Title: Gal*Gun Returns
Developer: Inti Creates
Release Date: February 12, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: On-Rails Shooter
The Gal Gun series is one that I feel needs to exist during a time when everything seems to be taken so seriously. I generally find time to play it when people aren’t around and then take it out parties, pretending I enjoy it ironically, but the truth is, I’ve learned to love it for its arcade-like systems, adorable characters, and insane gameplay.
Strangely, we didn’t receive the first game in the west, but that’s all changing with the release of Gal Gun Returns. This remastered entry celebrates the 10th anniversary of the series and gives players a chance to experience the missing title. While it holds up in terms of gameplay and unlockables, it definitely shows its age in its presentation.
Gal Gun Returns’ narrative is very similar to Gal Gun: Double Peace, where a student at Sakurachi Academy is shot with Cupid’s arrow, and now the entire female student body wants him, well, except for the girl who he has a crush on. In the beginning, players choose their crush, which locks them into a character route that changes the stages’ layouts. Still, the structure is more or less the same for each girl.
During the dialogue, players respond to the girls, and based on those responses; they’ll gain affinity with her. The choices will typically match the girls’ personality, but it’s possible to say what you want at the expense of receiving a bad ending. Each girl also has their own mini-game boss battles that make their route unique. There’s also a final boss fight to round it off in the end.
Players have stats affected by a Doki Doki system in-game, but I might be getting ahead of myself. Gal Gun Returns is an on-rails shooter where players will travel from stage to stage shooting at thirsty female classmates who are attempting to get in the way of your confession to the one you love. These girls will come out of everywhere to get to you and make up the game’s core fun, think House of the Dead, but with cute girls.
You’re awarded points as you shoot the girls, but some are incredibly tough to hit. It’s possible to one-shot them with an Ecstacy shot, but it’s not the easiest thing to do. As you send the girls to euphoria, you’ll be able to unleash Doki Doki Mode on a classmate. This is a mini-game type area where you twist around the girl and find her sweet spot, zoom in, and shoot. After a few of those, she’ll be in heaven and will even take out the remaining girls on screen as well as change your stats. Further, you’ll need to do this three times on each character to unlock their full profile.
Stages are pretty self-contained, save for one where you journey through the air ducts. This is where Gal Gun Returns definitely shows its age. The stages are short, typically take place in one room, and don’t have too many moving parts. It’s nothing fancy, but the lack of environment interaction causes the game to become a little dull across the multiple playthroughs that it requires to unlock everything. If you played a lot of Double Peace, you’d draw many similarities between the two games and their stages, making me just want to play one of the other titles.
The characters steal the show here since each girl has their own profile and style. After a few playthroughs, I even began to remember some of their names and dubbed a few of them my favorites. Every playthrough will allow you to unlock new modes, gallery pictures, endings, but most importantly, panties. Yes, this game has a lot of panties, over 400 of them to be exact. Each route can be completed in over an hour, but keep in mind there are different endings for each girl along with some other routes that will award your love for the game.
Other modes include score attack, which is pretty self-explanatory, and Doki Doki Carnaval, where you get to set up a Doki Doki mode with more than one girl; how lewd. There’s also a dressing room to customize each of the girl’s outfits and accessories and ways to interact with them in profile mode. It’s enough to warrant multiple playthroughs if you wish to fine-tune your harem, but it definitely takes a dedicated gamer. From what I can tell, a lot of the DLC is unlocked within the game including costumes and accessories.
Music in Gal Gun Returns isn’t good, yet I still hummed along at some points. This could have been because the same song loops throughout the entire game, though. The PC version is a bit lacking in terms of options, and it is limited to only 1080 resolution. If Inti Creates continues to go down this path of PC releases, they really need to start adding additional options such as higher screen resolution support and higher FPS. I’m a simple man and want to shoot my pheromone shots in 4k with defined shadows, textures, and the works.
Gal Gun Returns is good for fans of the series to experience where it all began. The extra modes, refined gameplay elements, and voiced audio make it a welcomed remaster release. However, the dated design may have you more interested in playing the other entries or wishing for a completely new title in the series. Those who invest in unlocking everything across multiple playthroughs are in for a crazy experience but don’t expect to get into euphoria after just one round.
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