Despite the various devices and attachments that have been released over the past few years, the rail shooter genre has dropped to an almost non-existent level and the only place you can find them tends to be at various arcades scattered across the country. Thankfully it seems a certain developer had something unique in mind and while it was so niche in appeal that it was once thought as an impossible localization, PQube has pulled off the impossible by releasing Gal*Gun: Double Peace in the West. So now that this ecchi little shooter has been localized, is it worth picking up?
Houdai has been living a fairly standard life as far as a high school student goes but when he is suddenly blasted by an overcharged cupid arrow that standard lifestyle undergoes a drastic change. Ekoro, a cupid angel who was distracted by the appearance of a demon named Kurona, accidentally hits Houdai and then informs him that thanks to the overcharged arrow, he is now the object of affection for every girl that he will come into contact with.
The only problem is, that if he doesn’t find a true love by the end of the day, the arrow’s effects will wear off and with it his entire life’s supply of potential love, meaning he will be forever alone and shunned even by animals. With only a day to try and find love, and thanks to the convenient return of a childhood friend as well as her elder sister beginning tos peak with Houdai again, there are already two potential love interests in sight.
As you can tell, Gal*Gun: Double Peace’s premise is ridiculous but also rather hilarious thanks to the way the story plays out. It is the time of thing that you can only see in a game developed in Japan and with its lighthearted nature and comedic tone, players will be in for quite a treat as the localization team has done wonders here. It is worth noting that while this game is a sequel, the events of the first game are only mentioned in passing as rumors or urban legends.
If players opt to simply rush through the game they will find that Gal*Gun: Double Peace’s basic story mode can be completed fairly quickly but that is partially the design for this title. I say this because this title implements the visual novel style of route unlocking by making it so players can, at least at the start, only pursue certain endings (even these endings have variations depending on dialogue choices and affection levels) and then once they have managed to clear these endings can opt for a different route. These multiple routes help extend an already highly replayable title that players will want to run through more than once simply to try and get better scores or unlock items by adding additional storyline options and new content that is specific to certain routes.
As mentioned earlier, Gal*Gun: Double Peace is a rail shooter where players have no direct control over Houdai other than occasionally making the decision of which area of the school to travel to while searching for someone. Instead players are guided down predetermined paths in these stages where they control a target reticle that is used to shoot objects in the environments for points or to gather them in an effort to complete little side-quests given through text message, unlock student IDs to learn more about specific girls, and most importantly prevent the entire female body of the school from confessing their love for you.
To do this players must make use of their “pheromone” shot that is provided to them by Ekoro and provide any girl confessing to them with euphoria and cause them to fall to the ground in satisfaction. The girls take on various methods of confessing their love such as handing love letters, shouting out kanji that can be shot out of the air, grabbing and hugging you, or simply kissing the player while other girls who are infected by the demon Kurona will take a bit more violent approach and often stomp on the player in a dominatrix fashion.
While any girl can be subdued with multiple shots, each of them has a weak point that will often immediately eliminate them from being a threat. These weak points are always located either on the head, chest, groin, or legs and the designated area will have a small prompt if the player is zoomed in on the girl at the time and the weakpoint never changes, meaning if you see a girl return in a later stage for another try, you can immediately know where to target. This zoom feature also allows players to see through a girl’s clothing and other obstacles in the world, often revealing items or other girls that can be targeted. The aforementioned demon possessions must also be shot off of a girl before they can be given euphoria.
As you make your way through a stage players will fill up a meter that allows them to trigger “Doki-Doki Mode” where up to three girls can be targeted at a time and brought into a separate mini-game. In this mode players must target (or on the Vita use the touch screen) various weak points on girls while the camera spins around them slowly in order to fill up a meter and give them a “climax” finish before a certain amount of time passes. While a great mode for the more perverted aspect of the game, this is also very useful at times as successfully clearing this mode detonates a euphoria explosion that subdues every girl on the screen and can help the player out of a tight spot.
Outside of the Doki-Doki mini-game players will occasionally come across various mini-games where they will need to help out one of the girls from, usually an awkward, situation where players have to make use of the touch-pad on the PlayStation 4 or the touch screen on the Vita (which is also used for the Doki-Doki mode) in order to help the girls out of their situation, usually being repeated three times before the mini-game is completed and although this does change up the pace a bit, having to repeat the action three times at a minimum is a bit much.
It is worth noting that while multiple difficulties are available, those looking for a bit of challenge to go with their light-hearted fan-service heavy fun will want to play on the harder option as the standard difficulty is fairly easy. Along those lines players can purchase various upgrades in-between stages from a school shop where they can buff various stats that allow them to make certain dialogue choices, increase their health or amount of damage dealt by shots, purchase items that allow them to avoid or diminish damage from certain attacks, or even add more camera angles to the Doki-Doki mode.
Visuals & Audio
While Gal*Gun: Double Peace is designed around a hilariously ridiculous premise the actual ecchi content is mostly subdued thanks to the more cartoonish art styles present in the game. Character designs are fairly standard for the average classmates and teacher’s that come across the player and wear various outfits, with other outfits available for unlocking or DLC. The only real ecchi part most of the time in these scenes comes from the fact that, when zoomed in, players can see through their clothing and look at their underwear which, as one would expect with a game like this, comes with a lot of variety. It is worth noting that compared to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, the PS Vita version does feature quite a bit of slowdown at times and excessively long load times in-between stages while the aforementioned version suffers none of these issues.
Of course the various moaning when girls are struck with ecstasy shots or when the camera pans around in Doki-Doki mode might be a bit much for some but those looking forward to the fan-service will be right at home. The actual dialogue in the game is handled with well-translated English subtitles paired with the Japanese voice acting but it is a bit unfortunate that there isn’t more variety when it comes to the game’s soundtrack that quickly becomes repetitive and environments as most of the areas in the game are sparsely detailed and generic for a school setting.
Gal*Gun: Double Peace may be an ecchi title within a niche genre but it is a well-crafted one with only a few presentation issues. This self-aware and highly comedic title offers quite a bit more than one might expect from the onset and although those who enjoy lots of panty shots and risqué situations will obviously get a kick out of the game, those looking for a charming colorful rail shooter will certainly find Gal*Gun: Double Peace to be a blast in more ways than one.