First Thoughts on “Huniepop 2: Double Date”

So, like Shamus Young, I found the original Huniepop game strangely compelling.  It’s less of a surprise for me than for Shamus because I am a long-time fan of dating sims and Shamus isn’t.  Still, he was turned off by the seeming doubling-down on the anime sex elements while I was turned off by the change in girls and that none of them seemed interesting to me.  Still, when I looked it up to see what the mechanics were I was interested, as you indeed have to “double date” and try to get into a threesome with girls, but this means that you need to balance your “attention” between the two girls, which means that you have to switch between them before the one gets too tired where they are unusable for a number of turns before they recover.  They have different traits which means that they like different matches, and will get baggage later that impacts what you can or should do.

So how does this Match-3 gameplay actually work?  The two girls at a time and the stamina is itself kinda interesting, forcing you to balance your time between them and look for the matches each girl likes best and for stamina matches when you need to.  However, that the broken heart matches now exhaust them is terrible if these ever come up by accident, so removing broken hearts from the board is more critical than ever.  Except that while in the first game you got a number — 4 or 6, I think — of slots for date gifts which can do that and you could slot in your favourite gifts for your playstyle, here it seems like the gifts are per girl and you have to open up more than one slot as you go along, which is quite pedantic.  And you still have to build up sentiment to use them, and of course that has to be built up per girl, which just adds more playing around to the game when all I wanted to do was match some threes or more.  All in all the gameplay is a bit more fiddly and so I don’t feel it’s really taking advantage of the concept all that well.

Moreover, the dating sim elements seem to be added to a bit as well … except that I have very little interest in them because I have very little interest in any of the pairs I’ve discovered so far.  In the first game, you could focus on the girls you like, but here it has to be on the combination and that means that you have essentially two girls-worth of a combination of looks and personality to balance to try to gain some interest.  And for me almost all of the girls have pretty uninteresting or annoying personalities.  So I have no interest in talking to them, and little interest in dating them or doing anything for them, which is turning the dating sim into a puzzle game, and I’m not that interested in a straight puzzle game.

So far, it’s not that interesting to me, and looks like it won’t be a game that I can use to fill in a couple of hours when I have some time, which means that I’ll probably put it off for a while.  I like the concept, but the gameplay doesn’t take full advantage of it and the girls just aren’t interesting enough for me to bother.

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