Gal Gun 2 is a first-person rail shooter that is heavy on the fan service that centers on shooting demons off of scantily clad girls in high school. This kind of games seem to have a cult following and, as far as I’m aware, this is the first time it launches on a Nintendo console. Let’s see how my first venture into this unique style of game goes.
Release date: April 24, 2018
Approximate Size: 3.1 GB
Genre: Anime Rail Shooter
Developer: INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch; also available on Playstation 4 and PC.
The game plot is as fan service as it can get. You are the only boy at an all girls school and one day a mysterious app manifests itself on your cell phone. Unable to delete the app, the protagonist is visited by an angel shortly after. You are then recruited to aid the angel in stopping demons attacking the innocent girls in your school and you are equipped with goggles very similar to PlayStation’s VR headsets and a pheromone gun reminiscent of a gun used in Splatoon to stop these demonic entities. The catch, however, is that these items give off an aroma that makes you irresistible to all the demon-possessed girls. What a conundrum.
The plot is there to give you a reason to play. It’s not overly deep nor is there a massive danger threatening the galaxy, etc. I will say this, they did take the time to form a plot that tries to make sense to the world and give the plot justice. I can appreciate that as some games lose sight of the small things, they perfect the larger ones. For example, why are the girls constantly coming to you? The irresistible aroma. Why do you continue to have to stop these demons? The angel who guides you has a quota that must be met, and she’s stuck on Earth. Don’t walk in expecting a strong story driven experience, I’m sure the target audience isn’t, but in case you were, well… just don’t expect that.
Overall, the plot was forgettable and the player will probably never care what is going on. I will say that I did enjoy the next-door neighbor who is a shut in. I felt, out of the whole cast, she was the best character and the most likable. That being said, the plot wasn’t the focus, and this will garner different opinions from different players depending on what they are looking for.
Gal Gun 2 is a rail shooter. Once a level boots up, you will stand still and only be able to move a cursor to shoot the demon-possessed girls and to you the vacuum element to suck up the devils plaguing them. Once you’ve taken care of the required amount, you will have to point and shoot a silhouette of your character to move forward and repeat the process until you complete the level. Sometimes you’ll be given the choice of which path you want to take but this is all the vast majority of what you’ll be doing. There are some different levels that instead of having you move throughout the level, you’ll be tasked with defending a couple of school girls from a horde of Chibi devils. Some levels are similar to stealth games and have the player quietly maneuvering through a level looking for secrets and collectibles, these were most enjoyable for me.
You also have the option to change what a girl is wearing, and the options are as scantily clad as you might desire. The game utilizes a schedule-based system that has a player needing to reach a quota to proceed. Besides the main quest, side quests pop up on your phone similar to texted messages and will lead you to different areas of the school. Now, here is where things take a different turn. You can get the phone numbers of girls, feed them Pocky and give them items. Eventually, you can bring them home and have them do things to you, such as kiss you or grind on you. This gets very uncomfortable, especially if the girl you are currently with is wearing something extremely revealing such as just bubbles. This is complete fan service and more than likely what the target audience of this game will desire the most and have the most enjoyment out of.
I will say that implementation of different endings based on your interactions with certain NPCs is a nice, unexpected, surprise. Those who love this genre will feel right at home with this one and, in doing my research, I can see that this is one of the better entries of this genre. Now, ignoring all the fan service and sexual content, my issue with this game is the lack of variety in gameplay. I understand it’s a rail shooter, but they could have done so much more with giving the player options in mobility or in dispatching enemies.
This game nails the idea of bringing the anime/manga style to life. The development team had a vision and it was executed perfectly. Before we get into all of that, let’s tackle the menu and UI in the game. The UI is slick, the menus easy to navigate, and the presentation isn’t intrusive. The game will stop your playing with a couple of slides on how to play, with images to guide the player, and then your right back into the action with an opportunity to attempt what you were just taught. Many games do this and you can find plenty of examples of where a game does it right, and where they do it wrong. Thankfully, this game does it right. The menu is also done right, it’s easy to go into the menus and equipped the female characters with whatever visually appealing clothing articles you’ve unlocked or bought.
The character models in the game look and act like walking anime characters. It’s impressive how some games can master this graphical design and Gal Gun 2 executes it superbly. The female characters have their wide eyes that are supposed to convey innocence and their hair colors cover nearly everything one can imagine or have been seen in typical anime. The clothing they wear is all things we’ve seen from other anime and manga as well. The only time it gets weird is when you see a character who doesn’t look physically developed, they look like children, and, yet, they are dressed in skimpy outfits and it makes the whole thing off-putting. Weird. Enemy designs are simplistic and don’t vary much. I know they are supposed to be demons, but they are so Chibi and cute that it’s hard to see them that way.
We did a Let’s Play for the official Loot Gaming YouTube channel and I made a comparison the gear the main character wears to the PlayStation VR and his weapon to an inkling gun from Splatoon. Truth be told, those are near spot on comparisons. The headset the player uses to see the demons is identical to the PSVR, so much so it feels deliberate. The weapon you use to shoot and suck up demons is almost a carbon copy of one of the guns in Nintendo’s team based cooperative shooter. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, just I would have rather seen some more creative designs. The items in the game that are available look exactly like their real life counterparts and it was pretty cool to see, say, the box of Pocky that looks just like the kind your eating while playing.
The game world is made of scenes out of, once again, anime and manga. The successfully captured the look and feel. My only issue is how barebones the world looks and feels. You’re in large, open, spaces or cluttered areas but there aren’t any people other than you and the possessed. I understand why they did that, but it would have been nice to see maybe some non-possessed individuals fleeing for their lives or male characters, as there are none. You are the only dude.
From a graphical standpoint, Gal Gun 2 nails the art design it sets out to. The menus, UI, character designs, and enemies are nice and reflective of the media that inspired it. The game runs well, no framerate issues were encountered. Anime and manga enthusiasts will feel right at home. The simplistic design serves the game well, it’s not the most demanding or detailed game but, then again, it doesn’t need to be.
The soundtrack of this game is Japanese pop with high beats and magical singing. It’s nothing powerful or overbearing, it just sort of fades in the background and is forgotten. Opinions on this will vary but, for me, it’s a missed opportunity. A game’s soundtrack is supposed to add another layer or immersion and this title fails at that. Some games have an issue where the music is better than the game and that can be more forgiving than a game whose audio fails to impress on a player. It’s more disappointing when you realize how they care for recreating that anime element and soundtracks are treated with extreme care in that medium.
Voice acting is great. As someone who watches anime, this game nails having the voices speak with emotions and convictions. Be advised, there is no option to change the language spoken. It’s all Japanese. Some will find it better this way, some will be upset, I had no issue with it and I suspect most players purchasing this title won’t as well. The squirming sounds when a girl is fired upon or interacts with you or is attacked by demons is uncomfortably emotional and engaging. I was not expecting this level of commitment in this title but it’s there. The sound effects are all done with respect and sound how one would expect.
The team successfully took care of all the little things in the sound department, they did great with the voice acting as well, but they failed in arguably the biggest area in the soundtrack. I honestly can’t believe a game heavily influenced by anime could blunder this up, but they did.
Gal*Gun 2 is an interesting experience, to say the least. I can’t say it’s a bad game, but it isn’t a great one either. I can say I am not the target audience and that’s fine, for those who the game is targeted at, will have a grand time. Judging this game, mechanically, it works, and the concept of rail shooters still works in 2018 despite being popularized over a decade ago. At an asking $60 price, it’s hard to justify but I did have fun with it for what it is. The story and soundtrack are poor, the former by design and the latter because of lack of care. The voice acting is great, and the graphics do well to imitate manga and anime. In the end, it all comes down to if this experience is what you want.