The goofy Gal Gun series from Inti Creates is back in a brand new remake of the original so get ready to shoot some gals yet again.
After reviewing the previous Gal*Gun games, let me just say that Gal Gun Returns is my favourite game in the franchise so far. Whereas Double Peace got repetitive much faster than I hoped it would and Gal Gun 2 was basically a VR game that didn't translate well to a non-VR adaptation, Gal*Gun Returns is simply a nicely-rounded and well-endowed experience.
For the unfamiliar, you play as high school student Tenzou Motesugi who's accidentally shot with a ton of arrows from an angel named Patako Amatsuka which curses him to become attractive to all of the girls at his school and some of the teachers, too. It's perverted stuff that every teenage boy dreams of and playing it as an adult makes me laugh at the absurdity of it all. Plus, the lighthearted game world and fun dialogue help elevate the fun factor to new heights. Who would think such a ridiculous game could be so much fun?
One aspect of Gal Gun Returns that I was particularly impressed with is its graphics. Looking back, Gal Gun Double Peace had a weird blurry aesthetic to its presentation while Gal*Gun Returns is exceptionally sharp, especially its many character models. Speaking of which, the facial animations are quite fantastic as characters' mouths, eyes, and pupils are all animated in 3D which looks far better than similar anime-style games where they merely use animated textures. Seeing the girls express themselves via blushing, widening their eyes, and actually moving their mouths looks great and I wish many more games went the extra mile to feature such expressive characters.
Besides shooting girls while aiming for their weak points in order to pacify them, Gal Gun Returns includes some mini-game-like segments as well as Doki Doki Mode where you zoom in on a girl's body parts to hopefully give her euphoria before the time runs out which can alter your base stats. The mini-games depend on which love interest you chose at the beginning of the game and range anywhere from freeing a girl from a giant plant, trying to get the wind to blow a girl's skirt up, fending off incoming cannonballs in a pool, and helping girls paint and play the guitar. These add some welcome variety although the core gameplay is still very simple and can get tedious after a while. Now that I mention it, the environments are pretty monotonous, too, as everything takes place in a generic high school.
On the plus side, Gal*Gun Returns is bursting with replay value through its various modes, collections, and unlockables. As I previously mentioned, you can play through Story Mode with different love interests which substantially changes the campaign and there are 4 to choose from. There's also Score Attack mode where you can tackle each level and mini-game that you completed in Story Mode. Considering there are 36 levels and 12 character-specific mini-games; you're looking at a lot of content to play through and master. If that's not enough, there's also Doki Doki Carnival which acts as a silly epilogue. As you progress, you can fill out collections via a character roster and unlockable titles as well as tinker with appearances in the dressing room and browse all observed artwork in a gallery.
Although all of this is great stuff, I wish that Gal*Gun Returns included touchscreen support because it is a Switch game and touching the girls would make it a much more immersive experience. In other words, what would be more enjoyable; dragging a cursor around the screen and tapping a face button to shoot girls or touching their bums with your finger directly on the screen? Methinks the latter.
It's certainly not a great light gun style experience but Gal Gun Returns is currently the best that the series has to offer. So, if you want to zoom in on anime girls, look up their skirts, and have some fun in the process, you should definitely give it a go.
- + Cheeky shooting fun with clever mini-games
- + Sharp graphics and lovely facial animations
- + Loads of replay value via various modes, collections, unlockables, and more
- - Core gameplay can get tiresome
- - Could use more environmental variety
- - Why no touchscreen support?