Due to the subject matter today, some items may be NSFW. Barring some terrible graphics, we’re sorta aiming for PG-13 screenshots here, but, given everyone has a different threshold, anything potentially offensive will be behind the “Read More” links du jour. Just so you are aware…
Is a game with a horrible message also capable of relaying a wonderful moral?
Today’s title is Gun Gun Pixies. If ever there was a game that fit the criteria for Wankery Week, it was GGP. That criteria? Well…
- It stars a cast of exclusively teenage-ish, skinny, large-breasted women
- Every character literally cannot even speak without their chest excessively jiggling
- Every character has lovingly rendered panties, and you better believe you’ll be seeing them often
- Speaking of which, it is a videogame where health points are displayed by clothes tearing
- Your playable character cannot even so much as duck without presenting a view that would be appropriate for a rectal exam
- And just to throw a random fetish in there, thanks to scale, if you are into “giant” women, your kink is going to be satisfied a hundredfold
And if you are curious about that last item, it segues flawlessly into the general gameplay of Gun Gun Pixies (editor’s note: it would be a flawless segue if it wasn’t noted as such, dumbass). Gun Gun Pixies is a game where you play as one of two alien “pixies” that run around girls’ dorms and shoot those dorm residents with magic bullets. There is one enemy type (a “living computer virus” that takes the form of a squid that occasionally ducks to look [more] like a dick in a condom), but, other than that, your entire job is to scamper around, “investigate” dorm rooms (press A where something is glowing) and participate in something akin to a 3-D bullet hell involving extremely short skirts and literal panty shots. (…. No, it’s not Nier Automata, that is a completely different situation.) And, yes, you are pixie sized, so all the NPC women are comparatively giants. And if there happens to be a “boss battle” where one of these giant women is pole-dancing, then go ahead and have fun with that.
And speaking of fun, to be absolutely clear, do not mistake Gun Gun Pixies for a videogame that is, ya know, good. If you are here for varied gameplay, you’re pawing at the wrong panties. There are a whole three “rooms” in this dorm, so you have seen 66% of the level layouts before the tutorial is over. These same locales are recycled over and over again, and, seemingly in an effort to prolong the average mission, you have to “investigate” the same stupid things over and over in an extremely specific order, lest you waste your time attempting to speedrun your way to the obvious goal. Look, GGP, you tell me a new character is hiding in this room, and I’m supposed to find her? I’m going to investigate the closet immediately. It is literally the only place a legally-adult sized woman would be able to fit! But, nooooo, I have to click on all the tangential “clues” around the room in a weirdly specific order in order to eventually gain the right to let someone out of the closet. And don’t even get me started on some of the more “actiony” levels! I can only kill so many copy/pasted squids before I want to quit and head out for some calamari.
But Gun Gun Pixies ties its single player content to a story mode. And that story? It is actually (dare I say it) good.
Okay… well… “good” might be giving it a little too much credit. For one thing, a gentle reminder to all developers out there, this is still a videogame, and, while it has become something of an industry standard, nobody has ever been enrapt in a story that is told by 2-D cutouts shouting stock dialogue at each other. And while we are on the topic of “stock dialogue”, this story is in no way surprising or eventful. There are phantom thieves, two different sets of aliens, and sentient videogame consoles about, but it all winds up being something fairly pat and boring. And, while that is marginally impressive in and of itself (they made aliens boring again!), it is not exactly a fun time for the reader (you don’t describe someone that reads a thousand text boxes as a “player”). It may seem a bit expected to note a game based primarily on bath time peeping ain’t exactly Hamlet, but we are barely reaching Senran Kagura levels of engagement here. And that was already a game where you were encouraged to hammer X to skip to the next bit of fanservice…
But there is a reason to pay attention to the plot of Gun Gun Pixies. Gun Gun Pixies may be a game sold on the sexual exploitation of its entire cast, but it is also a game about kindness.
Right from the start, know that this is not a Goggle Bob Deep Interpretation of the Text ™. Literally from the top of the game, your Gun Gun Pixies are given their mission: figure out why/how humans are happy. Apparently the pixies come from a planet where everyone is a giant (well, miniature) jackass, so this pair has been tasked with traveling to Earth and studying humanity. The straight up, plainly stated goal of this mission is to study people that like each other, and learn how to like other people better. And then (gasp) you discover people that like each other! This girl’s dorm is full of girls that are actually friends! They support each other! When one has a problem, they all work together to fix it. Yes, your Gunner Pixie is responsible for occasionally shooting happy bullets (literally your ammo’s name, it’s not subtle) at these women to encourage them to cheer up and perform a kind act or two, but there is the distinct impression here that, were the pixies not involved, they’d be helping each other regardless. And that kind of thing is rare in many videogames! Sure, your party of JRPG heroes might be saving the world, but their party chat inevitably reveals they are a lot closer to work buddies than actual friends. Here, you damn well know that Eri and Amayo would not only help each other destroy some ancient evil, but also make sure each other’s health points are topped off at all times. They don’t want to see each other suffer through booboos!
And it is one thing to say the characters like each other, but it is another to properly relay that caring to the audience. In the interest of making sure a Gun Gun Pixie player understands what is happening here, it seems the mundane parts of GGP are actually thoughtful and well-considered. The first mission involves helping one of the women with her body dysmorphia and crash dieting, and neither the dormmates nor the pixies make blithe comments about the obviously skinny anime heroine being overweight. Some Shantae titles can’t go five seconds without calling its title bombshell fat! From there, we have women encouraging each other to excel in activities that are not traditionally feminine (game design, eating contests), helping their “new freshman” adjust and get over that initial alienation that comes with moving, and ultimately working toward a climax wherein the whole dorm bands together to help a dormmate solve a problem she did not even know she had (magical amnesia is a hell of a drug). While some of these issues are exacerbated by mischievous, fantastical dangers (there is a magically malevolent stripper pole installed in the dorm, and its origins are apparently never considered until the finale), the majority of the issues facing the cast are commonplace, and the solution is always “let’s work together and help our friends”. At no point does the cast need a magical sword, a hereditary leg up, or whatever Ultra Instinct is. These characters like each other, and they help each other because they like each other. Nobody needs a trophy to be nice.
But this is all against a backdrop where it is assumed the player is… not nice. “Horny” is not exactly an acceptable trait in our society, and this game is designed from top to bottom to satisfy the libido of anyone that is attracted to women (or however you rank “teenage anime women” on the “actually resembles reality” scale), and the “point” of playing Gun Gun Pixies is not obfuscated in any way. You can buy whatever underwear kink you’d like in the in-game panty store, and the ultimate reward for beating the game is the opportunity to dress any (female) member of the cast in whatever outfit their model will support. You want dorm meetings in nothing but lingerie? Have at it. And, yes, the dialogue occasionally knowingly winks at a presumably horny audience
Gun Gun Pixies knows its fans, and knows exactly why they are here. The direction is not shy about pandering in any way, shape, or form (well, excluding foot fetishists. Sorry, guys, but it is just too hard to render feet). But the direction is also not shy about its message: that we should be nice to each other, and supporting our friends, old and new, is what is important. Gun Gun Pixies did not have to go this hard on trying to make its audience better people, but it very much did.
Or, to put it simply:
Can a game predicated on being horny on main also have a good message for its audience? Apparently the answer is yes. Gun Gun Pixies doesn’t seem interested in “forgiving itself” for being exploitative, but it does offer a plot and characters that might make the player a better person.
Way to wank it, Gun Gun Pixies.
Wankery Week #13 Gun Gun Pixies
- System: Nintendo Switch. It was also originally on the Vita, but only in Japan. I’m just noting this because the Switch being the successor to the Vita and its throne of horny games has never been so obvious.
- Number of players: Two pixies are selectable, but only one at a time, please.
- Could you play this with someone else in the room? This is going to be a hard “no”. Your average JRPG might have some women that are generally dressed like strippers, but it is hard to find a second of Gun Gun Pixies where there is not something vaguely horny happening. The previously mentioned excellent plot is delivered by women that are continually wearing items that I was genuinely surprised to find were not just lingerie (this was proven by the fact that they eventually wear actual, significantly more skimpy lingerie). Decent plot or no, every visual moment of this game lives for the male gaze.
- Fashion Faux Pas: That said, it is weird that you only ever have access to two different costumes for your playable characters. I understand the reasoning on this (the Pixies have “clothes = hit points” going on, so any extra outfits would have to have multiple forms), but, for a game that has a “costumes” section in the shop from the time you first boot, it feels like a cutting room floor omission.
- Predatory Representation: Gun Gun Pixies also leans heavily into that whole “dirty old man lesbian” thing, wherein a female member of the cast is constantly, overtly sexually harassing the whole world, and everyone involved just writes it off as “she’s just like that”. Two different characters seemingly base much of their personality on this trope. It is always nice to see some extra homosexual representation, but this kind of harassment is always gross, and it does not matter if it is a man or a woman continually committing sex crimes. I realize this trope became popular because we had to get away from the somehow-even-more-gross “dirty old man” trope (think Happosai of Ranma), but can we move on now? Or at least move to a trope that doesn’t seem so… permissive of being just plain awful?
- Crossover Shenanigans: As briefly mentioned in the article, two “very special guest stars” stop by for an episode, and they are both stars of the (apparently still going) Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise. I was bored out of my mind seven seconds into playing one of those slow ass JRPGs, so I never got into that franchise, but if you’ve ever wanted to see the anthropomorphization of a cancelled videogame console gyrate around in her underwear, have I got a game for you!
- Did you know? Apparently one major change between the initial Vita version and the eventual Switch/Steam version is that the original had “fall damage”, and any drop from a significant height led to an instant Game Over. This was dropped for the Switch version, which is great, because with the way the stealth system works, there are far too many potential instant “deaths” in this game as is.
- Would I play again: Probably not. Gun Gun Pixies has some significant gameplay issues, and it doesn’t exactly entice me to play more (and the final boss was such a damage sink, I almost gave up before finishing), but it does make me excited to see a sequel of some kind. Should such a thing ever surface, I’d play Gun Gun Pixies 2… assuming no one I know can see what I’m doing.
What’s next? We’re back to random, and Random ROB has chosen… Blazblue Centralfiction for the Nintendo Switch (totally different from the PS4 version, I swear). Let’s review the life and times of
Sol Badguy Ragna the Bloodedge! Please look forward to it!