Disclosure: I have no financial ties to this review. I am only a fan of HuniePop, and after playing the newest game by HuniePot I am very, very, angry.
HunieCam Studio is a new take on the “business tycoon/ management” genre. As the game begins, you are reluctantly given control of a “sleazy cam girl operation” by the owner (who just so happens to be the love fairy Kyu from HuniePop). The goal of the game is quite simple: generate as many fans as possible in the limited amount of time given, without going bankrupt in the process.
The game isn’t very complex. Generating money is essential to both upgrading your abilities and paying the fees for employing the cam girls. In the session I went through, by first going through the tutorial, and then restarting and skipping it to start at the earliest possible moment, I noticed that many of the characters, sounds, and dialogue were recycled from the HuniePop. At many points during the twenty-one game days that the session lasts for, I was underwhelmed by the lack of creativity when it came to the functionality of the different buildings, items, and juxtaposition from HuniePot’s earlier title.
Whenever developers set out to create new content for players there usually needs to be a core purpose for the game to ground itself. Whether it’s compelling storytelling in The Last of Us, puzzle solving in Portal, or unforgiving sadism of Dark Souls, developers need a rallying point in which they can fall back on in order to stay true to what makes their studio great. When I look at the unique characters, funny dialogue, and innovative additions found in HuniePop I knew what this team of developers had to offer to the community. The only issue I have is that everything that made the original IP a standout success was thrown out for HunieCam Studio’s creation.
The Cam Girls that the player is hiring are not interesting. Even the cameos from the earlier game (HunieCam seems to be an unofficial sequel) like Audrey are nothing more than cardboard cutouts that occasionally use recycled soundbites. There is little to no interactivity with the characters at all in the game, other than to move them from building to building. There didn’t seem to be a real purpose for even giving them distinguishing features at all, since the game is designed around generating fans and money at all costs. It is even more evident with the “sketchy motel” that you can send your employees to for some quick cash. You can do this repeatedly until they contract an STD, which then affects the usefulness of the character later on. The entire cast could be replaced with different colored rocks that, in turn, have differing stats and hourly rate for employment. Other than the original love interests from HuniePop, there was literally nothing special about any of them.
As none of the notable characters retain any of their original personality, you have no choice but to focus on the game mechanics. All aspects of player upgrades in game are designed to generate more money or fans, slow time or resources used, increase the slots and stats of the different colored rocks, or increase the rates of resource gathering. These different attributes and items are almost entirely pulled from their older IP. While there are some aspects, like the “Day Spa”, are new, everything in HunieCam Studio boils down to an adult Cookie Clicker.
The only valid functionality to this game that draws players to it is score chasing. At the end of one’s 21-day run, you are scored by how many fans were generated with each level reached corresponding to a different… dick trophy. Once all the scores are tallied, you may receive coins to spend on customizing the appearances of the Camgirls. There isn’t any real game function to the coin system other than the cosmetic changes. If you fail to do well in game, it could take dozens of playthroughs to unlock everything. The only real way to speed up this already grind of a title is to play harder difficulties like “Rock Hard Mode”. This mode can only be unlocked by achieving the golden phallus trophy. Other than perfectionists, there seems to be no real replayability for normal buyers.
This entire game is a surreal experience. Once achieving the ending for a game, players usually are left with sense of accomplishment or greater understanding for the universe they immersed themselves into, but there was a distinct lack of any feeling whatsoever. A question kept coming while playing HunieCam: “Why did I buy this game?” That is when an unsettling truth was laid out. It wasn’t because of the genre, story, or mechanics, but to a blind sense of loyalty to the developers of a great game. This rendition, a mockery if you will, doesn’t stand up at all to the standards set by HuniePop.
Author’s note: This section is mostly a message for HuniePot. Stop relying on the fact that your original game was boosted by the drama that occurred during the time of its release. Nostalgia isn’t a gimmick to be tossed into a poorly constructed game. It was so painful to see interesting characters turned into… well, “Camgirls” that it made the experience that much more unenjyable. Don’t tarnish what made you great: Creativity, Amazing Characters, and Memorable Dialogue. To put it into a comparison HunieCam Studio is to HuniePop, what IronMan 3 was to the IronMan trilogy. By all means, if this game is fun for some people to play, it doesn’t make them wrong, but there was much left to be desired. Was this the best effort put in by HuniePot? For the sake of many future fans, I most certainly hope not. For now, HuniePot is batting “50%” with the next installment needing significant improvement in order to bring disillusioned players back to the table.
“It works, I guess.”