Kinkmas: HunieCam Studio

Welcome to Kinkmas, everyone, the happiest and saddest time of the year at the same time. Every Friday in December, I'll spotlight a different weird fetish game I've found, and yes, the large majority of them are Japanese and very, very confusing. Please note that these are not porn games, but fetish games. Nothing particularly explicit happens in them, but everything in there is not squeaky clean, if you know what I mean. These are the balloon rubbing videos of games, people.

Before we enter the weird realms of the Japanese net, I'd like to start us off easy with a western title that's entire premise is based around marketing via fetishes. After the success of HuniePop, a game I am endlessly frustrated to admit is actually good, studio HuniePot decided to try their hand at a new genre. The end result was HunieCam Studio, which tosses out the outright pornographic elements of the last game and tried to be a more modest effort with a much more comedic tone and style.

Also, it uses AIDS as a game mechanic.

Did I mention the developers are regulars in chan boards?

For those unaware, HuniePop was a game that caught a lot of attention for combining dating sim elements with classic match three puzzling, and also because the developers were kind of huge scumbags, spouting MRA lingo absorbed from the dredges of the internet and thinking curse words were a shortcut to good writing. Despite all this, the game turned out to be genuinely good and one of my most played games on Steam (to my endless despair). HunieCam Studio, on the other hand, did not get the same attention and did not end up being nearly as good. This game changes to a tycoon formula, having you hire the girls from the last game, alongside some new ones, and having them work as cam girls.

The game works by having you manage your employees and what they do at any given moment. You need to earn fans to gain more money in cam shoots, but you also need to make sure your girls have the right set of fetishes in order to maximize profit, as fetishes draw in different crowds in different numbers that fluctuate with advertising and which girls you use in photo shoots. You can give them new ones to exploit via items found in a store, plus earn some extra money by having them work as escorts as a hotel. On top of this, you have to send them to a spa to relax when they get too stressed, and you have to keep stocking up on cigarettes and booze to keep the high earners satisfied and working. It can all stack up on you and cause issues, but the game is piss easy once you realize you can just have one or two girls do nothing by handle chores while more talented and expensive employees earn cash. That's the mechanical downfall, but there are far more problems here.

You don't have to play long before you realize how gross this game is, even when you knew you were already getting into something gross from the get go. First off, it's pretty damn racist, even for these developers. I mean, HuniePop had you giving girls gifts based on their ethnicity (this includes a sombrero for the Latino girl, if memory serves), but the characters had personality traits beyond fetishization of racial stereotypes. Most every new character is basically a joke based on race, gender, and subculture, and it's less funny and more makes you wonder if the writers have ever talked to anyone besides white guys before. The writing for this franchise is a painful distillation of every terrible thread I've ever seen on /co/ planning a comic about superheroes who were moms and also had giant boobs. Yes, that was a thing people were trying to crowd-produce. Thinking back, there were a lot of failed web comics where the entire premise was “____ but with big titty.” At least I can say HuniePot managed to avoid that trap.

Oh, and remember when I said this game turned AIDS into a mechanic? When you send girls on escort jobs, they risk getting STDs that impair their work or make them useless, including AIDS, which can't be cured. The tone-deafness is mind boggling. There are porn games out there where you train sex slaves and even those have too much class to include one of the most horrific diseases in human history, one that nearly completely wiped out the queer community in the United States, as a mechanic. That addition is both a mechanical misstep and a gross bit of exploitative edginess that feels like too much even for the Hunie guys.

Part of me wants to like this game. It has an art style I find kind of amusing (heart pupils are good actually), and the idea is solid enough. But god, where HuniePop's mechanics could distract from all the awful dialog, racism, and sexism, HunieCam Studio just can't do that. With so many tycoon games out there, the only claim to fame is its comedic energy, and that comedic energy is mainly used for laughing at women. Which is not funny. That's terrible. Good sex comedy has balance, or has jokes beyond “HAHA WOMEN AREN'T LIKE MEN AND ARE ALSO MAINLY SEX OBJECTS.” I'm expecting them to announce a third game soon and I hope it's something better than this. These people have some serious talent and promise, but the quality of their work depends primarily on how much of their id they're able to wring in. I like dirty sex comedy and all, and there's a few good chuckles in here (mainly in the tutorials), but try to do more than the laziest version of that.

But if you want to see creative, join me next Friday. I promise you that you haven't seen lunacy like this before...


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