Analyzing HuniePop’s match-3 gameplay

Sections: 2D, Features, Genres, Hentai, Opinions, Originals, PCs, Puzzle, Windows

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A few days ago, we ran a review of HuniePop. Technology Tell’s writer had previously loved Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed, and felt he was up to the challenge. He didn’t care for the game and gave it the score he felt it deserved. We received both censored and uncensored versions of the game, so I figured I would try the censored version of HuniePop and share my thoughts on the adventure.

My thoughts on HuniePop is that it’s all rather generic. The whole point is to give an excuse to see half naked, or in the uncensored version naked, women. Fine, some people like that. However, you also expect the rest of the game to offer something to make it at least somewhat compelling. Especially if someone is playing a censored version, as I was.

As far as match-3 puzzles go, it’s a subpar copycat of Puzzle & Dragons. I’m a huge fan of GungHo Online’s puzzle game and love how strategic it allows a player to be. With HuniePop, you can only move an icon along its vertical and horizontal columns. Moving it shifts other pieces, but I never saw this lead to any impressive combos, as one sees in games like Bejeweled or the aforementioned Puzzle & Dragons. It’s more tedious and plodding.

Especially because of a quirk which slows this aspect of gameplay down. Look at this screenshot and see if you can catch the problem.
huniepop 2

Do you see it? Here, let me employ my MSPaint skills.
huniepop 3

See where the mouse pointer is, in relation to the icon it is moving? The tracking is off. Every match I played seemed to take at least two minutes longer than it should, because the mouse positioning meant that I wasn’t swapping the gems I thought I was.

The scoring system doesn’t help. Every round of HuniePop feels rather tedious, because reaching the point threshold to move on takes longer than expected. Each match only grants a few points, and there are even matches that decrease the score, so a “date” can feel like it goes on forever. (Just like some real life dates, am I right?)
This happening in the tutorial and on the first few dates is a harbinger of things to come and, sure enough, HuniePop sets ridiculously high scores as the game progresses. Which defeats the whole purpose, since match-3 games are supposed to be quick and casual by definition. As anyone will tell you, a late-game level of Bejeweled or Puzzle and Dragons can take as much time as an early game one.

Though, I suspect the tedium was inserted as artificial difficulty. There is no way to fail at HuniePop. The only challenge is if you’re willing to sit there long enough to complete the dates with higher score goals. There are no time limits. Though you can lose points by matching broken hearts, you’ll never match enough, even purposely, to mess up a date. Drawing things out is key, I suppose, because the game would be ridiculously short if the match-3 system was more competent.

As a match-3 player, I have to recommend Puzzle and Dragons the free-to-play iOS and Android game, to anyone who would consider getting the censored version of HuniePop. The puzzle gameplay is much better. (And some of those monsters you’ll recruit even look a little sexier, too!)

Site [HuniePop]

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  • The Crusader

    the censored version is not censored though, the cursing and nasty name calling is in the censored version from my understanding. this game is for lonely men with no life or just dumb people who lust towards women. i thought it was going to be a great match 3 game with customization, but forget it.

    • Jenni

      The censored part refers to the adult acts being removed from the game.

      Also, tomorrow I’ll be going over the script and relationship elements in the game.

      • The Crusader

        well hopefully one day they make a game similar to it with customization for clothes, gear, and stuff and without all the unnecessary bad language and other stuff. Kinda like a sims puzzle game, yea that would be great.

        • Michael Guy

          Hard to imagine a dating sim that uses match 3 as the challenge element that would not feel tacky or a barrier of entry to the later stages.

          Ie a princess game might be somewhat challenging to integrate with the idea of parallel gameplay. Modifying the procedural game, Long Live the Queen, for example, requires balancing emotional traits, knowledge at a very specific timetable of events that affects the episodic gameplay, and requires a severe number of counters early in the game, encouraging repetition and obedience to the schedule of events.

          Every date sim title would have to decide on a goal or challenge phase. Even a barbie lifestyle sim would be a challenge to integrate match 3 elements as a ramping difficulty puzzle element to be able to buy new shoes on sale. That said, it’s not impossible, match 3 is a minigame filler with speed and/or causative bonuses could accrue from play as an engagement reward.

          One genre title that could do this, is leisure suit Larry. It’s just not a popular choice for people, it was panned universally for the timing based puzzle games or collection minigames. Also the story.

      • Michael Guy

        I was under the impression that the steam censorship was bypassable with an empty file with the correct name, i.e. a token gesture at censorship.

        As for the cursor, it seems like a technical glitch that could be patched, or something uncommon, since it’s not in the other review(s). Perhaps something in switching display modes under Unity4?

        • Jenni

          I prefer to play the censored versions of the games.

          • The Crusader

            , but is still has the cursing in it and calling women all sorts of names and are there any stupid half naked stuff in it, or none of that?

          • Michael Guy

            The steam version’s using the Japanese form of censorship for eroge or “soft porn” ie ecchi vs hentai, where they censor genitalia and sex acts, (aand a few other things too) for publication restrictions. Instead of putting black bats, ecchi will cover naked people with lens flares, smoke, towels, hair, strategically placed melons or fruit, etc.

            While this is apparently an American game, it’s not using US or western censorship and the prudish moral values based content censorship. Steam, has no particular ratings system, so it has no particular requirements to report on. So it’s just a question for the buyer.

  • Erodred

    this review is way better then the other one
    so its not that the game offends you but its actually a bad game?
    good to know

    • Jenni

      I will also have an article up tomorrow explaining exactly why it is a bad dating sim script and gameplay wise, compared to games like Katawa Shoujo and Dream Club.

      Because of the nature of the game, we believed it best that two people offered articles detailing thoughts on HuniePop to explain why it received the score it did.

      • BB (Kurou Sakura)

        All of this could have been put in one review. Just seems pointless to spread them out like this. Unless you want the views, then I retract my statement.

        • Jenni

          One of the things we like to do here is go in-depth into various game elements, sharing more intensive explanations on how we feel about certain games. In some cases, this means multiple people providing their views so readers get a more well rounded opinion.

          • BB (Kurou Sakura)

            I can understand wanting to give different perspectives, but it seems rather tedious to have them spread out on different pages, on different dates – when you guys can collaborate your opinions, presenting everyone’s views (pros, cons and otherwise) in a single review. The things are, it just just seems lazy.

          • Jenni

            All reviews are written by a single person at every website. The only collaborative reviews are videos.

            And the other opinions are in-depth features analyzing specific elements. The third article is an explanation of why the dating sim element doesn’t work.

  • Woot Woot

    I think a game should always been compared against its peers, and in that respect HP has outperformed. It would be incorrect to benchmark HP against puzzle games as they do not share the same target audience.

  • Sergio Nacher Fernández

    See? This is a much, MUCH more objective review than the one Lucas White wrote. And more importantly, it doesn’t insult the target audience.

    That said, while almost all of your points are valid, the tracking being off is a resolution-related bug that the developer is working to fix. Just thought I would note that.

    • Jenni

      Which is why we were offering multiple viewpoints on HuniePop so our readers would understand. 😀

      We also ran a piece earlier today going over the character development issues.

    • IcyStorm

      Reviews cannot be objective.

      • Michael Guy

        I don’t believe you can be purely objective when writing for people. Objectivity is not absolute, it is designed for the writer to attempt, and provide a reference to the objective arguments, given their own lacking perspective or lacking empathy of others.

        Different writers provide or dismiss Objectivity because they prefer their own belief and bias,or outright prejudice to flavour the argument they want to create. The goal isn’t to review with prejudice, but to review with a common perspective that others may believe to be relevant.

        Objectivity is not about precision, it is about recognition of prejudicial beliefs or bigotry, and writing skills developed from the premise that a writer has to create something to be read by others, that it should come from Empathy, or the artificial neutrality as a fictional viewpoint of the multitude of readers, and should be free from self-catering or defective reasoning , or the biases of others.

        In this case, personal reviews are not reflective of the organisation, so should not have to be deferred as an example of the organisation. However,that’s what editorial does. Decide on the Objectivity of the review and they are responsible for the content when published.

        If @Jenni is TTechnologyTell’s editor, sure. She would be the person who is responsible for their staff writers.

  • Manny Being Manny

    I played this game 12 hours yesterday and I didn’t notice any tracking issues. Maybe it was already patched by the time it released?

    • Jenni

      It’s a Windows 8.1 issue.

  • OpinionsProfile

    Now this is a good review.

  • SoreThumbsBill

    I didn’t have that issue. I think it has something to do with your monitor’s resolution. I noticed on your screenshots the tokens have an egg shape but on mine they have a round shape. Try 720p.

    Also, you can adjust the difficulty on the menu but personally I found it more satisfying than Bejeweled 3 (I beat all challenges and got the gold trophies in a day while I am still playing Huniepop after a week) but my favorite puzzle game is still Tetris. On Huniepop you have to think carefully before you make your move unlike casual puzzlers that depend on speed, especially on Hard mode.

    You have to balance your limited moves with getting high affection for the multiplier, sentiment for using powers and correct movement of tokens so you do the most powerful combos with the token the girl likes.

    Also, I love how the girls get excited after I do an impressive combo or beat a date in a few moves. Much better than Bejeweled’s and Tetris “dead” voices.

  • Diebitus

    i wish that we can play this on android :C someday