Ages ago there was a game on 16-bit computers called Bar Games. It featured random games you might find er, in a bar setting. One of the games was called “The Pickup Artist”. In this game you had to approach a woman and have an on-screen dialogue. Say the wrong thing and she told you to get lost. Say the right thing and the date continued. It was a fun, innuendo-laced PG-13 game at best; but I have very fond memories of it.
Speeding ahead a couple of decades and we have a new genre of game sprout up; first with the madness of Bejewelled and then the RPGish Puzzle Quest series – where matching three items on the screen made them disappear and more would fall in to take their place. The addictive nature of match three games has created an empire of them; you pick the theme and chances are likely there is one to meet your needs.
Enter HuniePop … a hybrid match-three-meets-the-pickup-artist game. Only this time, the game is filled with cute, young Asian women with widely varying personalities and challenges to win over.
HuniePop is a dating simulation. Meet many different girls at many different locations. Interrogate them about themselves and answer questions about yourself in a way that matches their personality. Keep the girls lavished with food, drinks and gifts and they will be more willing to entertain your questions. Successful dialogue with the girls gains you “hunie”, one of the game’s currency.
Once per day per girl, you can ask them on a date. That’s when the match three game starts. You will be given a score to beat and using all your matching skills (it’s a lot more complicated than you might think) you’ll try to make your date successful by hitting the target score.
After the fourth successful date with a girl, there is a chance she’ll come back to your place – giving you a shot at a successful night in bed. This requires a skillful, speedy round of match three (and a lot of moaning; sometimes even from the girl).
Around this dating game is a story arch of a “love fairy” named Kyu who will show up from time to time and offer you advice for how to deal with certain girls or just give you some encouragement (and even a surprise later on). She is really interested in you getting laid, so listen to her advice.
This may be the basics of game play, but there is far more to HuniePop than what you see here.
By the way, while this is a game about picking up girls – you don’t have to be male to play it. The developers graciously put in a “girl” mode, so you can play as a woman who is interested in other women. While that sounds fun and er, titillating – there is very little difference between the two genres outside of some dialogue change.
Advanced Play – The Pickup Artist
When you approach a girl, you will know nothing about her. Kyu, the love fairy, may show up and give you advice on how to approach her – but for the most part you’re on your own.
The girls appear on screen as still images with only their mouths and eyes moving. What they are wearing will vary based on how far you’ve gotten with them previously and what location you are currently in (University Campus, gym, bar, etc). This is a cartoon Anime game. But don’t expect the girls to be proper, demure Asian girls. They are most definitely Western in nature. They range from “nerd girl” to “MILFy whore” to “outright bitch” – and several in-between. The voice over work is pretty good even with the extreme ends of the spectrum.
Each game day you have the opportunity to approach five girls or so, but you can only actually date each one once per day. The rest of the time you will be talking to them, buying them food, drinks and gifts in an effort to woo them.
Every girl has about twelve pieces of information they will divulge to you as you talk to them. Things like weight, height, hobbies, age, education, etc. These answers will be kept in a virtual notebook for you to review. You cannot reference your book during questions, so some memorization will be in order here. She will also ask you questions about yourself. The goal isn’t to answer these accurately; it is to tell the girl what she wants to hear based on her personality.
Correct answers will net you Hunie currency. More on that in a bit.
If you chatter too long, her food meter will go down and she will simply refuse to talk to you (or start a date) until you feed her. You can also buy her a drink (although not every girl will drink in the morning, even if you have her favorite drink on hand) which might get her a little drunk.
Buying the girl gifts is a huge thing. It not only earns you Hunie bucks, but if you find the perfect gift for a girl you might get one in return from Kyu (your love fairy). These gifts add special skills inside of the match three “date” game. More on that in a bit.
Pretty much any point in time (once per day, per girl) you can initiate a date. You’ll arrive in a new location and she will probably arrive in a new outfit ready for the date. That starts the match three game.
Advanced Play – Match Three
Chances are likely you’ve played a match three game so I won’t go into great detail on the basics. The game board is littered with tokens (circles with symbols and colors). Drag and drop a token to make connecting lines of three or more of the same token. The tokens will disappear and you are awarded points based on how the girl feels about that token’s meaning. The nerd girl may like Talent over Passion. The slut might like the lusty red tear drops more. Your “traits” will also affect how the tokens affect the girl (more on that in a bit).
You start with twenty turns to reach the stated goal of points. Extra turns can be had by matching sets of yellow bells (or through gift’s given by Kyu). Every successful date (of any girl) will increase the points needed to execute a subsequent successful date.
Matching isn’t limited to adjacent tokens, by the way. You can drag any token vertically or horizontally as far as you want. Sounds too easy and too good to be true right? Don’t worry; it isn’t.
The gifts Kyu gives you act as one time use modifiers for a date, and you get the items back for the next date – so there is no reason NOT to use them. They will require you collect blue teardrops (sentiment) of sufficient number to execute them. If it helps? Think of them as spells with sentiment being mana. They WILL be necessary to win later.
When the date is over (for better or for worse) you go back to your original venue where you met the girl and you may continue to interrogate her or buy her things – but there won’t be another date until “tomorrow” in game time.
Advanced Play – General
While the girl’s profile will tell you her likes and dislikes, the store you have access to may not have the food or gifts you need at that point in time. Each game day the store restocks with supplies, so keep checking back. If you buy something on accident, don’t worry. You’ll eventually find a girl who will want it.
The key to getting game-changing gifts yourself is to find your girl EXACTLY what she wants. Everyone girl has at least one unique gift that will set her on fire and Kyu will reward you with your own gift. Once unwrapped, you can drag them to your Date Gifts and have them available during your date match three game.
Pretty much anything you do successfully with a girl will get you Hunie bucks. These are spendable on increasing your “traits”. Think of these as “passive skills” from other RPGs. Some will make more of a certain type of token fall during play. Some reduce the negative reaction to matching broken heart tokens. The more Hunie bucks you earn, the more passive skills you can get. When spending the cash, look carefully at what is available and get what is representative of your play style.
Regular cash is earned by completing dates. Cash is needed to buy food, drinks and gifts so you’ll want to pretty much date as much as you can.
What separates this game from the average match three is the insane strategy you need when going on dates later in the game (with high score requirements to be successful). It almost becomes more like a game of chess than Bejewelled; planning two, three and even four moves ahead. There is a huge thrill when you are down to a couple of moves with a long way to go and all the tokens just line up like magic and you pull it off.
Sex? Yes, you have sex with the girls – if the timing is right. I won’t spoil the fun, but sex is just another match three game, but with a twist. There is a lot of moaning and what not, but if you’re hoping for a cut scene out of Game of Thrones, it isn’t going to happen. Those with the uncensored patch applied will get some “hard R” rated nudity (definitely NSFW), those without will still be rewarded. Just make sure you check your cell phone in the game after a night of passion.
Possibly the best part of this game is that once you’ve “scored”? You still want to play.
The Dark Side
No game is perfect and HuniePop is no exception.
The subject matter isn’t going to appeal to everyone and the game will easily end up being dismissed as a simple match three with a “porn” hook, which is a shame as HuniePop is a great game even if you took out the sexual part of it.
While you can casually play through the first couple of dates, anything past date three or four and the game really ramps up in difficulty – especially if you haven’t scored some Kyu presents to help you play (that teddy bear only goes so far). This will be off-putting to some but horribly addictive and attractive to others. There is a great sense of accomplishment and earning on later dates.
Getting the game uncensored can be a drag if you don’t buy it outside of Steam. People host “patches” for it all over – but the so-called patch is really a zero byte file that is named properly and stuck in the folder next to the exe file. It’s not a patch, really – and there is no way to tell if it is “working” until later on when you see stuff you’re pretty sure Steam wouldn’t allow.
The game has no controller support – which sounds weird for a game like this – but those of us streaming games from Steam to our tablets via Limelight or NVidia’s Gamestream or just use Steam Big Picture mode on the TV? Controller support would be great as an option.
HuniePop is a seriously addictive, well-thought out game. It takes some new turns with old ideas and presents them in a fun and sexy way. The price is right and there is probably a couple dozen hours worth of play time here if you want to be a completionist. The prose is funny and often clever with great voice over work befitting the game.
If you’re not offended by trying to pick up barely-legal Anime girls in a cartoon video game? You shouldn’t pass up the chance to play HuniePop.