The light gun genre is one of my favorite game genre’s next to platformers and action games. House of the Dead is one of my favorite SEGA games and shooting zombies is always a fun time. But what if you replace violently killing zombies, with shooting girls with a ‘love’ blaster?
Inti-Crates who is famous for their work on the Mega Man series, produced this ‘interesting’ take on the light gun genre for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4. The review of the game is not ready yet, but we plan on releasing that when it releases in North America next week. In the meantime, I want to post a first impressions piece sharing my thoughts on the game and I hope you enjoy them.
Word of warning though; this is a mature game and not one I recommend to younger readers. Now that’s out of the way, lets jump into some shooting action.
You are a high school male who is coming back to school with little to no interest in getting a relationship; he likes his two female friends after having a fun childhood with them but all the two sisters got distant from our male character for unknown reasons. He brushes this off until a female angel appears before him after misfiring a love arrow; now every single girl ‘wants’ him. Badly. And the only way to calm them down is by shooting them with a special gun.
Along the way, we learn more about the main characters two female friends and even fight demons. The games story is generic, but the writing and localization of the game is surprisingly strong. I laughed at many of the lines, our main character is very aware of the situation he finds himself in and the supporting cast is fleshed out. I really enjoyed the story more then I expected to so far.
You like light gun games? Like shooting things? Enjoy having branching paths like in some light gun games not unlike Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles? You will enjoy this game. It is a basic light gun game with Square being your shooting button, with a charged shot having more damage. In addition you have a zoom button to get more careful shots with the R Button. The game has extra paths you can take, giving each level replay value.
But one mechanic has you pressing the Triangle button, where you tap your foes with the touch screen and enter a special mode where you interact with the girls selected. After interacting with them enough, it causes a chain reaction to surrounding foes and you can continue onward. It sounds very strange and odd, but it is worth using this mechanic to make combat a bit easier.
In the games levels, you have a ranking system that gives you different scores based on how well you do and the different paths mechanic encourages further replays of older levels. The higher your rank, the more you upgrade your own stats which has an effect on the impact some attacks you give due to them effecting the different girls as an attraction system is in place. You have stats in a number of areas that levels up as you play through the game and you can even set a preset series of stats depending on what ‘kind’ of character you create when you start the game.
Another noteworthy thing is that you can purchase upgrades like more health or stronger bullets with currency you get across the game and it even is tied with a side character that you meet, who runs a shop. If you spend enough money to donate to her band, you can get funny conversations with her, fleshing out her character.
So gameplay wise, it is solid light gun fun and the enemy patterns appear to get more complex as you play through the game.
The game’s core design is very linear, where you are going from level-to-level with little downtime outside of story cut-scenes. But in some story events, you have options that change the flow of the plot, with further play through’s of the game unlocking more options for you to select. Each path has a different impact on the levels you play through and the overall direction of the story.
You can also check funny messages that you get on your phone and talk with a shop keeper at your school in the games main hub menu before selecting a mission. In addition, you have different difficulty options for when you start the game, so you can play through the game with higher difficulty modes or lower depending on your skill level.
Presentation and Performance
Gal*Gun has a bright cartoony look with the locations I visited so far popping out of the Vita screen and the character designs having enough detail for which they stand out. Each girl you fight has a different look even if its minor, so a lot of attention to detail was put into the character designs in some respects.
However, the game has some performance issues on Vita. One thing being the loading times, which take quite a while. But an issue that bothered me was the frame rate.
It is a consistent on the PlayStation 4 but the Vita version stutters and slows down sometimes. The game is running on Unreal Engine 3, which could explain the issue as other Vita games had problems using the engine in the past. Considering that, it is impressive how the game runs currently, as the frame rate mostly stays at 30FPS despite my listed issues so play-ability isn’t too much of a problem.
The music is good but nothing special so far. I do enjoy it though and it fits the levels you run through.
Do I recommend Gal*Gun?
Can’t really say yes or no yet, considering I didn’t beat the game as of yet. However, I do recommend you give the game a shot if you enjoy light gun games in the past. The game is a love letter to those kinds of titles and despite its ‘mature’ appearance, it is a fun time.
With an enjoyable story, some fun gameplay and level design and overall solid presentation despite some issues, it is a fun light gun adventure for most Vita and PS4 owners. Our full review of the game will go live Tuesday August 2nd and if you want to get the game now, its on the EU PlayStation Network Storefront for both PS Vita & PS4.
We looked at this title and are reviewing the game on the PlayStation Vita thanks to a review code provided by P-Qube games.