described as pornographic art of a certain type referred to as “hentai”.  Now, perhaps you already know this, but it’s a warning for those that don’t.  Fortunately this review, while it mentions this content, contains none of these items.  It can be considered safe for work (although someone may make fun of you), including all screenshots, and only mildly discusses themes that would be considered appropriate for, at worst, a teen audience.  This is just a friendly warning from the folks here at Gaming History 101.

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I get it now.  For years I have watched my friends, family, and even gamer peers play match three games and never understood it.  Sure, I gave a good couple of weeks to Marvel Puzzle Quest, and I had played the original Puzzle Quest in the past, but I was never drawn into them like others were.  Eventually, I quit playing these games altogether.  But I get it now and I will sadly admit that for more than 15 hours of my life – which may be the blink of an eye to the average Candy Crush addict – I was officially hooked to a match three game.  Unfortunately that match three game also happened to be a hybrid dating sim, and a relatively poor one at that, which also had a readily available uncensored patch that displayed an occasional pornographic hentai image, but a match three game nonetheless.  It may be shameful for some, although I have no shame, in admitting that I not only liked but got addicted to HuniePop, but I did and it was definitely the match three game that did it.  No, seriously, there were easier ways to see the art and out of those 15 hours I spent about 2 minutes looking at art, one total hour playing the dating sim, and 14 more doing nothing but match three.  In fact, the game is pretty terrible at everything it attempts to accomplish outside being a basic match three clone.  But still, I was hooked.

hp3You start off being visited by a magical love fairy named Kyu, where you will always fail, you are sent out on a journey to discover how to pick up women and hopefully score in the process.  To be fair, HuniePop‘s goals and rewards are not unlike many of the more applauded dating sims out there, which often use sex as some sort of benefit to successfully romancing someone.  I don’t want to be all political, but for those that want to criticize this approach, sex is a part of a romantic adult relationship for most people and it will often be a later part of the dating process so HuniePop is not that removed from reality.  The way you go about doing so is in a very basic dating sim fashion of meeting girls, learning information about them, and dating them to make your connection stronger.  Where it differentiates from the dating sim is that whenever anything heavily story driven or more interpersonal would happen in a dating sim, HuniePop hides away behind a more complex match three game and uses that to pass judgement on your dating skills.  That said, the match three game was easily a more deep experience than I had even with the likes of Marvel Puzzle Quest (note: I only played for the first three months of release, I’m sure it’s a different game now) and will potentially get gamers and non-gamers alike hooked to the addictive nature.  I should also point out that HuniePop has a one and done price that is lower than what I spent for the handful of transactions with similar titles in the “freemium” format.

hp1When you go out on a date you will be matching 3-5 bubbles on a grid together, each consisting of one of the game’s eight color/symbol combinations.  Four of these are colors that directly relate to attributes of what I suspect are considered behavior on your date: red for sexuality, blue for talent, orange for romance, and green for flirtation.  Much like women in the real world, each will have an attribute they like, one they don’t care for, and two that they are pretty much neutral on.  Of course you will want to target the color the girl cares the most for, but there will be some strategy in it because you get bonus points based on other factors.  One of those factors includes your passion level, represented by the pink hearts, and works as a sort of multiplier for the number of points you get when you match three or more.  There are also purple broken hearts that will reduce your score needed for a successful date and the bane of your existence.  Then there are bells that give you more moves, which is important because all dates are based off a certain mood.  The final, the aqua teardrop, is sentiment that is used to activate your gifts and cause different effects to happen.  Your goal is to navigate the board as best as you can and get the score within the remaining moves, a feat that starts off easy and gets very JRPG-like as the needed score skyrockets and your items and ability to break the game do as well.  Couple that with a simple leveling up system and ways to unlock stronger gifts and you’ve got a fun balance game that will have you hooked.

hp2As you navigate the dating portion, or as I like to think of it the frontend of the actual game, you will get four times of day for which to visit and speak with your ladies.  During this time you can talk to them and earn hunie, the currency that allows you to level up your skills related to each of the eight color bubbles and two to make the game easier on random drops.  To balance out how much you can speak with them you have to use munie (money) to purchase food to keep talking to them, drink (when they accept it) to increase your hunie earned multiplier, regular gifts to earn return gifts to use in the puzzle portions for special abilities, and unique gifts that permanently increase the hunie earned with each discussion you have.  Provided the girl has at least 1 food bar remaining and that you have not gone on a date with her earlier in the same day, you can go out on a date and enter the match three for a chance at large sums of munie and increasing your affection with her.  After each successful date you will get a selfie message from the girl that starts off tame and simple and can get quite a bit revealing, sometimes with actual nudity, after the third date.  If you get her affection up to four or five and take her out on a night date, you will be able to take her home if you succeed.  The final result there is a fast-paced match three that throws all other rules out the window and asks, very unlike sex, that you match as many items as fast as possible and keep doing so until you literally get the score to skyrocket and end the session.  Once you enter the sex minigame version of the match three I don’t think it’s possible to fail, but it can take a long time if you aren’t fast or careful enough to get the girl to the finish line.  I snicker here as I describe this because it’s the worst metaphor for sex that I could ever think of, but every game has its hook and again I must remind you this game is a match three game and all other factors are fluff to keep you playing.  Of course once you finally perform the beast with two backs on the young lady you are “rewarded” with a mid-coital shot.  This shot will not contain any nudity beyond toplessness in the basic “censored” version on Steam, but the uncensored version purchased elsewhere or unlocked after applying a simple patch in the Steam forums, will provide actual pornographic hentai pics.  To me, this is a personal preference assuming you are of age to purchase and play this game.  I also should point out that from a content perspective, the filthy things – both sexual and just plain vulgar – that come out of these girls’ mouths, not to mention the moaning, are all unlocked in the “censored” Steam version of the game and are potentially more offensive to me than the single flash of a graphic photo.  I could almost see playing this game around my three-year-old daughter provided I was straying from any sex dates and had the sound on mute, but I still prefer to keep anything with potential adult content off until she’s in bed.  My wife, on the other hand, rolled her eyes continually at the random sex stuff but found the game overall to be just as addicting as she found Candy Crush and Bejeweled to be but reminded me that there are alternatives that aren’t so perverted.  Noted.

hp4HuniePop is an adult-oriented draw at the basic match three and I will admit it hooked me.  There’s a lot to be said for the puzzle aspects of this game that integrates basic forms of other genres but I will admit was just different enough to get me hooked.  I also can’t deny that the anime art style, dating sim, somewhat Japanese influence, and sexual content did not assist in enticing me, but regardless of what made me play the game it was the puzzle aspect that kept me playing.  Let’s face it, there are easier ways to see the handful of hentai pics in this game and if you really just want those and somehow can’t find them on Google, purchasing the Art Collection DLC (yes it exists) will net you all those photos and more for a handful of dollars, which is much cheaper than the 10 hours I put in to complete the game.  If you get hooked, there’s a lot more game to enjoy as you are never limited on how many times you can date the girls afterward, there’s a harder “alpha” mode you can begin after successfully sleeping with all the girls (including the unlockable secret ones), and an odd male/female track decision at the beginning that doesn’t change the sex of the people you are romancing but does offer different key art to unlock.  I’m sad to say that the full blown addiction didn’t set in and after about 15 hours my need to consistently start up HuniePop and go on a date or two has subsided, but that’s not to say I don’t jump in every now and again for a game or two when I have 20 minutes to kill.  You’re going to take some flack for it, but if you want a new take on a classic model, HuniePop might be worth your time.

Final Score: 3 out of 5  (review policy)

HuniePop is available on Steam as well as other online retailers and the game’s official web site.  To my knowledge, Steam is the only location with the censored version and the uncensored patch is available in the forums and easy to apply to the Steam version if you wish.  This game was purchased by the reviewer and no review copy was requested or sent.  HuniePop is available for $9.99 for the base game and was completed by the reviewer in approximately 10 hours.  An additional five hours was spent reviewing differences in various options and playing the harder Alpha mode.

Written by Fred Rojas

March 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Posted in PC/Mac, Reviews

Tagged with ,

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