There are few games out there that combine a simple design philosophy with high replayability. In the realm of pervy productions, such titles can be as elusive as the Chupacabra or Nessie. Luckily enough, Gal Gun: Double Peace isn’t as terrifying as those legendary creatures and actually has quite the cute streak to it.
Over 5 years have passed since the first Gal Gun game showed up on the Xbox 360. Thanks to the efforts of the guys over at PQube (plus an additional year of waiting), its sequel, Gal Gun: Double Peace, has received an international release for both the PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 4.
Representing the rail shooter, a now rarely explored genre, Gal Gun: Double Peace takes it upon itself to appeal to a very specific group of people – enthusiasts of excessive and cute anime fanservice. Let’s find out together; does it do well enough as a game and a vessel to the hearts of moe maniacs?
A hot-shot, an angel, a demon, and two sisters
In Gal Gun: Double Peace, the player takes control of Houdaki Kudoki, your typical Japanese high school boy with a shy streak and childhood ties to two beautiful Kamizono sisters: Shinobu and Maya.
Reminiscing about an unusual event at school where a male student became incredibly popular with all of the female pupils, Houdai gets hit with an immensely powerful — albeit misfired — love arrow from apprentice angel, Ekoro. From there, our unfortunate protagonist has to confess to the love of his life within a day or be doomed to loneliness. That, and being subject to “tfw no gf” memes directed at his person forever.
With a bit of quick and on-point exposition, our adventure with Double Peace starts. To make up for her grave mistake, Ekoro guides us on our quest for true love. She explains that due to an overwhelming attractiveness aura now emanating from our body, all females will now fall head over heels in love with us, and do whatever it takes to claim us as their prize. Thankfully and conveniently, Houdai has now also gained the power of pheromone shots. These shots overwhelm his assailants’ senses if they are hit, leaving them ecstatic and harmless.
Now, armed with the weirdest projectiles known to man and an unbelievable curse hanging over his head, this average high schooler sets out to fight fate itself. And of course, to find himself a girlfriend he can spend the rest of his life with.
Acquire more personality types as you play the game and go for the coveted TFG.
I swear she enjoyed being shot at, officer!
After all that quirkiness of the intro, the game proper begins, divided into several different sections. The short visual novel-like portions serve to feed the player exposition and to further develop the main characters. They are short, sweet and, more often than not, pretty funny distractions before the main event.
PQube’s localization team, even after taking several liberties, did a good job in translating a lot of game’s humor and the way the characters come across in English. I especially enjoyed Kurona’s style, with her excessive idiomatic expressions using the word “HELL”. It’s a clever way to interpret her very specific pronunciation of the Japanese copula “desu”. My fanboyism for well done localizations aside, I think you’ll enjoy what PQube has done with the characterizations and simple overarching story.
Surprisingly, Gal Gun: Double Peace stays up to date on the discussion about consent in today’s society.
Progressing through the game is simple enough. As with all typical rail shooters, the player doesn’t directly control Houdai’s movements. Instead the player can only aim and fire at the incoming, lovestruck maidens. Each individual and unique female student at Sakurazaki High School has a weakness; you can aim for a specific part of the body (head, chest etc) to put your target into an immediate, blissful euphoria.
By aiming your reticule and zooming in on specific parts of the girls’ bodies, you’ll gradually reveal their weakness, shown by pop-up text boxes in Japanese. In addition to analyzing the girls’ three sizes, their clothes will start to gradually become transparent, giving you a good look at their underwear. Just be sure not to stare too much, otherwise you might just find yourself with a new lover, or get into short femdom sessions with mini-demon possessed students. What kind of high schooler wants any of that to happen to them, right? Right?
During the rail shooter segments, you’re able to activate a special bomb-like attack called the Doki-Doki Mode (Heart Thump Mode). Depending on how many Doki-Doki charge bars you have, you can select up to three female characters on screen and enter a special play field.
In this field, your goal is to touch (using the touch screen or reticule) specific spots on the ladies’ bodies. Places like the head, chest, hips or legs, players will touch these areas repeatedly to induce euphoria. Do it well enough for all of the girls and you can have them reach Double Peace Ecstasy and explode. This will take down any other smitten girls within a certain radius, granting a significant amount of Mote Points (popularity points), normally acquired by simply shooting the girls. These points will count towards your endgame rank, so make sure to use it often.
The Doki-Doki Mode, along with your personality type, serves a significant role in increasing affection for the Unseen Destiny route, where you pick your true love from the school’s female population. Even the teachers aren’t safe.
Contrary to what she looks like here, she really enjoyed herself, I promise.
Double Peace’s rail shooter sections are most definitely not the hardest of obstacles to overcome. Certainly don’t expect Virtua Cop or Time Crisis levels of difficulty.
On Expert difficulty, the chance of actually losing health is very slim – even if you’re not a seasoned gamer. On subsequent playthroughs, it’s quite easy to memorize all the enemy placements and their respective weaknesses, and with the addition of player upgrades (available at the Academy Store between levels), you should breeze through the game without any hiccups.
SakuraTalk, the internal social network of the high school provides some topical banter between students as well as requests that earn you Angel Feathers to spend as currency in the shop.
Apart from the visual novel and shooter sections of the game, the event modes serve to mix things up a bit. These introduce boss battles and conveniently crafted sequences that get you closer with the main girl of a chosen route.
These parts of Double Peace are the ones that will have you utilizing your Vita’s touch screen for its intended design purpose. That, of course, is rubbing, massaging, stroking, poking and petting cute anime girls. If your skillful hands succeed during those events, you will be rewarded with a bombastic amount of affection points, which send you on your way to to the best True Ending.
Some of the touch mechanics behind the event sections were a bit tricky to learn, but generally provided a good mix up to the gameplay. That, and you also get to touch your destined love interest in suggestive ways. A win-win situation, if I do say so myself.
First game I have ever played that congratulated me on touching someone’s butt the right way. I’m not complaining.
High replayability is one of Gal Gun: Double Peace’s stronger points. Several major characters have their own separate routes that can end in a bad, good or true ending depending on your affection level at the route’s end.
Getting to the end of the game isn’t a linear type of deal either. Sometimes, you’ll get to choose which stage you want to progress through, and in those stages, on rare occasions, you’ll encounter a branching path or two. This isn’t where the fun ends, however. Hidden in the levels are student and faculty charts, which provide additional information on the school’s inhabitants. Additionally, you can find character costumes that you can collect to fill out your Collection gallery.
Hidden endings also await for those willing to look far and deep enough. If learning about all the female students of Sakurazaki Academy isn’t enough for you, there’s also an option to romance every single one of them after unlocking the Unseen Destiny route. There’s also an old-school score attack mode, to test the hardcore skirt chasers among you.
Shot to HELL
Not everything is bright, colorful and adorable with Gal Gun: Double Peace. At least, not on the Vita version.
The game suffers from several technical difficulties, which down the line, can heavily affect your enjoyment. Virtually everything in the game takes a lot of time to load; from the startup itself, the levels and a lot of the content in-between the menus. Luckily for me, I have a lot of patience, and I became less concerned with it the more I shot up with love projectiles.
Serious FPS slowdowns are another grating issue happens far too often in Gal Gun: Double Peace. Upon entering areas with wide and open spaces, the game commonly drops below 30 fps. On top of that, when you add multiple enemies to mix – it gets even worse.
Precise aiming becomes extremely difficult in these conditions, and you might find yourself frequently missing shots that you would’ve normally nailed without breaking a sweat. If this happened in all levels indiscriminately, the game would be barely playable.
While Double Peace has a rather neat, upbeat and varied soundtrack, and even though its simple characters have a distinct charm to them, you can’t say the same about the graphics of most other things found in the game. Everything that’s not a character in the game looks like it was rendered more than a decade ago. It could easily be mistaken for an element straight out of a PlayStation 2 title. The textures on low-polygon objects are incredibly low resolution, suffering from pixelization of the worst kind.
At points, I thought my glasses magically vanished from my nose, as the environments before me were so blurry and washed out. Having played other PSV titles that looked and performed much better than this, I don’t think Inti Creates can come up with a satisfactory answer to these issues. Maybe the blame falls on Unreal Engine 3, which the game runs on? Beats me.
Potential owners of Gal Gun on the PS4 should find some solace in the fact that loading and FPS issues don’t exist on that particular console. The graphics quality is also significantly improved, providing a much more satisfying overall experience.
Shot through the heart, and no one’s to blame
Gal Gun: Double Peace may not have revolutionized the rather obscure genre of rail shooters, but it didn’t really need to. What Inti Creates produced here is competent, albeit somewhat casual. It’s a cute, sexually quirky title that most fans of anime fanservice should be happy to have in their game library.
A basic, yet engaging story with endearing characters wrapped with a colorful pervy bow. Despite the few technical issues it has, it’s a solid romp made with love and care. What else would you want? Well, probably a lot (including a girlfriend/boyfriend), but do consider getting Gal Gun: Double Peace first.
Since the PlayStation Vita version of Double Peace suffers from a few technical issues that may impact your enjoyment of the game, I highly recommend you grab that PlayStation 4 edition of the game. It’s free of most (if not all) issues I’ve mentioned in the review. You can now get your hands on Gal Gun: Double Peace in multiple EU, NA or JP versions over at Play-Asia . The NA and EU versions of the game for the PSV cost $39.99 and $29.99 respectively, whereas the PS4 versions go for $59.99 and $39.99. Exercise your hands thoroughly before you get any of these, and prepare yourself for intense controller rubbing all the way ’til the end of summer.
Final note: Ekoro = Best girl. Yui Horie’s voice is irresistible.