Title: Gal*Gun: Double Peace
Developer: Inti Creates
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Vita
Version Reviewed: PlayStation Vita
Released: Out now!
At a glance, Inti Creates’ and Pqubes’ Gal*Gun: Double Peace seems to depict both the ultimate blessing and curse of every teenage boy – every girl in school is absolutely crazy for Houdai Kudoki, but he only has until the day’s end to confess to his beloved, or he’ll be doomed to a life of loneliness! Having friends bugging you to spill your heart can be annoying enough, but what foul demon would set such a deadline? Wait, it wasn’t a demon, but an angel?!
An Elite Cupid-in-training, Ekoro is tasked with ensuring that the hapless Houdai finds true love in order to pass an exam, but when the presence of a mischievous demon startles her, she accidentally fires a love arrow with thirty-two times the normal effectiveness, landing our protagonist in this predicament. With girls running after him from every corner, Houdai’s only hope is the “Pheromone Shot”, which will subdue them with euphoria. However, two girls remain unaffected by Houdai’s bizarre situation – his childhood friends, the demon-hunting sisters Shinobu and Maya.
With the stage set for this eccentric on-the-rails shooter, players must determine the story’s outcome by exploring the multiple story routes and endings, with an initial choice of romantically pursuing Shinobu or Maya being the first hard call to make, before additional paths are unlocked for replays after subsequent playthroughs. Levels are short and sweet, with Houdai automatically moving down a pre-determined path with players free to focus on firing pheromone at pesky fangirls as they appear, or scout the level out for hidden secrets.
As you can imagine from even a vague description of its premise, Gal*Gun: Double Peace is a game that thrives on sexual humour, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, this game probably isn’t either. This theme is prevalent in every corner of the game, with the story being rife with innuendo, scoping that allows you to peek at underwear and even a scoring log that tracks the part of a girl you target the most (apparently I’m a butt man. Yes, I just wrote that in a review).
The gameplay of Gal*Gun: Double Peace is a refreshing mix of the visual novel and rail shooter genres, combining elements of both seamlessly. While games in the former genre are traditionally known for being lengthy and perhaps even a slog to complete, this title encourages replays with narratives that feel more akin to short stories than full blown novels and a scoreboard, which fits wonderfully with the rail shooter genre, almost taunting you to achieve all the endings and beat your high score.
Unfortunately however, the game does little to meet the potential of its groundwork. While the blending of two genres has been a success in regards to gameplay, the need for shorter narratives focusing on different characters has resulted in stories and cast members that are simply underdeveloped. The rail shooter portions of the game are far too simple, with even cranking the difficulty up offering very little challenge. Most of the time, enemies appear on screen far too soon to be of any real threat before being quickly dispatched.
One particular aspect I admire though, is that unlike the vast majority of games, Gal*Gun: Double Peace features no nameless grunts; every girl you encounter on your quest for true love has their own name, personality and of course, measurements. While they seldom appear in the main visible narratives, you can find out more about the expanded cast through the “Sakura Talk” messaging service that basically makes you aware of side quests or by collecting their Student Rosters during missions. Of course, you can also get to know the girls more intimately with “Doki Doki Mode”; a special move where you can inflict more damage on select enemies by rubbing their particular sensitive area, which can be anywhere from their head to toes.
In respect of the game’s content and predicted consumer behaviour of the target audience, we opted to review the PlayStation Vita version of the game and sadly, found it to be a technical disappointment plagued by ridiculously long loading times. Even when reading a digital copy of the game from a memory card and with no DLC purchased, the wait just for the game to boot up is enough for me to turn my attention elsewhere until the opening finally plays. Rarely responsive touch screen controls made time-sensitive portions dedicated to them far harder than what was likely intended and noticeable slowdown was also observed when loading up a girl’s page in the Student Roster. Hopefully the performance is better on the PlayStation 4 release, but without goings hands-on ourselves, we can’t say.
Bravely mixing an unlikely duo of genres with a splash of cheeky fun, Gal*Gun: Double Peace is a rare example of a fun and creative idea that unfortunately, struggles under the weight of its technical limitations.