Before you throw your laptop out of the window from the rage of me calling a dating sim where you match three in order to make a girl orgasm while she sends you lewd pictures “feminist,” I actually do have a point which is much more nuanced than the clickbait title might suggest.
Yes, HuniePop is at its heart a dating simulator, and yes you do get to bed 9 attractive female anime figures at the core of the gameplay, but there really is more to the game than just that. Firstly, let’s take a look at the development. HuniePop’s development team is one of the few development teams in the history of gaming that has a majority female cast. 80% of the people working on the title are women and what’s more they weren’t just chosen because of their gender. They were chosen for their unique talent. The voice acting for example is truly outstanding. In games, voice acting is often an afterthought, but the unique mix here really brings the female characters to life, and the women behind the project have helped that happen. Not only that, but you have the option to play as a male or female from the start, something which feminists have often scolded AAA titles over.
It’s no secret that more and more women are getting interested in gaming, and their preferred games of choice? Puzzles. HuniePop puts a new and complex spin on the old Bejeweled mechanic which makes it more complex and addictive than big hitters such as Candy Crush Saga. While I only have anecdotal evidence, it seems that more women are playing the Steam top 10 title than men. When I asked the developers about this they stated “I don’t doubt it. Chicks are cool like that.”
Then we get to the characters. HuniePop allows you to chose from 9 very different female characters from all ranges of background, ethnicity and lifestyle. It’s a game where percentage points aren’t only based on how many girls you can coerce into bed by flexing your puzzle muscle, but also by learning about their hobbies, places they like to hang out, and the type of things they like. In fact, you can only boost your stats by talking to and learning about the women, meaning more matters than just their panties.
So let’s talk about their big … personalities. You have Audrey, the college party girl and queen bitch, Nikki the introverted gamer girl who would like anything but to be at a party, all the way to my personal waifu Kyanna the Mexican fitness fanatic who balances being a single mum with her job hairdressing. Based on real life women, the dialogue is much more realistic than most dating sims, and while more could have been done to flesh out the characters, this is a huge leap in general from the majority of vapid female characters most games have on offer.
Finally, there is the sexual element. You have to go on a number of dates with each girl in order to get them into your bedroom, but simply bedding them isn’t the end goal. There is a final high speed sexual puzzle which you have to complete to unlock the power of her O. Yes that’s right the final puzzle in the game is getting a girl to achieve orgasm. Only then can you unlock all her special bonuses. HuniePop places a weight on the girls sexual pleasure like never before. The final goal isn’t simply to sleep with her, but to help her reach ecstasy.
HuniePop isn’t perfect in terms of female portrayal, but it’s getting there. It was developed by a variety of female talent, is completely accessible to women as a game, has 9 unique female characters and finally passes the Bechdel test with flying colours.
What do you think? Is HuniePop a feminist game?