Although I may be pretty good with rhythm games that have either the name Hatsune Miku or Dance Dance Revolution in its title, games focused on instruments has almost never been my strongest suits. Perhaps that's why I often find myself behind the mic in Rock Band or Guitar Hero, as that's where I find myself at my strongest. This realization came at me head-on while going head-to-head with DMM Games & XSEED Games' Gal Metal. Yet despite its difficulty curve, I can't exactly be mad at it.

Gal Metal has you sitting behind the drum kit as you and your Metal Club bandmates face off against invading aliens. These octopus-like creatures aim to destroy the world, and the power of heavy metal is the only thing that can stop it. As you take on the identity of two students who have been spliced together by the invaders, you set off the rock out while bettering your friendship with your fellow club members.

With designs by manga artist Toshinao Aoki (who helped Studio Bones this year with the heartfelt Netflix series Dragon Pilot: Hisone & Masotan), the story is told via a comic book style. As you learn about the invaders and your friends, you soon start piecing together the plans to save the world from utter destruction. By doing quick tasks and hanging out with your pals, you'll earn points and better your skills behind the drum kit. However, the true way of being the best is actually practicing, which can have its good and bad ends.

There are three ways to play Gal Metal, two of which are the ways I best recommend. The first is by using your controller normally and having the D-pad and buttons be your drum kit. Here you can best hit the notes far quicker and more precise. One other way to do so is via its touchscreen mode, which has you tap better to the beat like in a music-based mobile game. (This also gives you the better option to listen to your game with the headphones, which better synchs the music up.)

Unfortunately, the least helpful way of playing is the one that the developers are pushing gamers to do: using your Joy-Cons as drum sticks. Never once while playing this way did I hit a beat or rhythm properly, resulting in me constantly losing the round at hand. Instead, it simply made me wail my arms all around like a moron who thinks he has the skills of Dave Grohl instead of the Meg White he actually is. Needless to say, this mode will leave you both sore mentally from the failures and physically from the arm pain you're sure to receive.

One other flaw is the fact that after you practice the moves, it doesn't help you when you jump into the actual battles with the alien invaders. Although it's trying to teach you how to play by reading its rhythm, it would've been nice to be given a handicap if needed. Because of this, I often misread cues and beats, screwing up my play style and forcing me to figure out how to get back into the groove of things.

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Playing aside, the story in Gal Metal is entertaining enough to draw players in far more. Though it is very much run-of-the-mill with its "heavy metal to save the world" mentality, I often found myself laughing at the conversations the girls were having both in the comic and in phone chat mode. I also loved the more stick puppet-based stories that would happen while attempting to level up your skills, which mostly had some humorous non-sequiturs not related to the overall plot of the story. The only downside was the lack of voice acting, which I think would've livened up the tale at hand.

Gal Metal's campaign will take you roughly four hours to complete. Players can revisit past levels and songs, as well as attempt to better their scores from their previous play-throughs. Via its Encore Pack DLC, you can also switch up some of the band members for others, creating different story arcs within the main campaign. (However, the $10 price tag for the other characters can be a bit much.)

PROS:

  • Very funny story
  • Various ways to play
  • Cute art style

CONS:

  • Hard to read rhythm
  • Motion controls are a pain

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Gal Metal has enough of a good story and gameplay mechanic to be entertaining. However, its means of teach people the song rhythms is very tricky, and can lead to more frustration than fun. Still, DMM Games' title has enough solid tracks to craft a decent album of a game.

FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Azario Lopez of ONE PR Studio

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