This review will be extremely NSFW as it will use screencaps from HuniePop, which is a porn game.
Tho now long gone without resorting to internet archives, I once wrote about how video games tend to handle romance options as something you win or earn. This is a very capitalist ideal of romance, popular among self proclaimed Nice Guys and pickup artists (PUAs).
If I say the right things or give enough kindness or presents or whatever, sex comes out like a can of soda from a vending machine. I do not think this is a very good way to handle romance, but it’s probably the easiest way for games to portray it. A reward system that can be gamed and won.
HuniePop does not deviate from this. I do not blame the game for this, because I’ve never expected a porn game someone linked me on Steam to accomplish something that most games still have trouble with. However, I bring this up for a reason.
Games that handle romance as PUAs perceive it will attract a certain crowd, both as an audience and as creators. Such is the case with HuniePop. The primary creator clearly has a lot of underlying misogyny, and wanted to make a game that would piss those he considers “SJW” off.
On a related note, he was also upset about the criticisms the game received, which is a bit childish. If you actively try to upset people, it’s not really fair to complain about the criticism you get for doing so.
Whether some of the game’s decisions would have been made regardless of the creator’s vendetta against social justice is hard to know, but those decisions, regardless of reason, ultimately hurt what could have been a much better game.
The dialogue not only feels awkward in some of the vernacular it tries to use, but it reminds that 4chan members have literally no idea how actual human beings behave and talk.
A natural result of this is that the cast can all be reduced to one or two character traits. (i.e. Bitch, Nerd, etc) In fact, it’s this shallowness that makes the whole experience feel like those Meet n Fuck flash games on Newgrounds, just with an actual budget.
That’s not to say there aren’t any good lines. There are. Especially in the beginning, before the writing style has worn out its welcome. But, even if you do find yourself enjoying the writing, you’ll be tripping over the game’s racism and misogyny.
Like I mentioned, the creator wanted to piss of “SJWs”. This means a character saying she has “Yellow Fever” when an Asian character is introduced. This means a black girl being referred to as “chocolate”. This means that all the special gifts you can give to the Latina girl are things like a sombrero, or maracas, or a poncho.
Racism is the death of humor. I mean this truly. Even if racism weren’t enough of an awful problem on its own, and it really, really is, it’s just not actually funny.
There’s nothing surprising or unexpected about racist humor. It is always the same stereotypes and tropes. It is wholly devoid of any sort of creativity or imagination. It’s not surprising for media of any sort to have racism either. In case the constant murder of black men by police didn’t tip you off, racism is kind of the status quo.
I will tell you one of the reasons people like the creator of HuniePop find racism funny, beyond the fact that it doesn’t affect them. They perceive it as something they aren’t supposed to say, because they shouldn’t, and they take the same delight in it that a toddler takes in saying “naughty words” their mommy told them not to.
Racist humor, were it not for the harm it does, would be nothing more than the equivalent of a three year old running around the house yelling, “Shit shit shit shit shit!”
Would that I could simply ignore the writing and just play the game, but in a game that is fifty percent about getting to know the women in it and fifty percent playing Bejeweled, it’s a little bit hard to do that.
I say getting to know the women as tho that actually means anything, but this game distills even that to a matter of rote memorization. Ask every girl questions like when her birthday is, her bra size, her weight, her hobby (because they only ever have one), etc. Sometimes they’ll ask you a question, in which case you simply have to guess which answer they’ll like best based on their one dimensional characterization.
As you know more trivia about the women, they’ll quiz you on it. Speaking as someone considered a nerd growing up, I shouldn’t really be surprised that nerds reduced something like dating to the equivalent of a middle school pop quiz. (Again, this also plays into the PUA idea of romance as something that can be gamed and won.)
The “getting to know you” portion of the game isn’t even how one goes about seducing the women. Instead, by talking with them, giving them presents, and getting them drunk, the player earns “hunie”, which is really just another name for experience points. Hunie can be invested in a variety of stats that serve to make the other half of the game easier.
In fact, once you’ve maxed out all your stats there’s no reason to talk to any of the women at all. Maybe then you are what PUAs would consider an “Alpha” and can just magically whisk women away to a world of fuck.
Like I said before, half the game is playing Bejeweled. For the uninitiated, Bejeweled is perhaps the most well known example of games where you swap colored pieces with each other to match three. You can only swap if there’s a match, and typically there’s some sort of restriction in place, be it number of moves or time limit.
To its credit, HuniePop does deviate from the Bejeweled formula more than I expected. The rules for swapping pieces are changed to allow some more freedom, and every character you are seducing has a preferred colored piece. The goal is to reach a set number of points, so if you use the woman’s preferred piece, your score goes up more quickly.
There’s more to the system than that, but seeing as this is a review and not a tutorial, I won’t bore you with the minutiae.
This half of the game is actually pretty fun. It’s a quick and easy way to kill some time, never taking so long as to be tedious, and I found myself having fun. Sometimes you’ll find yourself deprived a victory by a matter of pure luck, and the difficulty of these puzzles ramps up faster than is kind, but if the game were simply these match three puzzles, I’d have no qualms about recommending it to others.
As harshly as I’ve criticized the game, there are other redeeming traits. The music is fairly pleasant, and the voice actors, while not particularly believable, do the best they can given the material they’re working with.
The art is probably one of the best aspects. While a number of the outfits are a bit silly, and one character’s hair doesn’t make any sense to me, HuniePop captures the “generic anime” look well, and for the most part the actual porn is really good! (As tho you need me to tell you that.)
However, as much as I like this game’s porn, there is one aspect to it that drives me up a fucking wall. The art seems as tho it was definitely drawn by someone with little/no experience with pussies, or who at least never actually looked at one while doing the art for HuniePop.
Time for anatomy lessons. Vagina isn’t really the term for the whole set of junk down there. It is specifically the term for the passage connecting the outside of a woman’s body to her uterus. The lips of the pussy are the inner and outer labia. You also have a clitoris and a urethra. I am explaining all this for a reason.
There are a few times you get a good look at the girls’ pussies, and often there is something missing from them. Two somethings, actually. The vagina and the urethra. It’s really silly to have an uncensored shot of a spread pussy and be lacking such fundamental parts of anatomy.
In the entire game, I noticed one pussy shot that seemed to remember at the last second that there’s supposed to be a couple holes there, and those were simply a texture drawn over a pussy that had already been drawn without. (My girlfriend even noted that the urethra was misplaced in that shot.)
So yeah, I fucking loved the porn in this game, but please, please porn artists, if you’re going to draw a pussy actually use reference images so you know what you’re drawing. As HuniePop shows, you aren’t doing yourself any favors if you don’t.
In the end, HuniePop is a number of weights on either side of a scale. One side of the scale reads, “Garbage: Don’t Bother”. The other says, “Pretty Fun Sex Romp”. The weights on those scales are going to read differently for everyone. Maybe you can tolerate the racism and poor writing because the rest of the game appeals to you enough to do so. Maybe you can’t. No review can tell you how that scale will balance out for you, but I hope this one helps some folks make an educated guess.