As much as I loathe the term, the Gal Gun games are perfect examples of guilty pleasures. Their perversion and debauchery are simplistically portrayed in ways I can’t help but find endearing, and the Nintendo Switch release of the classic Gal Gun: Double Peace has only reinforced my enjoyment. For as base as the experience is, this title wholeheartedly knows what it is, and it revels in its identity, providing a joyous occasion for particular crowds.
Throughout Gal Gun: Double Peace, players control protagonist Houdai as he finds himself the victim of an arrow shot by the cupid angel, Ekoro. However, due to an unintentional increase in power from the shot and antics caused by the demon Kurona, Houdai finds himself in a rather precarious dilemma.
Girls on his school’s premises are aggressively yearning for his affections, and if he doesn’t end up pursuing love with any of them before the day concludes, he will be alone for the rest of his life. To be honest, as silly as the game’s tone is, this conflict has legitimate stakes, and I found myself feeling sympathetic for Houdai because of it. His personality and traits aren’t remotely unique or stand out, but his ordinary characterization makes his conflict somewhat more compelling.
This title is an on-rail shooter, requiring players to shoot girls, causing them to flare up and collapse from euphoria. Additionally, the stages house collectibles like Student Handbooks for more NPC information and opportunities for extra points. The difficulty isn’t really a factor here since everything is fairly elementary, even when playing on the supposed ‘Expert’ mode. Even if you have no experience with the on-rail shooter genre, you’ll quickly grasp the fundamentals and prevail across every stage with little challenge. It’s a welcoming experience above all else, which is ironic given the subject matter. There are a few boss fights, but once again, they require little thought for victory.
The main menu contains the Academy Shop, which has a great variety of items. These range from a Groin Protector for increased defense against girls emitting dominatrix energy to more camera angles for Doki-Doki mode. Oh, right, that’s a thing. So, players can pause time and increase the girls’ affinities when a specific gauge is filled up in a stage. Each girl reacts to touch differently, and figuring out where to feel them most effectively is the primary goal of this self-induced minigame. Further, concluding Doki-Doki mode initiates a bomb imbuing all surrounding girls with euphoria. Essentially, it’s great for dealing with crowds if things ever become overwhelming.
The real draw of this game is replayability, since players can pursue romantic routes with several girls. For example, Houdai’s childhood friends, Shinobu and Maya, are selectable, alongside the angel Ekoro and the demon Kurona. The routes are transparently accessible, so there isn’t extraneous guesswork needed to view them in action. Further, the storylines and even some stages change depending on which route is chosen. However, the general gameplay loop retains, and, unfortunately, the lack of challenge can make progression monotonous. Playing this game in long sittings is where its dullness becomes more apparent. I recommend playing in small doses to keep the experience as fresh as possible.
Thankfully, Action Events are present to provide a change of pace. During these segments, players perform a series of quick-time events to aid the respective girls in ‘appropriate’ ways and touch them in the right spots, similar to the Doki-Doki mode. Like the standard gameplay elements, these are unabashedly simple, but their brevity and placements in the middle of the routes are appreciated for memorability. There is also a Dressing Room in the main menu, which is just there for cosmetically altering the female cast as you see fit, and a Score Attack mode, which is exactly what it sounds like.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this game is how each of the girls throughout the stages has their own identity, viewable via their Handbooks in the Roster menu. On the quest to completion, it becomes natural to recognize each of the girls and gradually form favorites.
This design choice makes the title boast a sort of homely, comfortable atmosphere where you feel like you’re getting to know everyone better the more you play. The last thing worth noting, regarding gameplay, is that touch-controls are incorporated in Handheld mode, at least for menus. While the lack of touch-screen utilization for gameplay is moderately disappointing, performance is smooth while docked and undocked.
Gal Gun: Double Peace is exactly what it looks like, so you’re bound to know if this game will fit your library. Despite the evident dullness emitted by the gameplay loop’s repetition and lack of challenge, the cast is likable with humorous and charming writing. Plus, there is an impressive degree of content here for those who find themselves invested in the experience. This is also a perfect Switch game, making it an ideal title to play on-the-go for strangers to glimpse at and admire.
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