Gal Metal review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Marvelous/XSEED
Developer: DMM Games
Medium: Digital/Cartridge
Players: 1
Online: No

I think I understand the thought process that went into Gal Metal. Someone, somewhere in Japan, looked at the rhythm game genre and decided they wanted to try something new. They were inspired by the ?rhythm? part of the genre name, took it literally, and — voila! — they decided to make a game where you play as the drummer.

(Also, because they?re Japanese, they threw in a plot that involved aliens, high school, and gender-switching, but I?ll get into that in a moment.)

So I get the how of Gal Metal. What I don?t understand is the ?Why??

Don?t get me wrong, I understand how important a good drummer is to the success of any band. If you don?t have a drummer who can hold a steady beat, you?re lacking someone who is almost literally the backbone of your band. As someone who spent a lot of time around musicians during a previous stage of my life, I saw plenty of bands who were dragged down by drummers with no sense of rhythm, and I saw far fewer whose drummers elevated them to bigger and better things.

But for the life of me, I can?t figure out why anyone would want to play a game as a drummer, as you do in Gal Metal. Apart from maybe the bassist, it?s the most boring job in a band, since it?s up to you to keep a steady beat around which everyone else does their part. While there?s a little room for improvisation, compared to all the other instruments, there?s not a lot to do.

And so it is with Gal Metal. As the band?s drummer, you?re there to keep time. Sure, you can play around on the edges of songs, and it?s a bit of a challenge to figure out the correct rhythm for every song, but at its core, you?re there to make the rest of the band sound good. Unless you?re really into drumming, it?s not the kind of game that?s likely to grab your attention or spark your imagination.

For that, I guess, there?s the story — which isn?t exactly great either. The gist of it is that you?re playing as a teenage boy who?s been swapped into the body of a teenage girl by aliens seeking to destroy the earth, and the only way to fight band is with metal. The story is told by long, boring text conversations with your bandmates, interspersed with comic-style cutscenes. Occasionally you play gigs at which your goal is to rock the aliens to death, but in amongst the gigs you have to do things around town to boost your various stats. None of it is terrible, but neither is any of it so fascinating that you?ll be rushing through your shows in the hopes of reading more of the story.

In other words, Gal Metal is a game where you?ll probably find yourself playing through the story just to get to music scenes where your goal is to provide a steady, unceasing beat. Not exactly the most thrilling stuff. Different than most other rhythm games, sure — and if you love rhythm games for the rhythms themselves, there might be something interesting here for you — but, all in all, not the kind of thing you need to rush out and buy unless you watched this scene from Freaks and Geeks and closely identified with Jason Segal?s character.

Marvelous/XSEED provided us with a Gal Metal Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+