The light gun genre can offer a lot of fun when its designed right. Fighting off waves of creatures or foes using careful shots with your gun, taking the correct route, and getting the highest score. Its a genre that offers a lot of replayability but can have fun stories, as the Resident Evil Chronicles games prove. But what happens when you replace creatures or generic foes…..with girls you shoot with a ‘love’ blaster?
You get Gal*Gun: Double Peace, a light gun game from the team at Inti-Creates who is famous for their work on the Mega Man franchise over the years and localized by P-Qube Games. This is a more, mature game, to put it bluntly. So if you are a younger reader I highly advise you do not play this game and do not read this review.
Now that is out of the way, does this light gun game offer some fun shooting action or does its more unique theme impact the gameplay?
You play as a high school male who is going back to another year of school, where he bumps into his two childhood friends. He tries to strike up a conversation, but both brush him off. Used to them ignoring him despite them being so close to him during his childhood, he heads to class and suddenly an angel appears.
She tells us that she wants to help our character find love and if he cannot do so by the end of the day, then he will be forever alone. Our character goes along with things and asks how he can accomplish this. The angel explains that in order to ward off the girls that want him, he uses a special ‘love blaster’ and ‘excites them enough’ until they calm down.
He bumps into his two friends again, learning that they are demon hunters and are after a rouge demon causing havoc at the school. The story opens up here, giving us a few options with the starting options being that you pick one of the main friend characters to follow but upon repeated playthroughs, you unlock more options. The story really starts here and what carries it for me is the localization, as the idea of getting ‘girls excited’ honestly made me feel uneasy when I first played the game.
P*Qube did a fantastic job with the localization, as every character has a lot of personality and even our main character is really funny, having some great reactions early on in the game to what is happening around him. And the game does its story well, mainly with the incentive to replay it over and over again; you have different paths you can take in the plot, dialog options you can pick during conversations and overall a lot of control on how your main character gets the girl he wants to be with.
I enjoyed the story and there is a lot to dig into if you get into the game & replay it a lot.
Gameplay & Design
It is a light gun game, so the basic mechanics from the genre come back in full force here. You can shoot with the Square button, with holding the button down to unleash a charged shot. How you aim your gun is with the left stick with the ability to zoom with R (which an see through walls and objects). In addition, you have a special ‘Doki Doki Shot’ which has you tapping the girls you want to ‘excite’ with the touch screen (can select X amount depending on high your gauge is on the top-left of the screen) and then you ‘touch’ them enough until they get happy. Then it cuts back to normal gameplay and an explosion happens on screen that takes out all foes visible.
What makes the combat enjoyable to me is how the mechanics are multilayered. Meaning, you have specific weak points to shoot (little demons later in the game) that you have to take out before firing the shots at the girls. Another example is how you have sections where you are planted in one spot and using the D-Pad, move left/right/up/down to see where your foes are coming from. I love these types of sections in other light gun games, making them in Gal*Gun quite enjoyable. Lastly, there is a collection system in place where you can find school ID’s of the different girls and some extra things (like special targets to take out or items people are looking for) which reward you with more points & currency for the store.
The levels are designed very well, with lots of location variety like different parts of the school with dynamic camera shots and other parts of the games setting. But the part I enjoyed the most is that you can select what level you want to go to, considering the games structure. You have a chapter system where options for different locations pop up. You select the location you want to go to, however that is it; you move on to the next chapter after completing the level. What does this mean? The other level options are gone and you can only re-select them if start a new playthrough. It gives each run through the game a different experience, as every level offers something unique.
You can upgrade your self with Angel Feathers you collect as you complete the games levels to get higher health or stronger shots. In addition, you can purchase items that increases some stats you have (Intelligence, Strength, ect) that effects your attraction levels with the different girls you encounter. There is also a side-quest where you donate your funds into the shopkeepers band, which unlocks fun story content.
Overall, despite my issues with how the touch screen is used at some points in the game, I enjoyed the gameplay quite a bit here.
Gal*Gun does what great light games normally do; offer reasons to go back and play through it over and over again. You have the main story mode that you can complete twice to get different endings with the two girls but you unlock more story options when you clear the game, giving the story new elements. To get the full picture on the plot, you can see it through repeated playthroughs. In addition, you have a Easy and Hard difficulty modes which are fun to run through.
A normal run of the main story takes 2 hours and with the repeated runs to get the best scores, see every level and get the full story, you can get a lot of playtime out of Gal*Gun
Presentation & Performance
Gal*Gun is a colorful game that has a look popping out of the Vita’s screen. The character models have a high level of detail and the game is fully voice acted in Japanese, giving the game a great sense of location and world building. The levels look good too, but they can be a bit too simple sometimes.
However my biggest issue with Gal*Gun is the performance; it has issues on Vita. The PS4 version is a up-port of the Vita build, meaning it runs a high frame rate and has a 1080p resolution. The Vita version is impressive, as its a Unreal Engine 3 title that runs at native resolution with a mostly stable frame rate. Many Vita games have issues with this engine or have to lower the resolution to make the game run better.
The game has issues though on Vita despite that impressive achievement; loading times are long and there is a good amount of slowdown. The former is something you can get used to over time, but it takes 30-40 seconds to load and that can be a while. The later is something you can also get used to but it impacts gameplay, considering you have to carefully aim your shots.
Both are issues I felt didn’t impact my enjoyment of the game but can clearly see be a problem for some gamers.
Story – 4 out of 5 / Gameplay & Design – 4 out of 5 / Replay Value – 4.5 out of 5 / Presentation & Performance – 3.5 out of 5
Gal*Gun: Double Peace has a fun story due to some great translation work from P*Qube Games and the core gameplay systems are strong despite some of the touch screen mechanics being in your face too much at points. The game has a lot of replay value and despite some hiccups with the performance the game looks good. If you don’t mind the unique setting and theme, you can find a great light gun title here, as it does a good deal right for the genre.
Overall: 4 out of 5
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation Vita with a review code provided by P*Qube Games. The game is out now on PS Vita and PS4 in both North America and Europe as of this writing. You can play a demo of the game on the PS Vita which can be found on the NA Storefront if you want to try before you buy.