Gal Gun 2 plays quite differently from the previous games in a variety of ways. For one thing, the stat building element found in Gal Gun: Double Peace is completely absent, and Doki Doki Mode is mostly relegated to an optional function. But the biggest change to gameplay is the fact that your character doesn’t move along a predetermined route during gameplay, which was most likely to facilitate the different types of gameplay stages found in the game.
From the classroom, players are allowed to choose different missions via the SakuraTalk app on your phone. Apart from main stages which require a certain amount of demons to be sucked up or defeated, most of the missions are Free stages which can get you the contact number for various girls. There are three types of missions in total: Shooting Stages, Defense Missions, and Search Missions.
The first type are Shooting Stages, which are the missions most similar to those in the first two games. In this mode, I had to work my way through various school campus areas, but movement consisted of moving between various fixed spots after all the girls in one area were taken care of, instead of the House of the Dead-esque type of fixed route. Players get full control of the camera this time, and schoolgirls in love will swarm from all sides in order to confess. It was honestly really hectic (and surprisingly fun!) to manage all four directions, but there are several key tips I can give which I found incredibly crucial.
Firstly, I recommend making liberal use of the motion control-enabled zoom function, as it’s very handy in order to take out girls in one Ecstasy Shot. Left and right on the D-pad has a quick turn functionality, and some projectiles can be dodged by ducking under them by flicking down on the right stick. Finally, you don’t need to suck every demon up with the Demon Sweeper vacuum, as it takes up a lot of time.
Shooting Stages were definitely the most fun aspect of the game, as they not only tested my reflexes this time but also my ability to prioritize one enemy over the other. It’s fortunate that this type of stage is the most common type then, as the other two aren’t quite as up to par.
Defense Missions are, as they say, missions where you need to protect several girls from getting all their energy sapped out of them. You’re usually allowed to move between 2-3 areas, and Mini Kuronas will attack 1-2 areas in waves. It’s a literal war of attrition, and the mode where the Demon Sweeper’s ability to deal with multiple demons at once is the most useful.
In my experience with these stages, I could never fully protect all the groups of girls, as you really are swarmed with enemies. As soon as I dealt with one group, another came out, and it’s easy to miss more than a few shots on demons that might just deal the final blow to a group of girls. Apart from the demons attacking the girls, there are some Mini Kuronas who stood apart from the group (or even behind me), sniping me with projectiles, and in some cases, bomb projectiles that would render my Demon Sweeper useless for a short while when mistakenly sucked up.
While Shooting Stages are fun in the bursts of tense moment-to-moment shooting, this is because the game does let you choose when to move to the next point, so you can take a breather. Defense Missions are pretty frustrating, and don’t really provide a sense of satisfaction either, as you’re highly unlikely to beat it first try on your rush of adrenaline. It felt more a test of memorization and optimization.
Search Missions threw nearly everything I knew from the other two types of stages out of the window. It’s a timed mission where you need to find a certain amount of requested objects by shifting from point to point, with gift locations randomized each time. Shifting your perspective by changing height with the right stick, and moving slightly left or right with L and R are key, and whether I passed or not felt like a crapshoot. I just kept redoing them until I found easier locations.
In some of the search points, there will be patrolling girls who will alert the others if you’re spotted. Precision was key for me in those situations, as an Ecstasy Shot could defeat them without triggering the alarm, and meant the difference between losing 30 seconds on a Shooting Sequence. There are also some easy-to-find objects that will always trigger a Shooting Sequence, so you need to watch out for those.
I came out of playing Search Missions feeling like it wasn’t really fun at all. The scavenger hunts never felt like they were meant to be one of the main modes of an arcade-like shooting game, and the time limit was deceptively limiting as well.
Overall, I came out of Gal Gun 2’s main three gameplay modes feeling like I only fully enjoyed one of them, while the other two were passable with some fun moments like sucking up sixteen Mini Kuronas at once. I was left feeling not sure that giving up the classic on-rails action was worth it.
Gal Gun 2 is available in Japan, and comes out today in Europe (except for Germany) on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. The game will release in North America on April 24, 2018.