Steam Summer Sale Compulsive Hoarding Relapse: Gal*Gun: Double Peace (2016)

Mom, I love you, and I’m sorry.

I have many issues in addition to my hoarding, among them a craving for silly, raunchy cheesecake. Peeking into my Steam summer sale grab bag, I noticed that three of the four games I snatched up involve sexualization in some fashion. I could have walked away with Fallout 4 for fourteen bucks; instead I went with bouncy boobs, camgirl management, and in this case, a magic orgasm gun. Am I what one defines as a “pervert,” or does the teenager within me simply find humor in perversion?

It’s a question I examine on a case-by-case basis. I do love myself shameless T&A, especially the unclothed kind, but when it comes to a game like Gal*Gun: Double Peace, the bigger appeal lies in irony and silliness. In other words, an ‘adult’ game for immature adults as opposed to actual sex or nudity.

Part rail shooter and part visual novel, Gal*Gun Double Peace throws the likes of House of the Dead into a high school setting. It swaps out zombies and criminals for lust-crazed girls and replaces your lethal weapon with a firearm that induces, uh, ‘euphoria.’

The prologue introduces us to Houdai, your typical unlucky-in-love anime male. As Houdai drifts virginal and unpopular through his high school career, he harbors latent feelings for his childhood friend Shinobu and her younger sister, Maya. The sisters have wandered back into Houdai’s life after not speaking to him for three years, and he reflects on his quiet suffering through mountains of text.

As these stories go, today may or may not mark Houdai’s lucky break. In order to pass her final exam, a cupid/angel named Ekoro has arrived to help Houdai find true love via a magic bullet. Unfortunately, a demon girl named Kurona is also present, there to pass whatever standardized test Hell hands out. In desperation, Ekoro accidentally hits Houdai with a shot charged to 32 times its normal power.

Suddenly every girl on campus, save the sisters, the angel and demon, wants to jump Houdai’s bones. Well, maybe not in such crass terms. Similar to how enemies attack in ‘serious’ rail shooters, the girls plant kisses, whack Houdai with marriage certificates, and fire love declaration projectiles. These attacks deplete Houdai’s health meter because estrogen kills.

While this sounds like the average high school boy’s wet dream come to life—it certainly would have been mine—the reality carries problematic ramifications. If Houdai does not confess devotion to his one true love by sundown, he is doomed to be alone, friendless and ignored forever. It’s one of those situations that requires thinking in the long-term.

During the first playthrough the only choices for true love interests are Shinobu or Maya. In subsequent games Houdai can decide he wants both sisters at the same time, Ekoro, Kurona, and finally any of the unique students on the roster.

I mean unique in the truest sense. The girl mob is made up of about seventy character models, all with different names, looks and voices. Although some of them reappear to resume their pursuit of Houdai later, there are no palette swaps or relabeled clones. A lot of thought was put into making this as realistic a conundrum as possible.

Ekoro gives Houdai a means to fight off the rampaging female hordes: a mystical gun called the Pheromone Shot. Firing on girls will make them collapse in ‘ecstasy,’ moving them out of the way so Houdai can press forward.

By the way, ‘ecstasy’ is the game’s polite way of saying ‘orgasm.’

Sustainability rests on decent marksmanship. Each girl has a specific sensitive body region. Blasting it brings her down faster, an important tactic when there are many onscreen opponents. As Houdai zooms in and shoots, he can also scan the target’s waist, bust and hip measurements, all in the name of suave Achievement hunting completion.

If that weren’t eyebrow raising enough, there’s also Doki Doki mode. Here Houdai captures a target within an energy field and taps alllll over her favorite erogenous zones until she explodes in a literal ecstasy bomb. Aside from adding extra perversion, this benefits the game’s visual novel portion. Each time Houdai successfully Doki Doki’s a girl it increases or decreases his attribute stats, which opens more dialogue choice options.

Sandwiched between all the suggestive shooting is a story to follow, where screens and screens of scrolling text further the plot between Houdai and his chosen sweetheart(s). The story branches in unique directions depending on Houdai’s pick, and the on-screen conversations often end with a menu of dialogue choices. Picking the right words fills the One’s overall progress meter, important for determining whether the player will get a ‘Bad,’ ‘Good,’ or ‘True’ ending.

I don’t have a problem with visual novels, but given two interchanging play styles, I preferred shooting over reading text. I scanned the narrative fast enough to comprehend but kept my finger on the advance button. Yes. Yawn. I care about you. I’m telling you what you want to hear. Time to fight more girls.

That’s not to say the shooting isn’t without its own annoyances. I had to get used to the idea of this being a rail shooter, not a first-person shooter, as I haven’t spent much time with the former genre. Since movements and advancements are on a fixed, predetermined track, collecting hidden items requires fast acting. Once the game scrolls past something of interest there’s no way to backtrack for it. For those accustomed to rail shooters, being jerked around may not feel quite as frustrating.

The addictive gameplay and solid hit detection helped me deal with the automated movement. I must say, the raunchy targeting and gunning is pretty fun, if not morally problematic, and the fact that the cell shading looks so good makes it that much harder to put down.

Each run is very short, lasting a couple of hours at most. But immense replay value balances the game’s short length. If you’re not questing for the dozens of true loves the game offers, there’s tons of crap to collect and Achievements to earn.

If you have stayed with me this far without clicking the back button, I will offer a final word of warning: do not play Gal*Gun: Double Peace if you are searching for hidden themes, underlying insight or deep sociopolitical commentary. There is none of that to be found here, just crass, stupid fun for the pubescent brats in our hearts. My gutter-brained inner teen loved it.

Keeping it installed for now.