Valentine’s Day is upon us and if you are a single guy, such as myself, the date means absolutely nothing to you – other than reinforcing the fact that women don’t find overweight bald guys to be particularly attractive. Rejection by the fairer sex can make this romantic season a lonely time, but fear not because here comes HuniePop to the rescue. If flesh and blood females refuse to interact with you (other than spraying you with pepper spray) why not try smooching virtual ones instead in this Kickstarter funded dating sim? Hurrah to Kickstarter for making this project possible. Previously the site has been used for other worthy causes, such as donating over $55,000 to someone who needed cash to cook up some potato salad.
HuniePop sees players take control of a dorky guy (or lesbian) who is hopeless when it comes to flirting – clearly the developers know who their target audience is. The game begins at a bar where the player stumbles upon a seductive pixie named Kyu. After witnessing your pathetic chat up techniques first hand, Kyu decides to take you under her (fairy) wing and coach you in the ways of courting ladies. With the stage set it is time to go out and bed eight of the town’s most eligible bachelorettes, which include an Asian teacher, an ageing porn star and a Hispanic single mom. Once you have those notches under your belt you can move onto some more unorthodox targets, such as a blue skinned alien and a perky cat girl.
What’s unique about HuniePop is that the success of your dates depends on your prowess at a Bejewel like match 3 puzzle game. Basically, in the HuniePop universe, you can be George Clooney’s suave equal – providing that you are a dab hand at Candy Crush. The aim of the game is to hit the target score, within a certain number of turns, by swapping the position of symbols to form chains of three or more like coloured blocks. In addition to the point earning cubes there are also hearts (that award point multipliers) bells (that give you an extra turn) drops (that allow you to use gifts) and broken hearts (watch out for those as they deplete your score.) Wow, who knew that dates required so much strategy? This sounds like an awful lot of work. Can’t I just hire a prostitute instead?
It’s no mystery that most girls are shameless gold diggers, which explains why so many hideous millionaires have supermodel wives. No surprise then, that in order to succeed in HuniePop budding Casanovas are required to amass substantial quantities of Munie and Hunie. Munie is the game’s currency and is used to purchase gifts, buy snacks for your digital girlfriend and alcohol (because we all know that the best way of getting into someone’s pants is via the wonders of intoxication.) Oddly enough Munie is accrued by going out on dates, which is far from realistic. Trust me, I have plenty of friends who have filed for bankruptcy after trying to woo a lass through extravagant dinners and concerts.
Hunie, on the other hand, is used to level up your character’s attributes and is earned by asking classy questions such as what is your date’s age, weight and bust size. I’m sure if I were to be so blunt in real life I would get a cheek-reddening slap, but thankfully HuniePop’s harem doesn’t seem to mind your rudeness in the slightest. Making Hunie also demands that you respond correctly to your date’s queries so be sure to pay close attention to what she says. If you are the type of bloke who just stares at cleavage and says “uh ah” as your partner prattles on you’ll miss out on precious Hunie generating opportunities.
Although I am certain to receive much ridicule for this opinion, I am awarding HuniePop five stars. Even if the game’s premise isn’t your cup of tea the puzzle aspects are fun, which probably explains why Bejeweled is such a colossal hit. Getting one hundred percent on this game equated to thirty hours of entertainment, which is tremendous value for money considering the title’s meagre asking price. Although dating sims are normally associated with Japanese creators I must commend the title’s Western developer for delivering a very polished product.
The voice acting is solid, even if some of the dialogue is cheesy, and the artwork is above average compared to other independently produced visual novels. Perverts are sure to get a kick out of the raunchy photos awarded for successfully completing the copulation mini-game (just be aware that bypassing Steam’s censorship requires downloading a small patch.) Sadly with the game completed I am now back to feeling lonely on February 14th. Guess I will have to spend the day on Chat Roulette hitting on random strangers.