While new titles are coming out for all sorts of platforms every day, the rail shooter hasn’t seen too much exposure in recent years. Even so, after franchises like Sin and Punishment and House of the Dead have taken the genre to its highs, a new rail shooter would need some special hook to make it stand out from what we’ve seen in the past. In Gal*Gun, this chemical X is deliciously-shameless Japanese fan service via more pantsu, oppai, and cute squealing kohai than you’ll know what to do with.
In Gal*Gun: Double Peace, you play as a high school student who has a life-changing supernatural encounter with a student cupid. In an attempt to beat a hate-mongering student demon to the punch, the cupid hits you with a super-charged love arrow that turns you into a Casanova, equipped with irresistible love pheromones that bring every teenage girl for miles swarming to you. The problem is that if you don’t find and confess your love to the one girl you truly admire by the end of the day, you’ll be claimed by anyone of the random girls mobbing you and doomed to a monotonous and unhappy future with a girl who was only momentarily infatuated with you.
It sounds cool but it seems to just hold together the main gameplay component, which is injecting your love juices into every girl in the school in order to bring the girls intense, euphoric satisfaction. I’m not making it up or elaborating, that is the object of the game. You travel all throughout the school watching for girls that will attack you with their love confessions; verbally as hiragana flying across the screen and physically with sharp love letters. When you spot one of the lovesick ladies, you load her up with your pheromones until she faints in pleasure and fades away.
As they are hit by your love they will moan and scream expectantly. The camera moves through the stages rather slowly and the actual shooting mechanics are extremely bare bones, but the girls do have weak spots. If you land a shot on one of their most sensitive body parts – legs, hips, neck, etc, different for each girl – you’ll knock them out in one critical hit dubbed the “ecstasy shot.” Once you fill a love meter, you’ll be able to go into Doki Doki mode. In the PS Vita version of the game, you’ll use the touch screen in this mode to touch and tap a girl into euphoria as the camera zooms in on and orbits her body. The girls scream quite a lot here.
In this mode too you’ll need to take advantage of each girl’s most sensitive areas, although these change as you tap. The exuberant cries and moans of joy and the colorful hearts bursting across the screen leave no doubt about whether or not the girls love what’s happening. Doing well in this mode will cause the girl to erupt in a love explosion that sends all the girls surrounding her into intense pleasure and wins you lots of “Mote Mote” points. Your new super powers also include x-ray vision, so that you can see through the girls’ clothes and their weak spots.
You can use the points earned from performing well in stages in the school shop, which includes various accessories you can use to customize the girls, consumable items to increase your performance in stages and more. Speaking of customizing the girls, you can choose their outfits and accessories. Despite randomly appearing like enemies in any other shooting game, each of the girls actually has a name and a profile and generally a distinct voice. You can read about them after finding student handbooks hidden in stages.
In the campaign you choose a certain character type and quickly thereafter a certain love interest. The character type defines what kind of dialogue options you’ll have — a feature that will get you different events with whichever love interest you choose. This creates myriad replay options to see all the scenes, get the different endings and unlock all of the amazing artwork.
I must say, the game’s illustrations are simply beautiful, very polished and colorful. Collecting all of the pieces for the gallery could be motivation to complete the game, if the buckets of ecchi weren’t enough by themselves. There is also an additional difficultly level, but it doesn’t seem to add to any of the game’s mechanics or otherwise contribute any additional gameplay depth.
Unfortunately I did find Gal*Gun to be considerably boring past the initial shock value, fan service and light toned story. The schoolyard setting and cute (but ultimately basic) cast of characters fail to captivate and excite like some other rail shooter games. There’s also not much depth to the gameplay. You shoot the girls into euphoria with ecstasy one by one between satisfying mobs at once with pheromone fueled pleasure explosions and that’s about it.
The shots themselves don’t come with too much visual flourish and I don’t feel there’s some meaningful nuance to the combat whatsoever. The dating sim elements also feel half-baked and insignificant in between the increasingly unimpressive stages.
Undoubtedly though, Gal*Gun is a very special game for a specific player. It comes chock full of precisely the kind of slightly erotic but ultimately harmless content the social justice bunch would want cut from the industry. Taking your time enjoying it feels akin to eating something you know you shouldn’t have.
The artwork is simply stunning, so fans of Japanese animation or games in general have something to come for. Unless you’re a hardcore genre fan, it may also go far enough to scratch your rail shooter itch. If then you’re also allured by the story and getting to intimately know all of the main cast members, then I think you’ll love this game. Again, it’s packed to the brim with Japanese fan service which I myself generally love. In a sequel though, maybe it can add some interesting gameplay to supplement that.