Game: Gal Metal
System: Nintendo Switch
Developer: DMM Games
Publisher: Decibel PR (Marvelous)
Genre: Rhythm game
Price: € 29,99| $29.99 | £25.99 | $AUS 45
Age rating: Europe 7+|America Teen
Release Date: 30th October 2018 (America), 2nd November 2018 (Europe)
A physical version which comes with the Encore DLC is avaiable in America, Asia and Europe.
Review code kindly provided by Decibel PR
The Power of Metal
The story mode of the game starts off with you as a high school student in a small suburb of a city in the Tokyo metropolis. You are abducted by a UFO along with a girl an octopus looking alien claims they have come to destroy earth. As the golden record sent on the Voyager destroyed their vilification with sound waves. You are then fused together as the emissaries of Earth to fight against their challenges.
Your character is the boy but inside the Rinko’s body, who can’t control it and speaks to you in, her, head. Thankfully she is the president of her school’s Metal club. The first night of the attack your band plays metal music and it makes them retreat. Several times throughout the story the Octarians and their allies will plot to destroy Earth, but usually with a warning.
Keep the Rhythm
The main game play is that of being the drummer in your song fights against the aliens. Unlike most rhythm games prompts do not pass by the screen for you to hit. Instead it’s more of a freestyle, you will learn drumming patterns, which you use to mix up and play for the duration of a song. In this game you’re responsible for your own timing as you are the drummer. If using motion controls the right joy-con hits red, and the left hits blue.
Each song will have recommended HOT patterns that you can play in practice before the song. It’s up to you to pick your patterns and use them, but the HOT ones should definitely be used a little bit in the upcoming song. The game will score you based on your combos and sections. Although you do get a little bit of points for “rudiments” so you can somewhat get by in the first few stages.
Further in the game during songs the various enemies will sometimes try to attack you. This will do things like make you unable to hear the song, or be able to hit certain drum parts. To prevent this you bash both your cymbals. If you have leveled up the appropriate traits, it may rarely occur.
At the end of a song a replay will be saved, and your performance will be graded. I never managed to do better than a C even if I did get an absurd number of points.
After School Simulation
The presentation of the story is largely in a motion comic style, which looks nice. There are also chat rooms with your fellow Metal Club members during the day, with a couple dialogue options. During the rhythm part of the game, the characters are all displayed with 3D models.
The story sections break up the game play between each new song. The chapters start with a comic, then a chat room before opening up for some after school time. From here you can choose to practice, work, play or . Doing these will change your five stats, being Morality, Kvlt, Guts, Activity and Passion. These stats either give you bonus points for things like accurate drumming, or prevent alien attacks during songs. I chose to round these out, which you can easily do. You have to take into account your stamina and the time each activity takes.
If you stay at places where your friends are it will increase your friendship with them. Doing so will unlock new scenarios, which are very short puppet show like cut scenes where you get to know them a little better. There are around thirteen chapters in the game, some of which you’ll have a few days to take extracurricular activities and others only one. My favourite band member is Shimii, although they are all great.
Practice Makes Practice?
One of the options you can choose is to do solo practice or group practice. In both practice modes you are given help with timing whereas in the actual battles you are not. In solo you can find the new patterns for the next song and learn them. You have to get the pattern right five times (although not in a row). Something I really don’t like about this, is that you only have a certain amount of time to get it right, as the song timer plays through as you do it. So if you’re having trouble learning something you might fail and have to spend more stamina and time to get it right.’
Group practice is where you can play the new song, but you will have the patterns up where you can see them. You can access practice mode outside of the game and not use your stamina, but you can’t do any songs or patterns you haven’t unlocked by beating the chapter.
There are motion controls, button controls and touch controls. There are two modes for motion controls, noodle and drum mode. In noodle mode you have to hold the joy-cons horizontally while hitting them vertically which feels weird and not that comfortable. Drum mode is recommended only for experienced drummers as you have to control it more precisely and make sure to lift the joy-cons up and down. The button and touch controls have an image on screen showing the drum kit and what the button prompts are.
Free Play and DLC
There is also Free Play mode where you can play any of the songs you have done in the story. This time the scores to beat are significantly higher and there are three different levels for each one.
DLC is also available giving you five new scenarios and characters. It comes with the World Tour physical edition of the game.
The game runs perfectly well in table top and handheld. Many might have issues with their TV sync and have to make several changes until it can work properly. It recommends headphones, but on the one TV it was giving me trouble with that didn’t change anything. There is a guide available for trouble shooting and game tips.
One issue I really have is whatever control mode you set in the options you have to be using if you want to keep navigating the game. As if you go back into the game with the joy-cons in and try to play it will lock you until you take them out. Another one is the practice mode, even outside of the story mode you only have so much time you can practice. It could also do with the option to make it that you have to get the pattern right five times in a row, so you really learn it.
I was doing pretty well with the game, even with my innately poor rhythm. Until the later chapters where not only did the patterns get increasingly more complicated, I couldn’t get the hang of them before the battles. The free play nature of the game is unique, but for someone like me makes it difficult. As I have very little sense of timing, and in this game I’m the drummer!
Gal Metal is a unique rhythm game, with cute presentation. The story is lighthearted and funny. It isn’t for everyone due to this unique game style. I only wouldn’t recommended it for people who like me are really bad with keeping a beat. That said I do like it, it just does a number on my self esteem.