4 people found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 18.8 hrs on record
Posted: Jul 25, 2015 @ 10:29pm
Updated: Dec 21, 2015 @ 7:59pm

A Paladin’s Review: Huniepop. The Review that will Doom My Credibility Forever.
  • Genre: Tactical Match-3 Puzzle Anime Dating Sim
  • Developed & Published by: Huniepot
  • Platform Support: Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Business Model: Base Game
  • Copy gifted by a friend
Read the full and unabridged review on A Paladin Without A Crusade.[kingisaaclinksr.com]

Preamble
I started the series A Paladin’s Journey Through Steam earlier this year which was a series that features interesting new releases on Steam. One of the earliest and notable titles I ran across was Huniepop. A game that I wrote off quickly and cynically. To me, all I saw was another lazily made anime game designed for lonely nerds who just wanted boobies to look at. I even got some pretty amusing comments about it. (Though I’m quite bemused that a friend called this review. Curses.). However, I was linked to Jesse Cox’s look at the game in that thread and gave it a look. I figured that all I would lose is some time and maybe a few laughs at its expense. What I saw instead, surprised me. Not only did I notice that the game was not simply a cheap or poorly developed game, but a game with voice acting, narrative and in-depth mechanics. That took me aback and I knew then that I had to review it. Even if that meant I would eat some crow today.

Overall Gameplay Thoughts
Huniepop is a part dating sim and part match-three puzzle game. The dating sim part is where you’ll converse and interact with one of the eight women in the game. Each containing their own distinctive personality, preferences and voice actor. The match-three puzzle section is a board of affection blocks that you must match effectively in 20 turns. For the most part, Huniepop is focused on game mechanics than the story, expecting players to build their own narrative as the game goes on. Though granted the most narrative you’ll build is just how great/terrible you are with the ladies. There aren’t any men to date so if you’re into guys, well, this isn’t the game for you. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a review of a match-three game and it’s bemusing to me that it’s another genre-mixer that gets me interested in talking about it again. The combination of dating sim and match-three puzzles is weird and it does require you to accept that this is just how the game works. Even if it’s rather silly if you think about it. That said, the mixing works and gives the game a natural rhythm and pace that I quite enjoyed.

Match-3 Mechanics
How it essentially works is that you have to get to a certain level of affection with 20 turns/plays. You accomplish this by matching color blocks together and using date gifts at the right times. At first, the game is fairly forgiving of mistakes but as time goes on, you have to optimize each turn to gain the most amount of affection. The match-3 board has a few different twists from traditional games. First off, you’re able to move blocks around as far as you want in horizontal or vertical directions, giving you a little bit more flexibility in matching tiles together. Secondly, the game has date gifts (up to six available at any one time) which change how the board acts, give you additional turns, allow for scoring combos and much more. The date gifts give you several different ways to play in the puzzle sessions and it’ll be up to you to figure out winning combos. There’s a nice amount of variety with some combinations being risky while others safer though potentially can be screwed by the RNG. It creates a very tactical match-three experience that I really didn't expect. Each move can potentially be the difference between winning and losing.

PC Settings and Audio/Visual
Huniepop has a decent but still lacking settings menu. There’s fullscreen and windowed mode but with no resolution options. There’s a particle slider for when you complete matches in the puzzle game and that’s it for visual settings. Huniepop does have good audio control settings though. You can change the background music, sound effects and voice-over volume sliders. You can even use boops instead of the voice acting for when characters talk to you. Which is nice because lines are often repeated ad-nauseam and people can find this annoying rather quickly.

This is an anime game so of course it’s got the expected anime style. Which is very well done I should say. The women and background are well designed and consistent. Their faces can also display a variety of emotions and their lip flaps move well with the voice acting. The CGI-photo cards are just as impressive. The soundtrack is a laid-back, almost elevator style of various styles that will get old sooner rather than later. Probably about the same time as you’ll get tired of the repeated lines.

Final Thoughts
While I had initially wrote off Huniepop as a lazy anime dating sim, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was something more than that. Yes, it’s an anime dating game. Yes, it has all that you would expect from this genre (silly plot, sexuality, etc) and I’m clearly the demographic for it. It also doesn’t have any way of failing outside of achievement hunting. However, the mechanical depth that Huniepop is impressive. To the point that it has keeps what could have been a lazy boobs+match3 game and turns it into a title that’s genuinely enjoyable and amusing. It’s a dating game that isn’t just about being nice to every single woman you meet until they show up in your bedroom. You’ll have to get to know them and change your approach to win them over. Whether you choose to take it seriously or not, the match three portion is quite good as well, featuring some unique ideas and challenging, tactical gameplay to ensure that complacency will be punished. Overall, a well crafted dating sim and puzzle game worth considering, even if the sexual content doesn't interest you.

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2 Comments
KingIsaacLinksr Jul 26, 2015 @ 2:35pm 
Hehe ;)
eRe4s3r Jul 25, 2015 @ 11:14pm 
So it's a tactical match 3 game that has perverted content, a well made addicting loot system, well thought out gifting system, and nice looking anime girls with attitudes and character + tons of "secret" content? ;)

These are words that I never thought I say together. Oh well, gonna be on a sale come winter and then.. maybe.. on my 2nd account....