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Hunie Pop is a Dating Sim and Puzzle game in one and comes after a successfully funded kickstarter.

hunie 1

Kyu with the very first girl you meet, Lola.

Merging two genres together, Hunie Pop begins with choosing your own gender – very unusual in a genre that usually caters to one sex or the other – and then a simple tutorial from the Love Fairy named Kyu. She explains that while you will be doing the things typical to a Dating Sim – saying the right thing, etc – you will also be playing a gem matching game during dates in order to increase a girl’s affection level and to gain Munie. Matching gems by sliding them horizontally or vertically in any direction will fill up the gauge directly underneath the puzzle area; failing to meet this goal will cause a failure and that girl’s affection for you will not go up.

While the puzzle section of the game appears to be similar to a game like Puzzle Quest,  it does differ in a number of ways. First of all, players cannot just match as many as they can and hope to win; each girl has a specific trait (represented by a color) that she prefers and not taking advantage of that will cause failure more often than not. There is also a limit on the amount of moves you are allowed to take in a single date. Changing the difficulty setting in the options will change how many moves you have available and what gems you get.

hunie 2

Audrey, in red, is pretty mean.

There are also some special gems that appear during play. These are: the bell, the heart, the teardrop and the broken heart. The bells will give you an extra turn, the heart adds passion which increases the mutiplier for matches, the broken heart takes a percentage off of the meter and  the teardrops add up and allow players to use items. Items are unlocked during play and then equipped; once you build up enough sentiment to use them, they will have varying effects detailed when hovering over top. One of the best effects to get involves either removing or changing the broken hearts into something else as those can cause a complete failure in a nearly-won game.

As mentioned earlier, the Dating Sim elements basically boil down to answering questions with the right answers and giving gifts that the girls like. This builds up your Hunie count, which allows you to purchase skill upgrades to help you complete the date portions. The unfortunate part of this is that the characters don’t change very much; you learn the relevant information and get them to come back with you to your place but there isn’t much more. There weren’t long cutscenes with more information about the girl or the world and there wasn’t any real character progression. This is certainly a disappointment in a genre that is very text-driven.

hunie 3

One of the many photographs you receive in-game.

Leveling up affection levels tends to come along with unlocking more items and getting texted increasingly racy photos from the girl in question. Once you get someone to come home with you, you are required to complete a faster-paced puzzle and then are treated to another racy photo (note: these are censored in the Steam version of the game.) These unlocked CGs are then available to view at any time you wish and denote how much of the game you have completed.

As a fun aside, progressing through the game slowly unlocks costumes and hairstyles for each character that you can set at any time. Doing so will make them appear that way any time you speak to them but they will generally be changed during dates.

Since both gameplay elements of the game are fairly simple, and with frequent automatic saves, this is the perfect game to fire up and play casually – even if you’re not typically a fan of the genre. The easy-to-play style also lends itself very well to a strange addictiveness that can lead to numerous hours of play without even intending to.

hunie 4

Jessie enjoys wearing costumes to her dates.

Visually the game is very appealing, with an anime-like aesthetic. Every member of the cast looks unique and has a personality all to herself. Differentiating itself from many other games in this genre is the fact that there is a diverse group of nationalities represented, including Indian, Mexican and more. There are even a few secret, unlockable characters to find during the course of the game. With quite a range represented, there will certainly be a favorite that appeals to almost everyone.

Lastly we have the sound which includes fully voiced dialogue. The voice acting was above average for an indie project, however some of the voices were grating and hearing some of the same lines was annoying. Thankfully, the game offers the option to turn the voices off and replaces them with a low-key text blipping sound. The music itself was good but nothing particularly standout except for the music that plays when girls come home with you; it sounds exactly like what you’d expect in an adult movie without the heavy saxophone. It’s a goofy little tongue-in-cheek touch that makes the game seem especially self aware.

Overall Hunie Pop was a fun little romp with some cute girls and addicting gameplay. The lack of fully fleshed out characters and setting definitely hurt it, but it’s still worth a look for anyone wanting their puzzles with some dating (or vice versa), regardless if they are a fan of the genre or not.

Hunie Pop was provided by the developer for the author to play. The full game can be purchased on the official website and Mangagamer and is intended for ADULTS ONLY. The censored version of the game is available on Steam.

Hunie Pop

8.0
 

Great

Summary

Hunie Pop manages to combine a Dating Sim and a Puzzle game into one addicting package despite the lack of fully fleshed out characters.


Tanis Pallagi

I've been playing games since the Apple ][ Days. I have a special place in my heart for quirky Japanese games but you'll see me playing anything and everything! I'm also a huge nerd over tabletop RPGs, Warhammer 40k, anime, comic books and birds.



  • Sol Racht

    I can’t believe I’m enjoying this as much as I am. My only real gripe is it could have expanded a bit on the VN elements to give the relationships with the girls a bit more depth.

  • Brad Donald

    Yeam same feeling. But Id say this was a good first run. Its elements just work IMO.

  • 33

    Since it wasn’t mentioned in the article: the developer has provided a free patch that de-censors the Steam version of the game.

  • Tanis

    Thanks for letting me know, I wasn’t aware of that. 🙂

  • BeholdMyPower

    Yeah, been hearing about this. Is the patch available from Steam itself?

  • JackDandy

    In the forums, it’s a sticky. You just follow the link, slap the file in the game folder and you’re good to go

  • BeholdMyPower

    Sweet, thanks.

  • 33
  • Ive been LOVING this game. Crazy addictive.

  • Cerxi

    “These are: the bell, the heart, the sentiment gem and the broken heart” This sentence reads a little oddly; the bell, the heart, and the broken heart are named by shape, but the teardrop is just called “sentiment gem”? Idk why, it bugs me a bit for some reason.

    “the heart adds directly to the completion meter” Actually, the hearts add to the Passion meter, which is a multiplier applied to all affection matches.

    Other than that, a good and fair review, I think.

  • Jake Galli

    Great review here 🙂 Just one thing you got wrong though “the heart adds directly to the completion meter.” They don’t, they add your passion level which will increase the amount of affection you get from every combo.

  • bdp

    an 8? higher than expected.. I would have given a 7 due to lack of any depth to the girls. either way the game is far more entertaining than it should be.

  • Tanis

    Oh darn my bad. This is what happens when you play a game for 7 hours straight and try to get the review done to meet a deadline. I will repair it 🙂

  • Tanis

    I was also considering a 7 because the interactions are a bit shallow. However as I sat and thought about it I realized that I spent a good 7-8 hours straight completing it for review and didn’t get bored at all. That’s the main reason it’s sitting at 8: the fun factor.

  • Tanis

    You’re right, I fixed it 🙂

  • Jake Galli

    I’ve played I think 15-20 hours now and I’m about 65% complete, I just want to 100% it now

  • Merc

    There really needs to be an expansion to give it more story. There are all these small plot threads that never get touched and would make the girls far more interesting, plus endings for every girl depending on if you played the field or just kept to one girl would up replayability immensely. I wanted to learn more about Kyanna’s kid, I wanted to see if I could get Jessie and her daughter back together, I wanted to go to the park with Beli. There’s so much there that should of been touched, and I think the dev really screwed the pooch there.

    Edit: that said, the gameplay is solid and engaging. It just should of been more for being a kickstarter that got an impressive 30k. Something like Elite Beat Agents would of fit perfectly in with the game.

  • bdp

    Fair enough.

  • Seluvialm

    I’ve been looking all over the place and haven’t been able to find an answer, maybe someone here can tell me, how do I change the outfits on the girls once I have them unlocked? Thanks!

  • Rafael Sampaio Moura

    On the girls info page, if you go left or right an sufficient amount of tie, you’ll find a page where you can customize their looks. Hope it was useful.

  • Rafael Sampaio Moura

    I think just focusing on the gameplay and putting the story on the sidelines was a really smart move on the part of the developers. I mean, i’ve played a few visual novels with gameplay segments (Princess Waltz and a few other i can’t be bothered to remember the name now), but focused on the story, leaving the gameplay quite unrefined, which just hurt the overall experience. That being said, there’s no reason they can’t put more story in it on a possible sequel, or a DLC. Hell, an ENDING wouldn’t go amiss, certainly!

  • Tanis

    I agree; it’s nice that the gameplay isn’t just an afterthought but it would be amazing to get more content. Perhaps the success of the game will lead to that 🙂