It’s usually incredibly easy to tell the difference between Japanese and American videogames. American games often feature hyper realistic graphics, they have explosive action and intense violence, they have the guy on the cover walking toward you with his chin pointed down in determination. Japanese games tend to have more anime boobs, and Gal Gun: Double Peace is quite clearly a Japanese game.
If you’re someone who would never even be caught dead having a virtual schoolgirl shake her ass on your television, there probably isn’t much anyone can do to convince you to play Gal Gun. If you’re someone who can tolerate, accept, or even welcome the moans of Japanese school girls and their various scantily clad, tentacle monster antics, you’re going to find a game filled to the brim with content, comedy, and replayability. Whatever you thought Gal Gun: Double Peace was, it manages to be quite a bit more.
Gal Gun has been around for a long time in Japan with the original game releasing on Japanese Xbox 360 back in 2011. It never saw a release outside of that country, but PQube saw Double Peace – DP, get it? – as the opportunity to do so, with more widespread localisation efforts and the efforts of the director of Gal Gun to gauge English audience interest in the game. PQube quickly managed to bring the current gen sequel over from Japan, uncensored and unaltered.
Like the first game, Gal Gun is basically Time Crisis with anime boobs. It’s an on-the-rails shooter where your character has been hit with an overcharged Cupid’s Arrow-style bullet by an angel in training. Because of this, every girl in the school has fallen in love with you for the day, but if you don’t pick your true love by sundown, you’ll never be loved again. Girls are coming at you from every direction to confess their love, and you need to fight them off by shooting pheremone-filled love shots at their weak spots to give them ecstasy and neutralize them.
You can also target specific girls to go into Doki-Doki mode, transporting the two of you (or three or four or five if you target multiple girls) into a pink abyss so that you may prod at random weak points until they scream in pleasure and erupt into a pink explosion of energy that neutralises everyone on screen. These weak spots aren’t necessarily the most obvious erogenous zones, but are randomly things like foreheads and thighs as well.
The game, at it’s core, is exactly what you’d expect it to be and as sexualised as it sounds, but for all the anime boobs and flashing panties and bras, it’s not quite the “fan service” heaven you might expect. It has all of that stuff, there’s no denying it, but the poor graphics make it more laughable than titillating. While framerate is smooth, character models are incredibly simple, and texture quality is just shockingly poor. It’s hard to be too offended, let alone aroused by a mind-controlled anime girl in her underwear demanding you to lick her feet when it looks like a PSP game. The biggest sin of Gal Gun isn’t the sexual themes or the moaning schoolgirls, it’s the awful graphics.
Yet there ends up being a lot more on top of that core game, which took me by surprise. Firstly, the girls you encounter aren’t random nameless characters, but come from a roster of well over 60 girls in the game, spanning all 3 years of high school as well as a handful of teachers and staff, and you’ll repeatedly encounter each of them as enemies. Hidden in the many varied environments you explore in the game are roster guidebooks for each girl, giving you their backstory and details for each of them that you can read in the main menu. I ended up liking some of these background characters more than the actual main characters of the game.
You can also collect and unlock various costumes and accessories to customize the girls with. On top of that, each stage has a number of side missions asking you to find hidden objects, either somewhere in the environment or somewhere on a random girls’ person, and you can find out about these side-missions before each level by checking your flip phone for requests or forum posts made by the girls attending the school. There’s plenty to do in each level besides blindly shooting everything that moves, and I actually wanted to revisit levels constantly to find every object. Unfortunately, once you beat a level, you can’t go back to it without restarting the story, which felt just a little unfair.
Thankfully, playthroughs don’t take too long and you’re encouraged to do more than a few, as a number of routes are locked off to start with. The game has branching story paths and dating sim elements, giving you multiple routes to beat, as well as dialogue options to sway the opinion of the girls you decide to go for. The amount of different routes to go down are impressive. As far as I can tell, this is the first game I’ve seen that lets you romance the shopkeeper, who also happened to be my favorite character. Getting the true endings for the routes also take a ridiculous amount of work, which can be a plus or minus for some people.
While the story is pretty bland and basic, the effort put into the writing of the localisation more than makes up for it. Gal Gun is mainly a comedy, and it excels at that. A lot of your dialogue options are ridiculously goofy, and between the protagonist’s reactions to some of the events in the game, all of the side mission text messages between the various characters in the game, and a number of cheeky references to things like Persona 4 and famous anime, this game had me dying. This localization had heart and effort put into it, and it shows.
Truthfully, I went into Gal*Gun Double Peace with below zero expectations. I figured it would be a cheap, dated game that only had its obvious “fan service” going for it. It’s clearly aimed at that niche audience, but Gal Gun is fun, funny, and easy to pick up and play for countless quick sessions. The poor visuals and complicated story requirements are a shame, but they never truly soured my time with the title and as soon as I finish this review, I plan to play more.
Version tested: PS4