Double the pleasure, triple the fun!
The first HuniePop made waves in an interesting and almost unexpected way. It was a dating game with match-3 mechanics and adult themes that was inviting enough to charm the likes of relatively-wholesome YouTuber Markiplier to blush his way through, yet lewd enough to feel embarrassed about playing while your Steam friends could see you. The characters were colorful and fairly well fleshed out, leveling up meaning you get to learn more about the buxom babes intimately (in more ways than one), and the match 3 aspect was legitimately enjoyable to the point of addiction. No bone(r)s about it, HuniePot had a hit on their hands with the original, so it stands to reason they’d be up for round two with a sequel.
HuniePop 2: Double Date features a whole new slew of cuties to woo, and with the fate of the entire galaxy resting in your capable hands (and mouth, and nether regions, and…), it’s time to get busy. You see, you’d been enjoying your newfound love life after learning how to bond with the ladies in the first game, and, considering the hottie in your apartment, you’ve been doing well for yourself. Yep, it was business as normal in your bed — until one day, a familiar love fairy face, Kyu, shows up and explains the dire situation. Apparently, two cosmic space ladies known as the Nymphojinn are about to wake up from their millennia-long slumber, and if they don’t get their pipes cleaned before their period, their PMS will set of a destructive chain of reactions that will cause unfathomable death on a galactic scale. Kyu remembered showing you the ropes the first time around, so she is confident in your abilities to get the job done this time — with one catch: you’ll need to learn how to have a threesome. So, it’s off to the legendary lust island Inna de Poona to learn how to please two women at once; the world depends on it!
After choosing things like player gender, difficulty level, and whether or not one character has an “innie” or an “outie,” players will be whisked away to the island full of lusty ladies. Instead of trying to seduce individual girls by getting to know them, buying them gifts, feeding them snacks, and going on individual dates, players will now be interacting with two girls at once doing mostly the same thing. Talking to them doesn’t do much except yield seeds, which are used to buy gifts, food, and, later, wardrobe options. Giving them gifts and food can help raise their passion (combo-multiplier), sentiment (gift-giving capability), moves, or stamina. Going on dates is where the biggest change occurs, as instead of one girl to focus on, players must now split their time between two, ensuring both have a great time without getting angry or tired.
After a successful double date, the girls will not only feel closer to you, but with each other; they’ll start off compatible, after which the attraction will build. After another successful date, they’ll be ready to do the nasty, at which point the match 3 game will go from turn-based to stamina-based — keep up the matches quickly and you’ll be able to get a happy ending to their story. Each girl will have four others on the island they’re compatible with, and by crawling into bed with them all, you’ll gain enough experience to take on the space ladies and save humanity. So, you know — get cracking.
The attempt HuniePop 2: Double Date made to not only capture what made the first game great but build upon its story and mechanics is pretty logical, slightly disappointing, and still just as enjoyable as before. I think dating two girls at once made total sense for a sequel, but the implementation was a bit of a letdown; for one, they were always far more interested in each other than in you. In the first game, players were able to develop a relationship with each girl in something of a slow-burn fashion; gradually getting new photos from each likeable girl as they quizzed you on their interests to see if you were paying attention mimicked dating in a fun way. In HuniePop 2: Double Date, the girls feel more like a caricature instead of a fleshed out character, which makes some of them tolerable but others just… terrible. In the first one it was easy to find a couple that you looked forward to seeing; in the sequel, there are plenty you just want to avoid completely. And with the girls focused on each other more than you, it’s easy to feel like a disinterested third wheel pretty quickly.
Speaking of terrible, a new mechanic called “baggage” makes its debut in HuniePop 2: Double Date, available only on normal and in/femcel (hard) modes. As you talk to the girls in between dates, you’ll learn more about their likes and dislikes, which can yield fruit if the other girl feels the same way. Talking to them can also make them feel comfortable enough to share “baggage” about themselves, such as their depression or workaholic nature. Each lust interest has three different kinds of baggage, which is chosen at random before the date and will affect the dating playfield in some way. For example, Abia’s sex addiction will make her consume sexuality bubbles once per turn, and Lillian’s angst will cause the effects for broken hearts and pink hearts to be swapped. For the most part, these are simple enough to work around, but in some cases (eh hehm, Sarah), it can really cause some frustration.
Which segues into my next issue — the characters themselves. In the first game, it was easy to feel attached to at least one lovely lady and pick a favorite out of the bunch. There was a girl next door, a loner nerd, a single mom, a well-traveled flight attendant, a hot teacher, etc. There were “types” of girls that felt more rooted in personality than in racial/cultural stereotypes — not that they weren’t there per se, but they took a backseat to who the woman was. In HuniePop 2: Double Date, there were a handful of girls that were definitely like that — the cyber goth, the angtsy 18 year old, and some returning characters in the flight attendant and older porn star, but then there were others that were either straight up irritating or leaned into a racial/cultural stereotype so heavily that other facets of her personality didn’t get a chance to shine. For example, Sarah, the White girl obsessed with anime, is noted as being a “filthy weeb” who is just… awful. She constantly refers to the Pacific Islander girl as Japanese and her hygiene is so bad that it plays into her baggage, the stench of her mmhmmhmm driving away desirable board pieces.
Then there were others like Abia, a Muslim security guard, whose personality was solely based off sexual repression that can stem from a conservative religion. Don’t get me wrong, I understand it can happen — I grew up Mormon — but there’s just an additional cultural layer to it that was handled with the delicacy of a sledgehammer from a studio that may or may not have worked with a woman of this background. Not saying someone like Abia doesn’t exist, it was just so over the top that it made me kind of uncomfortable. Coupled with some other women, like Nora, the Latina cleaning lady/drug dealer who treated “juvie like summer camp” and Brooke, the cheating housewife with an annoying voice saying weird phrases as encouragement (“look at youuuuuu!”), I really wasn’t feeling the spark this time around. Maybe it’s character development — in the first game, I was just learning the ropes of love-making; in HuniePop 2: Double Date, an emotional connection isn’t required, just thrusting.
I know I’ve discussed a lot about HuniePop 2: Double Date’s drawbacks, so I’d really like to take more time to talk about where it does shine. For one, it’s still just as fun — if not more so — than the original game. I really loved the actual match 3 date component, and switching between two women kept it interesting. Some couples are better balanced than others, and their baggage can actually be a boon in some cases; getting a match-up with a girl who generates more broken hearts with another who uses broken hearts for positive benefits can make for an easier win than two who both generate bad pieces. Once you really feel like you get the swing of things you’ll have to actually challenge the Nymphojinn, which is a very challenging — and very fun — boss battle that switches up the mechanics yet again. After defeating the cosmic cuties, you can use the fruit you’ve been collecting to unlock more outfits for the ladies back on Earth and utilize the mechanic you unlocked in the boss battle. I also really enjoyed the music, surprisingly, as it was toe-tappingly catchy, especially the song featured at the strip club. Between the bright colors and fun music, I was definitely hooked on popping those bubbles way past my bedtime.
Finally, the photo album. For what it’s worth, I’m a straight woman so these rewards don’t really pertain to my interests, but after each sweaty escapade you’ll unlock images of the two ladies doing the deed with you. One interesting facet about this version’s photo album is that you’ll have the option to choose for the women to be relatively covered, nude, and nude with… erm, splatter. These photos are well drawn and bare all even in the most clothed version, so if this is your cup of tea, I imagine you’ll be pretty satisfied here.
When it comes to the match 3 mechanic, HuniePop 2: Double Date is absolutely one of the best match 3 games out there. When it comes to story progression and character development, it’s a little lacking in comparison to its predecessor. Interested parties will still have plenty of fun on Inna de Poona, so no worries there — just don’t expect to foster any long-term relationships with the lovely ladies populating the place. Although, on a lust-filled island, you’re probably not looking for commitment anyway. For a good time, give HuniePop 2: Double Date a chance.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed); Publisher: HuniePot; Developer: HuniePot; Players: 1; Released: February 8, 2021; MSRP: $19.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a copy of HuniePop 2: Double Date purchased by the reviewer.