Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
So, there’s an angel – a cupid, specifically – who has only one task between her and graduating from Angel School. She has to find an unpopular guy, put an Arrow of Love in him, and get him together with his one True Love.
It SHOULD have been an easy test to pass.
Unfortunately, modern cupids have progressed a bit beyond the bow and arrow, and her crossbow appears to have selective fire. Her chosen mook – that would be you, the player – winds up with 16 arrows in him, which has the effect of making him completely irresistible…
…ALMOST completely irresistible. In a cruel twist of fate, it turns out that the girl you like just happens to be the one-in-a-million who is immune to the effect of the arrows, and the only way you can undo the effects of cupid’s itchy trigger finger is to woo her, convince her you’re a stand-up guy worthy of her affection, and work up the nerve to confess.
You have one day.
Gal*Gun is a weird one, and it’s no mystery why it didn’t get a release outside of Japan. It’s pretty much a reskinned Virtua Cop or Area 51, with the gangsters or aliens replaced with classmates who are desperately trying to tell you how much they love you. You take damage for every successful confession, so your only defense is to use your concentrated pheromones to make them pass out in ecstacy before they can get their declaration of love out.
I DID warn you.
There’s a pretty fine line between tacky-but-fun and just-plain-creepy, but Gal*Gun generally manages to stay on the better side of
the line. There’s no nudity – the worst you’ll see is the occasional flash of white – and the main character comes off as almost painfully sincere in his rejection of his newfound popularity.
I’d have a very hard time recommending it to anyone who doesn’t speak at least intermediate Japanese, though. The core game is accessible enough – put cute pink crosshairs on classmate, squeeze trigger until they go “kyaaaaa~”, sink to their knees and explode into a burst of pink flower petals – but the humor and heart of the game comes from actually trying to get your crush’s attention, and that means talking to them and choosing the right response from a dialog selector.
Being a rail shooter, each path is a fairly short affair. Even with occasional pauses for looking unfamiliar kanji up, it took about 2 and a half hours to play through one path out of the four available. It tries really hard to encourage replays, with lots of unlockable art and character profiles in addition to the “good” vs “true” endings for each character, but that’s pretty scant payoff for hours upon hours of pretty repetitive gameplay.
As a light-gun game, it would probably be much better played with a Move controller. I don’t have one of those, but made do with the regular gamepad without too much difficulty.
It IS a PS3 “Best Price” release, and the current exchange rate makes it only about $25 US. Even if the novelty wears off pretty quickly, it’s probably worth it for any fan of quirky Japanese games who can get past the language barrier.