HunieCam Studio is the second game developed by HuniePot, and could be considered a quasi-spinoff from their original outing, HuniePop. And it is with absolute sincerity that I hope it proves to be the nadir of the studio's development career.
Forget the art (which I'll get to in a bit): The two things that elevated the original Huniepop from "middling" to "masterpiece" were its entertaining game mechanics and its razor-sharp, refreshingly-vulgar wit. This was one of the first successful dating sims to be produced completely by Americans, and the writers took full advantage of their native vernacular to produce characters that genuinely sounded like real people.
I'll admit, for all its flaws, I've yet to find another game that rewards you with a giant golden dick.
(Click to enlarge... Heh.)
You'll find trace amounts of these aspects in Studio, but compared to the original, the new game just doesn't measure up. Despite how it bills itself, the gameplay is less of a management sim with camgirls, and more of a PC-exclusive mobile game with a couple lewd motifs. Your mouse is always bouncing from one end of the screen to the other; delegating tasks to your girls, collecting resources from buildings, buying smokes and booze to fuel their addictions, et cetera. The game does have the good grace to pause when you're overviewing your finances and other statistics, but the rest of the time you're engaged in a frantic clickfest akin to a professional game 'a League. (Though apparently some people are pretty good at this sorta stuff; a day after release, the dev implemented a new "Rock-Hard" mode to give players extra challenge.)
An early screenshot from my first run. You unlock more shops in the beginning stages of the game.
And as for the charming dialogue from the first game? Eh, Kyu (the fairy girl) does provide some funny quips while running through the game mechanics, but your camgirls have marginally less personality than an individual unit from Command & Conquer. They've got a handful of lines for when you give them a task, but that's pretty much the extent of their ingame characterization. Seeing as you've got to manage their stress and addictions, I feel as if this is a missed opportunity of sorts. It would've made the game far more interesting if your girls actually gave you feedback on how you were managing them: Treat them well, and they'd compliment you from time to time; treat 'em like dirt, and they'd complain accordingly. The game as a whole just exhibits this disconnect between the player and the world s/he interacts with, kinda like a actual camgirl business, only without the real money to go with.
To be fair, it's clear HuniePot still has the talent. Kyu is entertaining as she's always been, and the blurbs for most of the new characters are downright hilarious. Special mention goes to Audrey and her "awesome coke habit".
Nikki ain't lookin' so hot these days. Neither is anyone else.
Now it's time to address the elephant in the room: The art style. Contrary to prevailing opinions, I don't really mind it all that much. Oh, don't get me wrong: This ain't no HuniePop, but it also ain't the "sexualized Bratz" that people claim it to be. That being said, HuniePop's art was downright luscious, while Studio's resembles a bad rendition of Skullgirls. (Just compare Filia's official art with Nikki, and you'll see what I mean.) There's nothing wrong with stylization, but HuniePot has taken it to the point where it actually detracts from the quality of the art itself. And remember how I mentioned the gameplay felt like a mobile game? Yeah, the rest of the graphics make it look like one too. The town map, where you spend most of your time, is reminiscent of a flash game from from the late 2000's. What's more, you rarely get to see any part of a character beyond their face; you can take a gander at your camgirls' standard portraits, but there's really not much to look at. And what's worse, assuming you do really well and unlock everything (the game only takes an hour or two), your only real reward is a single semi-racy CG PER CAMGIRL. And they ain't even that titillating either: Some ass here, some boobs there; unless you're the kinda guy who's puritan enough to jerk off ta pantyshots, there's literally no nudity whatsoever. Seriously HuniePot, the least you coulda done is hint that they were going commando or somethin'...
'Course, that's not to say the style's inherently bad... With more expressive portraits and a bit more attention to detail, the devs coulda made some downright bodacious-lookin' babes.
Let's see... Redeeming qualities? Well, it's cheap for one: Seven bucks regular. The music is decent, I guess. And of course, this minor slip-up aside, the dev is based as fuck.
Do yourself a favor: Let your wallet speak for you. Instead of buying this game, buy a spare copy of HuniePop for a friend. It's only a couple more dollars, but a hundred times more entertaining and worthwhile. That said, I'll admit there's still some fun to be had here. If ya liked HuniePop and you're looking for something different, or if you're genuinely a fan of fast-paced management sims, I'd definitely check it out sometime!