Fairies and Puzzles
It is really not surprising that Huniepop was mostly overlooked by the mainstream press. It's a $10 3-match indie puzzle game come dating sim, where successful matches can lead to bedding up to 12 different virtual waifus. With the sexualization of women a hot button topic in the industry of late, it is walking simulators such as Gone Home and Dear Esther that become indie darlings and not games that include bare anime breasts. In an industry where groundbreaking indie games like Binding of Issac: Rebirth are criticized for supposed sexism, such as usurping an evil father for the more common wicked mother, a game where the main aim is to seduce multiple women was bound to be pushed aside.
And yet I was hooked, and I'm not the only one.
Huniepop was wildly successful with an impressive 6000 reviews on Steam, 96% of which are positive, and an average of 10/10. Huniepop blended the popular genres of both dating sims and puzzle games improving upon both. It broke the mold on dating sims by putting an emphasis on gameplay over story, and the light RPG elements of balancing stat boosting, currency, and buffs made Huniepop and incredibly strategic puzzler. Gameplay is mostly 3-match, but you world be ignorant to compare it to the simplicity of games such as Bejeweled or Candy Crush.
In the main puzzles or "dates" instead of rapidly attempting to match any three symbols as quickly as possible, moves are more thought out and considered. A certain amount of buff items can be chosen specifically to match the likes and dislikes of the woman you are trying to woo pre-date, and can stack for devastating effects. The standard timer is replaced with a limited number of moves, giving a slower more logical playstyle, and the inclusion of heartbreak tokens means creating combos can be carefully considered. Gameplay is so addictive that Huniepop is one of the few games I 100%ed this year. This $10 indie game got 21 hours of my undivided attention
Huniepop may be no Undertale, it may not be any game of the year, but what it did do was create a very fun, innovative, and addictive game that deserves all the user praise it received. It is one of the best dating sims and one of the best puzzle games, and it doesn't do bad with its RPG elements either.
And while I know it doesn't matter so much who makes a game as long as it's good, it sort of warmed my heart a bit to see a mostly female development team create something so kickass. I mean we all know our Roberta Williamses, our Amy Hennigs, our Jade Raymonds and our Rhianna Prachetts from the world of AAA, but as far as mostly female teams go, there doesn't seem to be the same level of quality. I was intrigued when husband and wife team Tale of Tales made The Path, but the less said about this year's deservedly overlooked game Sunset the better.
What did you think of Huniepop?