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(Updated for V1.0.3)
So, here we are. After 6 years in development, the sequel to 2015's infamous sleeper hit puzzler-dating sim HuniePop has finally arrived. Is it as stacked as the 2D ladies our dear protagonist is after? I can definitively say that it is.
To start, the lore and story is a lot stronger here. Set about 2 years after HuniePop, the first game's protag—now newly-minted lover extraordinaire—is called in to do what they do best, now on two-girl dates, in order to avert the destruction of our mortal plane. We meet a mix of old friends (from HuniePop and HunieCam Studio) and new, and unlike in the original, the gameplay itself put the relationships between the characters front and center. There's a lot of good banter between the characters, unlike last time when we only saw it during each of their introductions. It really helps you feel like you've come to inhabit this world, and it's just as ridiculous and funny as before.
The gameplay has even more strategic depth and challenge than the last time, and the titular double-dates add a lot of complexity. You can't focus on one girl too long, Sentiment and Passion have to be managed separately between girls, and really, you have to do a bit of pre-date prep. Date gifts can only be assigned (to one girl) before the start of the date, and can only be given when the girl assigned it is in focus. And on top of this, we have the Baggage system. Each girl brings Baggage to a date, which makes dates more difficult, and some Baggages have really frustrating synergies with each other. All these additions make it so you *really* can't rest on your laurels this time, and gameplay after a while feels a lot less repetitive as a result.
Baggage is balanced by the fact that uncovering it is required to level traits. Uncovering it also frees up a new slot for a date gift to be assigned to a girl. Until this was explained, though, it felt like you were incentivized to NOT get to know the girls as people for fear of uncovering difficult Baggage. I actually now think it's a clever way to include a dynamic from real relationships. Still, the refinements to the overall gameplay experience do come somewhat at the expense of the dating sim aspects, which may upset some fans, and overall, this game's more sex-oriented than the last game.
As for incidentals, the interface feels more refined than the original's, and World of Wandag turned in another great set of original music tracks for this, in addition to some familiar tracks and remixes from the first 2 games in the Hunie series. The CGs, character designs, and art in general are once again quite good, even glossy, and the voice actors really capture the personalities of each character well.
6 years is enough to for anyone's tastes to change, but if you're still down with the mix of great puzzling action, raunchy humor, and heaping helpings of anime-girl cheesecake and cream pie, then my friend, this is the game for you.
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