An alien race is on the attack and we must safeguard the Earth: how can we do it? Very simple, with the power of Metal!
This time we find ourselves reviewing a title that decides to land in the West and does so in a very unusual way; let's talk about Gal Metal, a title that we got to try on Nintendo Switch and that we can't wait to tell you.
I'll tell you about that time when Metal saved the planet ...
Gal Metal it's a title Rhythm Game initially released in Japan on February 8, 2018 and produced by the studio Marvelous, a group founded in 2011 in Tokyo and producer of famous series of the caliber of Senran Kagura, Harvest Moon e Rune Factory.
The project behind Gal Metal was born with the intention of creating an engaging and fun Rhythm Game, able to combine a very simple humor with a gameplay that cares a lot about the creativity of the player himself.
The plot of the title is quite simple and is narrated following the style of a comic, which with the succession of events is always updated with new cartoons that appear on the screen; this style of storytelling also serves to contextualize the artistic and humorous style of the title, which in both cases is very simple and often stripped down to the bone.
It all begins with a boy who wanders at night with his bicycle, on the way back home; what he does not expect is to find an unconscious girl on the ground, and a mysterious voice telling him that he has been chosen for a great destiny.
The voice continues to be heard until the girl wakes up and mysterious aliens with the features of an octopus appear, blaming the two for having destroyed their planet with a weapon of destruction, the Gold Record.
Although the two don't know how to defend themselves against these accusations, the aliens take it more and more personally, ending up with merge the two into one body to prepare them to face their race in a challenge of conquest; something however seems to temporarily repel the aliens, that is Metal music coming from not far away but enough to annoy them to the point of sending them into retreat.
So what is this the strongest weapon on Earth to face the aliens? Awakening does not make things better, because the boy realizes that he is still in the girl's body, who mysteriously manages to communicate telepathically with him and to all effects represent a second consciousness.
The day continues at school, where it is discovered that the girl is none other than there President of the School Metal Club, and decides to go there to find out some details about it.
We get to know the members of the Metal club, starting with the Synthesizer employee Kia bansui and then to the bass player Mani Kurobarain, on rhythm guitar Erii Kurafuto and on the main guitar Shiimi Shindori; these girls have always been friends of the President, and will be the key to the salvation of the planet.
Will our heroines be able to save the planet and set the hearts of the public on fire with the power of Metal?
The adventure begins
The title is spread over a series of chapters or "gigs“, Which are divided into an exploratory and strengthening phase, and then close with a concerto Live which will close every narrative arc.
At the beginning of each chapter the game will offer us a short comic story always seasoned with humor and stereotypes of Japanese life, obviously without missing some alien incursions that will threaten the Earth and encourage us to train and practice with our companions.
The next phase is always linked to one group chat with the other members, where in a first-person interface we will see our smartphone and a conversation that can sometimes change depending on our answers, being the President of the club with decision-making power.
The gaming experience of Gal Metal starts from exploration and interaction phase, which places one in front of us city map with many points of interest available, in which some of our clubmates may often be present.
As shown in the game, using the hours available for the day will allow us to improve as a group and get closer to our friends by spending time in the places of interest on the map; if we will spend time with our companions we will improve our relationship with them, and once we have reached a certain level of intimacy we will be able to get to know them better through small ones scene dedicate that will deepen each character better albeit in a comic and superficial way.
The parameters that can be expanded from the exploratory phase are seen through a graph consisting of 5 attributes: Kvit, Morality, Guts, Activity e Passion.
Spending time with your friends will not only improve your relationship with them, but it will offer us the opportunity to earn money medalsthat I am simply collectible trophies obtainable after having satisfied certain conditions during concerts or during the exploratory phase.
The fundamental part of the whole title obviously remains the one dedicated to playing with your own band, which always starts with some evidence in the exploration phase if you decide to do practice before the next Live, where you can learn some useful combinations to expand your repertoire.
Evidence can be some simple repetitions of combinations or a real simulation of a Live, where you will have the entire duration of a song to try out combinations.
Gal Metal offers several approaches to playing, which are respectively with the help of Touch Screen and the two Joy-Con; the game experience will be different, but in both cases there will be positive and negative sides.
The central point of everything lies in the Live concerts, which will allow us to show off our skills and stage what we will learn in the course of the game and often being able to intelligently combine different combinations and be rewarded for doing so.
As we show you above this is the screen that appears when you play, with therefore all those who are the main tools of a battery; the battery will in fact be our best ally, and becoming familiar with it will be the key to having fun on this title.
If for the Touch Screen mode we can say that we found ourselves at ease, we cannot say the same for the Joy-Con function; the control is not the best, as it is difficult to manage the sensitivity and response of the game, and some combinations famous for being very long or fast will be quite complicated to perform.
All of this is a shame when we consider that the game is all about playing drums and the intent was to create a sense of immersion, but unlike the likes of Taiko no tatsujin we cannot be satisfied.
The title also offers two additional game modes, namely Practice and Free Play; Practice is the exact simulation of the pre-concert rehearsals that can be done during each story arc, while Free play is a mode that allows you to face different opponents.
Each opponent of the Free Play mode will challenge us on the basis of a song, in which our task will be to achieving a generally very high required score; is one of those modes intended for the more experienced of the title looking for an additional challenge.
Something did not convince us
Gal Metal has managed despite everything to make its way to the western market and establish itself as a niche game that knows how to entertain, but unfortunately the technical defects are many, and overall we are not satisfied with many things that could be improved.
Going in order, let's start from the first impression that the game gives us, that is the Main menu game; in front of us we see a bare menu, without music and with only the sound of a light wind blowing on a blue sky and the title logo in front of an empty stage.
Then going to feel the fulcrum of the game, or playing a song with the drums, we begin to notice the first defects; it often happens to have gods problems playing with Joy-Con because they are not very precise, and therefore the hope of being able to play seriously as if you were playing a drums is completely nullified.
Playing is also not easy once you advance in the game, where we can gradually see how the learning curve of combinations you become worse and worse and the frustration increases; if initially everything seems simple and fun, and the different combinations are well manageable, when you reach the first half of the game you will start to sweat to be original and varied.
However, it should be considered that the game is very rewarding for being creative and notice when we can find the rhythm and combinations that best suit the song, but the inputs will not always be very precise and therefore it will be difficult to always be able to replicate what you want to play.
Gal Metal also flaws in other things, being rather meager and repetitive in the exploratory phase, where we will just wander from place to place to increase our stats and eventually unlock some skits with our bandmates as our friendship continues.
The unlockable scenes will be like small theatrical performances, which will add very little content to the title and will not give particular details on the characters, which although they are always present will be little characterized and very stereotyped by the classic Japanese standards.
The chapter breakdown is nice enough, with comic pages telling about strange creatures and their evil plans to take over the planet, but there won't be any aspect of the plot that is particularly interesting or otherwise comic; overall the standard of the game plot is kept quite low and never exceeds this threshold.
Each chapter has a certain sequence of events and he never detaches himself from it, reminding us at every moment of how we will have to do certain things to advance, as if they were tasks and not real moments of fun; moments that mostly won't be too long, being there rather low duration of the title.
The title has a history of duration of about 15 hours, and once this is over it will be up to go to Free Play mode or try to get the remaining medals and improve relations with the rest of the band.
Gal Metal is a game that could have given much more, already having its own identity that would have made it much better if at least the technical side of the game had been immaculate.
Gal Metal's orientation of graphics and humor is pretty simple and childish, and while not necessarily bad, it still fails to impress.
The songs of the title are rather anonymous and the title has a rather insignificant duration, being almost devoid of particular additional contents that make it long-lived or that push the player to replay it several times, giving very little satisfaction outside of playing.
We trust that DMM GAMES it will offer us better quality content characterized by a strong personality, but at the moment we do not feel like rewarding Gal Metal with these characteristics.