Gal*Gun Returns
Gameplay 7
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Help Tenzou Montesugi fend off lovestruck girls with his pheromone gun while pursuing true love in the game that started the Gal*Gun franchise. While it lacks some of the features and enhancements introduced in sequels, Gal*Gun Returns is still a fun title with plenty of humor and lots of fanservice. It’s rather tame by the standards of the series and can become repetitive after a while, but it is definitely not lacking in content. As a bishōjo rail shooter game, it is a very niche title, but players who can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humor will enjoy Gal*Gun Returns.

Gameplay: A straightforward rail shooter with plenty of girls and modes.

Graphics: The character models look great, but the backgrounds are a little plain.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and some nice tunes too

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Gal*Gun Returns

Developer: INTI CREATES CO., LTD. | Publisher: PQube Limited | Release Date: 2021 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the Gal*Gun series, so what better way to celebrate this milestone than with a reimagined version of the original game. Although its two sequels made the transition to PC, Gal*Gun Returns marks the first time that the original Japanese bishōjo rail shooter game appears on this platform. It is also the first English release of the game as previously it was only available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in Japan.

Story mode introduces players to Tenzou Montesugi, the hapless protagonist of the game. Thanks to a mishap by a cupid in training called Patako, Tenzou finds himself irresistible to the girls at his school. However, unless Tenzou manages to find his true love before the end of the day, he will end up alone and despised by all women forever. Fortunately, Patako tags along to lend a hand and provides Tenzou with a pheromone shooter that he can use to keep the lovestruck girls at bay. Unfortunately for Tenzou, the girls he is actually interested in are immune to his new powers, so he is going to have to win their affection the hard way.

Since Gal*Gun was the first game in the series it’s no surprise to see that it shares a lot of similarities with the entries that followed. However, since the developers didn’t interfere too much with the gameplay, it also means that it is the most basic game in the franchise. A lot of the tweaks and improvements that were added in the sequels are noticeably absent in Gal*Gun Returns, which is a pity. Most players will start with the Story mode, where Tenzou gets to pick one of four girls to pursue romantically. These girls all have their likes and dislikes, which means Tenzou has to pay attention to his stats and what responses he picks during dialog. His initial stats in Academics, Athleticism, Style, and Lewdness are determined by the answers given to Patako but can be changed while playing. This is done through the special “Doki Doki” mode, which we will discuss later.

Gal*Gun Returns is a rail shooter for the most part and sees girls popping up House of the Dead style as the camera moves through levels. Players must “shoot” these girls with the pheromone gun before they can depleteTenzou’s willpower with their shouts or love letters. It takes a few shots to give a girl enough “euphoria” that she drops to the ground and leaves Tenzou in peace. However, shooting a weak spot, which is different for each girl, results in an “Ecstasy Shot” that incapacitates the girl in one hit. While shooting the girls a special meter is filled, which can be used to activate the “Doki Doki” mode. This is easily the lewdest part of the game as it involves staring at the girls and shooting your pheromone gun at specific body parts to fill the Doki Doki Gauge. If filled successfully the player can then give the girl euphoria upon which she will turn into a Doki Doki Bomb, which clears all other girls on the screen.

There is some strategy involved with Doki Doki mode as “staring” at body parts by zooming in on them causes your shots to be more potent. The catch is that if Tenzou stares too long or focuses too much on specific parts the girl will freak out and block his gaze. Each girl has her own unique sensitive spot, so good luck explaining to your significant other why you are aggressively staring at the kneecaps or ears of a Japanese schoolgirl. You’ll also want to pay attention to the names of the girls before activating Doki Doki Mode as they are all capable of changing your stats if you turn them into a Doki Doki Bomb. So, for example, you’ll want to avoid using Doki Doki mode on girls that raise your lewdness stat if you are trying to pursue a love interest who doesn’t tolerate lewdness. There are multiple endings for each girl, based on the stats, with the “True” ending being the hardest to reach.

While it sounds very bizarre and quite perverted Gal*Gun Returns is actually pretty tame compared to the rest of the series. It’s still a very niche title and one of the selling points is that it features 423 different types of panties, but you won’t find any outright nudity or sexual acts in the game. Tenzou is a lot less “hands-on” than the protagonists in other Gal*Gun titles and there are no gimmicks like x-ray goggles or clothes tearing either. The game is still very fanservice oriented and some of the DLC outfits that are included are a bit risque, but it’s all very tongue in cheek.

Outside of the Story mode Gal*Gun returns also features a Score Attack mode that strips out all the story elements. In this mode, players can attempt to complete all the levels as quickly as possible while racking up a high score. Scores are based on how quickly and accurately you shoot girls, so there’s some replay value here. Next up is the Doki Doki Carnival mode, which drops the rail shooting sections completely. Instead, Tenzou has to juggle groups of girls in Doki Doki mode. Gal*Gun Returns also has a “dressing room” where players can change the outfits of the girls, teachers, and cupids in the game as well as a gallery with almost 200 images. These can be unlocked using the reward currency earned during playing the game and features everything from concept art and design docs to key art and other images. There’s even a “Collection” menu that keeps track of all the titles you earned in the game based on your scores. These begin at Rank G with stuff like “Totally Harmless and “Tries His Best” all the way to “Beloved King,” “Universal Stud” and more.

Visually, Gal*Gun Returns looks good and the character models have seen the biggest improvement compared to the original version. There are more than 70 girls in the game in total and many of them have been given new hairstyles to make them look even cuter. The backgrounds are still a little flat, though, and lack any form of interaction. Gal*Gun Returns is set entirely in and around the school, but there are no branching paths during the Story mode. We did appreciate the fact that the developers have added brand new CGs for each heroine’s introduction along with some new ones sprinkled throughout the story. Less impressive is the fact that the game is still locked to 30 frames per second. There’s not a lot of visual options either as players can only adjust the brightness, windowed or full-screen mode, and the resolution. Thankfully, the latter can be set all the way from 720p to 2160p.

Gal*Gun Returns features some nice upbeat music along with full Japanese voices for all the girls, which is quite impressive considering the sheer amount of them. During Story Mode, you’ll mostly hear them shouting or moaning in ecstasy, but in Doki Doki Carnival they all actually have some dialog too. Thankfully, everything has been subtitled, so players who can’t understand Japanese won’t miss out on anything. The game can be played using either a controller or keyboard and mouse, with a mouse being the most responsive. This helps a lot during the mini-games that serve as the boss battles. For example, one boss battle sees Tenzou having to follow posing instructions in an art class while shooting at sheep to fend off sleep while another requires him to shoot the correct lyrics appearing on screen to help complete a song. These sections are a lot of fun and make for a nice change of pace as the other sections can become a little repetitive after a while.

It should go without saying that Gal*Gun Returns is not going to appeal to everyone as it is a very niche title. Fans of the genre will have a blast, though, although players who are familiar with the other titles in the series will miss some of the newer features. Some of the conversations between Tenzou and Patako had us laughing out loud as did the goofy interactions with some of the girls. Fans looking for the same type of fanservice as the previous PC releases will find Gal*Gun Returns to be very tame, but it still has plenty of content and a lot of replay value.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 8.1, 10(64 bit only)
  • Processor: Intel i5-4460 / AMD FX-8320
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti / AMD Radeon R7 370
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 8 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: A 64 Bit Processor and Operating System Are Required
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 8.1, 10(64 bit only)
  • Processor: Intel i5-4460 / AMD FX-8320
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 390
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 8 GB available space
  • Additional Notes: A 64 Bit Processor and Operating System Are Required

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