When it comes to niche Japanese titles, it can be really hard to pitch and sell these games and ideas to people in the West. On the one hand, due to their content, ideas, execution and basically everything about them, they are difficult to localize, will conservatively sell less than 1/100th of AAA titles, and, as a result, have significantly higher prices than other games that appeal to a larger group. On the other hand, fans are more than willing to pay for it and play the ever loving hell out of these games, because, well, they said they would, and so they keep their promises. The Vita was officially discontinued six months ago, and fans are now migrating, en masse, to the Switch for their doujin game fix. And nothing says “odd Japanese ideas” like tiny aliens from a foreign planet coming to earth to shoot a dorm full of women with orgasm bullets in order to solve their own problems.
Gun Gun Pixies is the story of two aliens from the far distant Planet Pandemo, that is dealing with a massive problem of self-isolation. You see, the people of Pandemo prefer to work alone, live alone, and do everything alone: intimacy and even friendship is scarce. Needing to find ideas and solutions, the military cadets B-Tan and Kamepon have travelled light years to arrive on Earth, hoping to learn from the affectionate Earthlings and also ensure that the humans have successful relationships themselves. For reasons that make sense only to the developers, B-Tan and Kamepon’s base of operation and entire exploration is Lily Pad, a girls-only dormitory full of females with unique personalities and tastes. The only thing that could be an issue is that humans are roughly ten times bigger than the Pandemonians, so B-Tan and Kamepon must remain hidden and scarce, but intervene when it looks like things could go awry. Oh, and B-Tan is incredibly into these girls, so making sure that the horny little alien doesn’t ruin the mission by trying to overstep boundaries is vital.
If you could just read what I just wrote, you’re already cocking your eyebrows, and that’s totally understandable, but it’s about to get a lot stranger. Gun Gun Pixies puts you in the 3rd person role of either B-Tan or Kamepon (interchangeable between rooms) as you seek to maintain peace in the household, investigating moments of dissonance between the flatmates and fixing it however you can. You mostly fix it with a special weapon called Happy Bullets, that put the giant humans into incredible states of bliss, relaxation, and, yes, arousal. When you shoot a human enough, they sometimes let secrets slip (sort of like the magic rituals of Kotodama), so making sure to have enough bullets on hand is key. However, there’s also a stealth element to it: after all, if you saw a tiny human running around your room, trying to shoot you, you’d probably react badly. So you need to make sure you’re keeping an eye on visual and sound meters, crawling when necessary (which leads to up-skirt views of our heroines), posing like a stationary figure, and generally trying to stay invisible. If you get noticed, mission failed, and you need to start again from the last checkpoint.
Sexual elements aside (we’ll touch upon those in a moment), Gun Gun Pixies has a lot of unbalanced moments in terms of actual gameplay. Compile Hearts and Idea Factory are at the core of it all (with PQube doing some publishing and distribution), so certain parts of the game are handled with a well known flair and finesse. For example, the voice work of all the girls in Lily Pad, plus the two Pixies and various other NPCs, is brilliant, and the localized translations (reading only, no English voices) is genuinely funny. There are puns abound, reaction gags in terms of the hot/cold relationship between B-Tan and Kamepon (with Kame being the serious one and B-Tan wanting to hyper sexualize everything), and brilliant presentation of the otherwise absurd missions, like finding the source of a bad smell or the possibility of an international art thief living in the house. Even the end of the missions and the start of new ones are done with vocal bumpers like the end of an anime, adding to the overall enjoyment of treating this game like a visual experience and not just a playable harem. The music, though repetitive, adds to the overall atmosphere, and is balanced well with the sound effects and random voice utterances of both the Pixies and the girls they are currently in the room with.
Given that Gun Gun Pixies is 80% about shooting, the firepower moments are also well done in terms of enjoyment and actual skill. Given that your targets are mammoth women who are unaware they’re being shot and could end your game if you’re coming from the wrong angle, you need to be nimble, thoughtful and agile throughout (with a couple of exceptions). The two pixies have different firing styles, with B-Tan using a more rapid fire and Kamepon favoring a sniper-like rifle, and each can have their weapon changed and upgraded though coin collection (both loose coins you find in the rooms of Lily Pad and reward coins at the end of mission chapters). If you’re too far away, the shots never land, so you need to triangulate a good position, wait, get your shots off and potentially retreat. The women naturally drop these massive black/blue orbs that damage the pixies, and four hits equal mission failure, so staying on the floor never really works out. Also, when you get to mission ending shooting sequences (wherein you need to use a LOT of bullets to create an Endorphin Explosion), there are floating hearts that can track you down almost anywhere. So you gotta be nimble, accurate, get your shots off, run, reload, possibly get more bullets, and look for power spots that’ll amplify your shot power and recover your damage, which means putting your clothes back on. Oh, yes, when you take damage your uniform disintegrates until you’re literally naked, with your bits covered by just a glowing aura of Nintendo saying “we gotta draw the line somewhere.”
But it’s not all fun and games. For reasons that I cannot understand, the movements of the Pixies is, frankly, janky as hell. When you run, if you start dashing, it’s very difficult to turn and you often have to stop moving entirely to change direction. Your jumps are awkward, leading players to need to learn where the limit is for propulsion within the first few minutes of the game, lest you continually overshoot things and end up getting spotted (and failing the mission). This alone is hard, but the camera, sadly, makes it even harder. You’re given a bit of control over the camera through the right stick, but moving close to a wall or a tight space yanks viewing control out of your hands and lets the game decide what’s best, which can often result in staring at nothing or an extreme closeup of yourself. At one point, one of the girls sat down in a chair, and I couldn’t get a bead on her from the Power Spot because the camera forced me to stare at a stack of books to the right of the spot. It was frustrating and, frankly, nauseating. Also, the Power Spots are broken, in terms of game mechanics. Your gun is crazily overpowered, and you can recharge your health an infinite number of times, taking away a lot of the risk factors of not getting a “No Damage” boost when the mission is over. Yea, even if you get knocked down to your birthday suit ten times, as long as you’re wearing clothes when the mission concluded, it counts as “No Damage.” A bit insane, I know.
Then again, a lot of players for Gun Gun Pixies are here for the innuendos and anime boobs, not the complex gameplay, and that does deliver in spades. All the denizens of Lily Pad end up strutting around in their underwear at one point or another, and, if you have a giant woman fetish, have I got fantastic news for you. Everyone’s sexually frustrated in one way or another, with a lot of suggestions about certain activities happening behind closed doors, and B-Tan is just relentless with her infatuation with all the girls and Kamepon. There are a ton of uniforms and underwear to unlock for the Pixies to wear, including a very questionable Chocolate Lingerie right from the beginning (literally just bits of chocolate on your bits), and the game is actively encouraging you to creep more and more. There’s a scope that you need to use in order to find secrets in the rooms (which gave me massive motion sickness due to the tracking of the zoom), but don’t you want to upgrade to the X-Ray scope, so you can see everyone in their underwear all the time? The upgrades are not cheap (especially not the X-Ray Scopes), but you can replay old missions and settings to get coins faster, though, arguably, people will just want to go back to do the bathtub scenes. Not only does every mission end with a bathtub scene (where you always find some reason to be on the lip of the tub while someone gets sudsy), but the payoff is positively insane in terms of coins. For doing other, smaller chapters, I would average maybe 2-4000 coins, if I was thorough, found all the loose coins, was a crack shot and didn’t take any damage. The bathtub scenes are less than two minutes, literally can generate close to TWENTY thousand coins, and involves your tiny Pixies occasionally leaping onto the giant, naked women and appear to furiously hump them. I never dreamed I would write sentences like this, much less about a Switch game, but here we are.
Gun Gun Pixies does have a ton of replay value, between trying to get the higher ranks on levels, unlocking all the upgrades and outfits, and seeing if you can find all the secrets strewn throughout (not to mention recognizing some other Compile Hearts characters showing up). It’s got quite a long set of missions, very responsive controls, and I actually think it looks better in handheld mode than docked. For some reason, maybe because it was originally made for the Vita, I didn’t feel as dizzy tracking the characters on the smaller screen than the larger. This game is bound to make a lot of players very happy, and, much like Neptunia games, adjusting to the controls puts the game in a better headspace for players who, like myself, might be initially frustrated with handling. As they say, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, and Gun Gun Pixies definitely deserves a go if you’re even a bit curious.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
Gun Gun Pixies Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Tiny, cute girls shoot giant, cute girls to help keep up good energy, save an alien planet, and still have plenty of time for a bath every single time. Art.