Today, we'll be taking a look at HuniePop 2: Double Date to see just how much better a puzzle dating sim can get if you were to date two girls at once.
HuniePop 2: Double Date was released on February 8th, 2021 by HuniePot. It's a sequel that follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, offering match-3 puzzle gameplay dressed up as a dating sim, though it never commits too deeply to the latter genre. In order to make sense of that, though, one first needs to understand the sequel's basic synopsis.
In the original game, the player took the role of a lone and rejected loser, who got lucky enough to run into a love fairy named Kyu. As part of her job, Kyu helped the player figure out how to connect with others and find love. So much so, in fact, that the player exceeded the fairy’s expectations and ended up banging everyone from the local barista, to the goddess of love herself.
What the player wasn’t told in the previous game, though, is that Earth has a sort-of expiration date in the form of two ancient evils, known as the Nymphojinn. These cosmic beauties awaken about once every ten thousand years due to a “super-period,” at which point they’re expected to become mindlessly angry and destroy a good chunk of the universe; the part with Earth included.
Thankfully, there is a way to pacify them for the next ten thousand years: they have to get laid before they grow angry. Realizing that the player was the best charmer she knew of, Kyu asks them to become the hero that will save Earth… or at least give it a shot before the seemingly inevitable doom. As mentioned, though, the gods come as a pair, so the player will have to master the art of double dating before they can face the eldritch menace.
As you might’ve guessed from the premise, HuniePop 2: Double Date revels in low-brow humor, which was one of the things that personally attracted me to the game. Don’t expect much from the story past the introduction, though, as you won’t hear much else about the Nymphojinn until the very moment you’re ready to face them. Instead, you’ll travel with Kyu to the island of Inna De Poona, where you’ll spend time with twelve lovely heroines on double dates, honing your skills and generating the magic needed to awaken the Nymphojinn and invite them on a date.
The large female cast includes some returning fan favorites from the first game, a plethora of girls from the spin-off, HunieCam Studio, and three entirely new additions to the series: the repressed sex addict, Abia; the old-school YouTuber, Polly; and the professional model, Ashley. Each girl is fully voiced, with stellar performances from actresses such as Kira Buckland, known for voicing 2B in Nier: Automata, who takes the role of the hardworking fashion designer, Lola Rembrite, in HuniePop 2.
Having a cast this large means that everyone will surely find someone they like, as well as someone they probably won’t. That said, you don’t get to be too picky with the selection in this game, since each heroine is interested in dating four other girls and you have to clear all twenty-four pairs to reach the ending. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it might lead to some mixed results. For instance, being forced to spend time with Nora, a thieving drug dealer, made her grow on me somewhat. At the same time, I found the dishonest gold digger, Brooke, completely unlikeable, which made having to hit on her a drag.
Despite not liking certain characters, I’d still prefer to spend more time with the characters than what the game offered. While it certainly has all the elements of a dating sim, with such a large cast spread throughout multiple relationships, HuniePop 2 just wasn’t able to offer much of a story for any of the heroines. Each of the pairs has a scene where they meet, a scene where they realize they’re into one another, and a scene where they have fun together. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for the characters to grow or do anything interesting with themselves.
Dating the girls is where the puzzle portion of HuniePop 2: Double Date takes place. Each date plays out on a square grid filled with tokens that can be popped by lining up three or more of them. You can move a token as far as you’d like in a straight line, so long you create a row on the board in doing so.
Naturally, the girls are there with you as you play through the puzzles. You get to focus your attention on one of them at a time, and whenever you make a move, her stamina will decrease. You’ll have to swap between the two girls or match stamina tokens to keep them going, as they will take a break for several turns otherwise. A girl's stamina can also be completely drained if the player matches broken heart tokens together. If both girls are tired at the same time or you run out of moves, the date becomes a failure.
In order to win, you have to collect a set number of affection points within the turn limit. You can help tip the odds in your favor by equipping the girls with gifts that can be activated by matching sentiment tokens together, which offer helpful effects. These can range from removing certain tokens from the grid, up to granting you points based on the current state of the board. Choosing the right gifts for each girl requires strategizing around their preferred and disliked tokens, with the former giving you more affection, while the latter grants less. Additionally, you'll also have to account for another mechanic in the form of each girl's personal baggage. The baggage is a random gameplay modifier that comes from a girl’s specific personality trait. Each girl has three of these, with one of the three being active at random each time you meet her. For example, because of her sheepish nature, Lailani will sometimes be too bashful to accept hygiene or sex toy gifts during dates.
This puzzle system is quite straightforward and offers a lot of simple fun, but it also comes with a couple of its own quirks. Firstly, there are special passion tokens on the board; once matched, they increase the affection multiplier on future matches made for that girl, based on how much passion she has. Because it takes time to collect those on each date, it’s rarely worth it to swap between the girls, so you're instead incentivized to spend as much time as you can with one heroine, while largely ignoring the other.
Secondly, there’s an RPG element to the game. Winning matches grants you fruits that you can spend on gifts for the girls, which increases stats that dictate how much affection you get from certain tokens matches, how likely you can get special tokens from multiple lines, and so on. Since each successful date further increases the game's difficulty, there comes a point where you just have to grind these out, and the challenge begins to feel somewhat artificial until you hit the level cap on all your stats. Thankfully, that doesn’t take long to do.
These issues aside, I found the puzzle portion of HuniePop 2: Double Date very enjoyable. There’s plenty of planning involved for how you want to approach the date itself, as well as a strong emphasis on making lines of four or more tokens during play, which forces you to be mindful and attentive. Dates also take place in various tropical locations, each one having their own pleasant music theme.
Finishing the game also unlocks alpha mode, where the difficulty cap is removed and each date becomes harder than the one before. You can also face an endless gauntlet of dates to see how many you can best in a row.
Aside from the match-3 puzzle dates and short sex stories, HuniePop 2: Double Date also offers a gallery of thirty-one CGs to unlock by completing the storylines, three of which are exclusive to a playthrough. After the third successful date with any given pair, you’ll gain access to a post-sex CG showcasing the messy aftermath. As the protagonist themselves isn’t present in the images, their gender only affects whether you can see the girls coated in white, while both player genders also have access to clean variants of the pictures.
How much mileage you’ll get from the artwork strongly depends on your personal preferences. I’m a sucker for dynamic camera angles and interesting poses, and the game's CGs offer these in spades, providing a much more interesting gallery of erotic CGs than many other games I’ve played. On the other hand, I found the shading used to be a bit messy, with the game's artwork having an overall muddy look.
Since its initial release, HuniePop 2: Double Date has received regular updates that made the game more enjoyable to play, thanks to quality-of-life fixes made to the UI and the removal of bugs. The latest update at the time of writing has also improved some of the game's artwork, allowing players to admire Zoey’s breasts in one of her CGs, and making Polly’s genitals visible in one of hers. Uniquely to Polly, her genitals can be chosen at the start of the game under the "Polly's Junk" option, as some players protested the original reveal of her being transgender.
HuniePop 2: Double Date is an entertaining and reasonably challenging match-3 game with a dating sim theme. Despite having a narrative that’s thinly spread across a wide cast of characters and romantic pairs, the game manages to offer a satisfying, humorous, and positively vulgar experience. It took me twelve hours to beat the game for the first time, which I find more than reasonable at the listed price. Thanks to the post-game modes of play, the puzzle portion can be easily enjoyed for more than the twelve-hour runtime, and the handful of CGs exclusive to a single playthrough gives a decent excuse to replay the game in the future.
HuniePop 2: Double Date is available on Steam, JAST USA, Nutaku, FAKKU, Humble Bundle, and GOG for $19.99, as well as on MangaGamer for $19.95. The GOG version of the game is censored, but you can restore the game's adult content using a patch, as explained on HuniePot’s website.