HuniePop was a game that appealed to me for quite some time on the simple basis of it being a dating sim that actually became well known. I’ve always had a soft spot for perverted weeb games so this game was naturally a given. Unfortunately I often make the mistake of assuming that I will like every one of these types of games despite the fact that there have definitely been some that leave a lot to be desired. Also I’m a radical feminist yet radfems usually despise the objectification of women.

I consider myself a radfem not because I hate all pornagraphy or erotic, but rather because I view it as a valid form of artistic expression that has been perverted by toxic masculine values. This results in most feminists assuming that all pornagraphy is inherently demeaning and misogynist regardless of context and thus that anyone who views it only considers women to be objects. I do not support the porn industry due to the way that it takes what is supposed to be an intimate act and instead exploits women (and some men) for the purpose of profit, but that can be blamed more on the failings of patriarchy and capitalism rather than on the medium itself.

Additionally, I don’t even watch much porn to begin with. The only pornographic medium I consume aside from still illustrations are eroge, a genre that by its very nature requires more substance than “character A and character B fuck” to be worth playing. The small niche of erotic games does often inspire those who genuinely seek to use the medium to its advantage and create unique experiences. Does HuniePop serve as an example of a game that takes advantage of the medium?

Futurama | oh wait you're serious

Yeah that’s kind of a dumb question. HuniePop is lowest common denominator trash, but it’s self aware lowest common denominator trash. I briefly talked about a certain principal in media back when I reviewed Meltys Quest that I like to call “willing suspension of morality.” The key difference is that I brought it up in Meltys Quest to explain precisely why I don’t think it applies and why the “problematic” aspects were detrimental to the game as a whole despite the ever present excuse of “it’s a porn game.”

HuniePop is well aware of what it is trying to be, and thus it knows to play to its strengths. There are certainly a number of problematic implications present in this game that I can and will rail on (would not be the only type of railing that this game inspires), but one can chalk this game’s success up to the fact that it knows the medium well. I may have high standards for pornographic media but I am no prude; I’m quite the opposite in fact.

The main premise of HuniePop is that you are a loser who has never been laid, and a love fairy named Kyu is here to teach you how to pick up chicks and get into their panties. Yes it’s not exactly high concept and it is based around the patriarchal idea of sex as a reward. The idea that dating is literally a game and the objective is to score is literally what pickup artists believe. The gameplay is based around talking to one of twelve girls where you either ask them basic facts about themselves or are quizzed on those facts, you buy them gifts, food, or booze, or you go on a date with them.

HuniePop | fucked up sexual fantasy
D: All of the above

The dates are fairly entertaining match three puzzles and the goal is to clear at least four of these puzzles. Once you do, you will have the opportunity to invite them over to your place where you play a slightly different match three game and you are shown a nude image before you collect their panties (no really, you get their panties as an actual in game item). You can only “date” them once per day and need to focus on earning money to buy shit for them and “hunie” in order to upgrade your traits since we were apparently needed RPG elements in our pickup artist simulators.

The key flaw with HuniePop is that it treats the act of dating women like a task. It turns these women into something that you manage. Dating sims are typically intended with the purpose of having strongly written characters that the player can get attached to with their own individual personalities, backstories and conflicts. The HuniePop girls have the former most in spades yet you never get to see the latter two beyond passing references.

The women in HuniePop are not so much “love interests” as they are conquests. Given that HuniePop is not a straight up visual novel, it adapts the “dating game” into a literal game. This results in the game feeling like a shallow reflection of real life dating culture, as if HuniePop was an attempt to appeal to the mainstream by removing the serious or emotional parts of the dating sim genres. Given that your player character woos the girls often by straight up lying and that the game provides incentives to get the women drunk before dates I could take the easy way out and dismiss this game as misogynist garbage, but you know I’m never one to take the easy way out.

Related image

As I already stated, HuniePop is a very self aware title. There are some surprising moments of brilliance in what could have easily been a shallow Roosh V simulator, and I have to chalk this up to said self awareness. There is somewhat of a condescending tone coming from this game given the many snarky quips from the girls (especially Kyu), and for once I don’t think it’s because the developers think their target audience are idiot perverts. Instead I am convinced it comes from a place of self hatred in regards to not living up to the patriarchal standard of what a “real man” is and instead being beta soy boys living in their parent’s basement watching anime porn. You don’t believe me? Just the first few seconds of the trailer for HunieCam Studio (after the cringey “triggered” joke).

If there is one thing that personal experience has taught me, it is that there is a lot of self hatred in the otaku community and that a lot of otakus of either gender tend to be very insecure about their interests; especially when sexuality comes into play. I’ve mentioned a number of time that prior to coming out as trans, I was horrendously insecure about my enjoyment of the occasional anime tiddie (okay, maybe more than occasional) and the resulting insecurity lead to me supporting reactionary anti feminist movements like GamerGate.

Sexuality and the female body have become so intertwined with the patriarchal ideas of what they hold that even a lot of adults have no clue what a healthy expression of sexuality looks like, and this often leads to the assumption that sexuality is something to be ashamed of. Given that you have both the religious right and SWERFs that choose to demonize sexuality rather than try and understand it, it leads to sexuality being something that we all know everyone is into but no one is allowed to admit.

HuniePop | Kyu lewd censored version
This is the censored Steam version of the pic you get after sexing Kyu. The uncensored version is missing the panties.

Of course this isn’t a problem for neurotypical people (aka normies) but a lot of people who gravitate towards online fandoms tend to also have some sort of mental condition that makes it difficult to operate in social scenarios. If regular social interaction is already tough, than you can kiss having a “normal” sexuality goodbye.

But I’m getting off topic there, the point is that otakus have the tendency to be both self hating yet also self indulgent when it comes to sex and porn. I have gone on about my own thoughts about sexuality but it took a long time for me to figure things out and I don”t truly know if I have. I do know that one could easily get a bit of a complex from it and that self awareness typically means it is easier to counter certain flaws.

Some aspects of HuniePop come more across as a parody of cishet dating culture than an outright celebration. I especially like Kyu’s character given that she is just as shamelessly perverted as the game’s intended audience. There is something amusing about a literal love fairy who talks like a gangsta half the time yet isn’t TOO ashamed of her girlishness (although she is embarrassed about the fact that her last name is Surgardust). On top of this, the Asian girl is NOT a submissive housewife and is instead a total domme (and will even make fun of the blatantly racist gifts she gets).

HuniePop | Venus Throne
In addition to the initial 8 girls, HuniePop also allows you to seduce a love fairy, a catgirl, a blue skinned alien girl, and the Goddess of love herself.

The character cast is easily HuniePop’s greatest strength. The fact that they managed to make Audrey, a girl who Kyu herself describes as a “megabitch,” likable is more than impressive. My other favs include Aiko, Jessie, Kyanna, Nikki, Celeste, and Venus. The rest were not bad and are still intriguing in their own way. I do like the fairly small amount of backstory hinted at with some of these girls that often makes a lot more sense when you think about it.

For instance, one can put together that Tiffany is Jessie’s daughter given that the latter needed to drop out of school to help raise her. The fact that Jessie is a porn actress and is implied to have made some dumb mistakes also likely explains why her “girl next door” daughter doesn’t like her. I also wondered how the fuck Nikki and Audrey are friends when they seem to be completely incompatible, but then it hit me that both have a lot of contempt for societal norms and are very rebellious, they just manifest in vastly different ways. This also becomes even more credible if you play as a lesbian woman because it may be harder to find other queer women nearby (and it would also demonstrate why they are rebellious as well).

Oh, I forgot to mention that you can also play as a lesbian woman instead of a straight man. The game even changes up the dialogue and has some alternate voice clips to represent the fact that your character is a woman if you choose to play as one. I really cannot stress how glad I am that this feature was included and that this alone likely made the game immensely more enjoyable to me than if I was stuck playing as a straight guy.

HuniePop | Audrey Straight chick
The girls send you pics as you are more successful on dates, and the text even changes depending on whether you are a guy or girl.

Other aspects that deserve praise are the art direction and the music. Each of the girls are not only sexy but also have unique appearances and designs. Given that this game is an eroge it should be a given that the lewd pics you get from the characters are sexy as hell, but even the non lewd ones look pretty and are pleasing to look at. The voice acting and sound effects are spot on and the music is surprisingly atmospheric and immersive.

And then there is the gameplay. I will assume that most people reading this know how match three works since I’m a lazy bitch and don’t feel like explaining it. What sets HuniePop’s date sequences apart from regular match three games is that each type of tile represents a different attribute, which will increase the player’s score more based on how much that attribute has been upgraded and on how much the passion meter is filled up. Depending on the girl some attributes will result in less points earned and some will result in more.This theoretically means that you should have to switch up your strategy depending on the girl, but that unfortunately just means changing which date items you have equipped.

You also have a limited amount of turns so you need to prioritize creating chain matches, building up passion and sentiment, and making good use of what you are given. There is quite a decent amount of strategy required to keep winning the date sequences and it is practically required for the player to be upgrading their attributes since the score required for a successful date gradually increases the more in game time passes.The downside to the gameplay is that it is kind of repetitive and that you handle every date sequence the same way.

HuniePop | Kyu mega stash
I see Kyu is a fairy of culture as well.

While the match three portions are alright, I still can’t help but feel that HuniePop puts its eggs in the wrong basket. It comes across like this game is intentionally holding back because it won’t reach a mainstream audience otherwise. Can’t have any boring relationship or character driven moments because clearly this game’s audience is only interested in banging chicks. While I like getting into women’s panties as much as the next girl… okay probably more than the next girl… I find that there is a far greater sense of satisfaction if you get to know more about the girl whose panties you are getting into.

And no I’m not saying that HuniePop needs to be pretentious art house schlock or that it even stops being tasteless, but I can tell that this game’s development team definitely has the talent to retain the game’s charm while making something deeper. I mean, you got me to play and beat a cishet porn game. If you managed that then you’re definitely doing something right.

If you are interested in playing this game for yourself, it can be purchased here (download) or here (hardcopy).

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5 thoughts on “HuniePop (PC): A Strange Relationship (Detailed Review) (NSFW)

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