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  1. #1

    [NSW] Gal Metal!

    I tend to stay away from rhythm games, I'm absolutely terrible at them and more often than not the music selection is not to my liking. Not that I never play them, it's that such games centred around music genres I like, rock and metal, aren't many. Enter Gal Metal!, where a group of high school girls has to fend off an alien invasion through the power of metal.
    You play as the drummer of said high school band and the Joycons work as drumsticks. There are no prompts on screen and you're left to create your own combos to clear songs. The right Joycon is for low-pitch drums, the left for a high-pitch one, and both are for the crash (note: my knowledge of musical instruments, in whatever language, is worse than my skill at rhythm games). There are "preset" combos named after metal songs (Harlot, EnterSand, Dimension X, etc etc) that you can perform during songs for extra points, but so far I've been able to clear songs with almost three times the required points by just waggling the Joycons at random. And scoring combos the game hasn't shown me yet. I haven't played Wii Music so I can't draw direct comparisons, but I'm pretty sure the two are pretty similar.

    Joycon response is good, although I've found difficult to time combos as part of my mind want to "connect" the hit when my hands strike my tights as those were the drums, while the Joycons register all abrupt stops. It's kinda difficult to explain, but imagine you're playing air drums and your mind thinks you'll have sound when your imaginary sticks hit the imaginary drums, which are set at an imaginary distance, while the Joycons and the game register every single "move-stop" as a hit no matter the strenght, lenght of motion, and where the motion ends. Also I'm absolutely unable to time my left hand correctly, which helps in giving the impression that the game doesn't register hits correctly. However I know it does and it's me being terrible, I had the same problem when friends wanted me to play Rock Band on those true fake instruments.

    Gal Metal! offers two other control schemes: touchscreen is for handheld mode only and I still have to try it out, but you can also use buttons to drum your way through songs. And with "buttons" I mean you have the whole drum kit mapped to every single button on the controller (d-pad, face buttons, shoulder buttons) for you to create your very own drumming experience. I guess that this makes Gal Metal! more similar to other rhythm games, but one problem is that without prompts non-musicians (or whose not able to play drums) it's hard to remember all the combos and you have reminders only during training phases. Maybe this layout will make the game incredibly interesting to rhythm game players and aspiring drummers, but it's completely beyond me, especially because you can't remap controls; maybe the layout is reminiscent of real drum kits layouts but I really don't know.

    Songs are metal renditions of classic pieces. One of the girls sits next to a mic during performances but the first four songs don't have lyrics. In fact, I can't really point out to what three of those four songs are because the drum noises and your brain trying to guide your hands to anything but random waggling completely drowns out the music if not for finales. This is one game that could have used some covers or original pieces, but instead the musical selection doesn't quite reach the graphical style.

    Gal Metal! has a very charming style, and while polygonal graphics are nothing noteworthy, cutscenes and menus have an unique personality that I really enjoy. But I can't deny that this is a budget title, there are no voices and sound effects get boring almost immediately. In between songs comic book-style cutscenes and girls interacting on their smartphones advance the story, and to be absolutely honest I wouldn't mind a manga or an anime using the same style and characters. During these segments you can also interact with other girls to enhace five stats of which I've got absolutely no clue on their purpose, maybe they increase combos score during songs but as I've mentioned earlier I was able to waggle my way through songs without too much problem.

    Will continue to play and update my findings.

  2. #2
    Touch controls are like button controls, the only difference that you have to tap the screen, of course.

  3. #3

  4. #4
    There's nothing much to add to what I've wrote before, with the exception of some more details on Joycon control.
    Joycons are responsive, at times to a fault: you'd expect that only downward motions to be registered, but at times upward motions are as well. Today I had both 'cons register multiple hits on a simple swing, making combos impossible. I still completed a couple of stages, and this goes a long way in showing how random the game is when using motion controls to play drums. After noticing this multiple register problem I've tried to find a recalibration or similar option, but haven't found none, so I had to suspend the game, put the console to sleep, and restart. This corrected the flaw, but a Joycon recalibration/rest option within the game would have been greatly appreciated.

    The story continues to be as over the top and nonsensical as it can be, and that's the single best part of the game. Again, I wouldn't mind an anime adaptation with the same graphical and comical style.


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