“HuniePop” Review

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It’s been a week since this game came out (it came out a day early) and, over the course of that week, it’s been the only game I’ve played (at least while I’ve been at home).

By now I’ve finished the game as both a male player and a female player, so I think it’s about time I give this thing a review since I’ve played the absolute hell out of it.

Gameplay: 9.5/10 – “Oh, it’s just another match-three game,” you may be saying. “What could possibly be so fun about another one of those?” Everything. Everything is fun about it. After I “conquered” every girl on my first file, my total play time was around the 21-22 hour range. After the second file, I was at the 29-30 hour range. I practically turned the game into a second job, so I’d definitely say it’s better than your typical match-three clone. So the core of this game revolves around two things, a dating sim and a puzzle game. Whenever you meet a girl, the dating sim portion plays out. You have several options here. You can talk to them, answering questions they ask you in order to appeal to their taste in a partner or even asking your own questions to find out more about them like their background or their favorite things. This can earn you Hunie, which is used to boost your stats (point multipliers and such in the puzzle game). You can also buy them gifts, which can give you Hunie, as well as earning more date items (for use in the puzzle game). The characters shine here, displaying clearly fleshed out personalities. Everything meshes well, from their preferred activities, to their frequent hangouts, to the kinds of gifts they like to get. It doesn’t feel like it was haphazardly thrown together to make a game, but like there was a lot of thought put into how these characters should be defined. The other major option here is to ask them out on a date. The dating puzzle is your typical match-three game, but with some slight but significant differences. Not every icon scores points, adding a layer of strategy to your play. There are four types of tokens that do score the points necessary to complete a date, but you won’t win just focusing on those. In order to manage the points required, you’ll have to take advantage of the other types. Passion tokens boost your Passion level, which acts as a point multipler. Sentiment tokens are used to generate Sentiment, which allows you to give gifts that have a wide variety of uses. Joy tokens, the final positive type, will give you additional moves. I say “positive type” because there are also Broken Heart tokens, which, if matched, will quickly tank your score for the date, potentially ruining your chance at success. Clever planning is required to clear dates, and I’ve often found myself on the harder dates near the end breathing a sigh of relief when I manage to clear it. After you win the heart of one of the girls and clear her date at night, you can play the “bedroom” version of the game. This is a furious matching game where your score doesn’t matter, but you have fight a constantly draining meter. Succeeding for the first time will reward you with a “post-session” image for the gallery to commemorate your carnal conquest. Unfortunately, there’s not much story or anything to speak of in this game. The core gameplay is fun, but you really only get to see the characters interact at the very beginning and never again after. There’s also not really any closure after you win the heart of any or even all of the girls. But there’s plenty of content here, and it’s worth noting that there are four unlockable characters to date.

Graphics: 9.5/10 – The graphics are pretty polished here. The characters are animated as they talk and make a wide variety of expressions as you chat them up or play the dating puzzle. Every girl has a number of unlockable costumes and hairstyles for you to play with that unlock via dates and gifting. But the real draw of the art is in the unlockable gallery images. As you date, each girl will have four pictures to unlock. The first two are general art of them in everyday situations. The third one varies between a sexy tease and a fairly graphic image, with most of them featuring bare breasts. The final one unlocks after the bedroom game and each one has has multiple variations. It’s worth noting at this point that there is both a censored and uncensored version of the game. If you buy the Steam version, you’ll get the censored version. The creator has posted a link to a downloadable patch in the game’s community that will allow you to play the uncensored version. If you buy the game from MangaGamer (or if you got it from Kickstarter), then you’ll get the Steam key, but you will also receive the uncensored version. Playing the uncensored version once will cause the Steam version to be uncensored as well. (Allegedly. I just dumped the uncensored version’s files into my Steam folder and everything worked from there.) I bring this up to say that the uncensored versions of the post-bedroom CGs do feature uncensored genitals, and even in the censored version, you’re likely to see bare breasts. If you’re playing as a male, fluids become present in the variants of the uncensored version. Just be aware of this, if that has any influence on whether or not you would buy the game, or who you would be concerned about being around while you play it. But the art is great and feels like a good reward for the effort you put in.

Sound: 9/10 – There’s quite an impressive score to be had here. The entire game is voiced. I have to say, though, that it does seem to range from a professional level of quality all the way down to an amateur level of quality. Most of it is great, though. As far as performances go, Tiffany (the young, blonde student pictured above), is a standout to me. Her bedroom voice clips sound a little awkward, but all of her other lines sound great. Beli is another good one, with great clips in both areas. The sound effects are good, but nothing particularly noteworthy. The soundtrack for the game is amazing. I absolutely adore it. There is a huge variety of tracks, which various meeting and dating locations all having their own BGMs. There’s also a special track for the bedroom game. My personal favorite track is the title screen track, which has been featured in all of the various promos and trailers for the game. It’s really grown on me over time. I haven’t checked, but I doubt I’ll be lucky enough to find them in the game files, so assuming they’re not just easily accessible there, I do hope that the soundtrack is eventually released.

Overall: 9.3/10 – What can I say? The game is great. This ended up being the little Kickstarter project that could. Everything feels good and plays good. It’s fun, it’s addicting, and I found myself having a lot of fun with the characters, even relating to several here and there. It comes highly recommended, and the amount of time I got out of it was a steal at the $10 price tag.

And while we’re here, I guess I’ll just take the opportunity to go ahead and post my ranking list for the girls. (Highlight the blank ones for secret characters.)

  1. Tiffany
  2. Kyu
  3. Celeste
  4. Momo
  5. Kyanna
  6. Beli
  7. Lola
  8. Audrey
  9. Aiko
  10. Jessie
  11. Venus
  12. Nikki

And it’s worth noting that while I consider Tiffany my favorite of the dates, Kyu is definitely my favorite character. She’s a blast.

 

EDIT: As of the day after the post was written, I’ve obtained 100% on a file, so I’ve officially played the game to death. The developer announced a content update for post-game in the near future (aiming for Valentine’s Day), so we’ll see what else I can squeeze out of this game, but it has so far been more than worth the $10 I paid for it. My total play time was over 33 hours.

Also, I edited in a couple of quick things the add context to one part of the game I forgot to address: The Broken Heart tokens. These are key to my point about the consideration you have to put into your moves and I completely forgot to address them initially. A description of these has been added, as well as adjusting surrounding text to keep it in context. I apologize if this causes any undue concern about the review in any way.

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