Do you like water guns? How about bikini-clad women that happen to be ninjas? Well what if we put them together!? It’s this very concept that has led me, our accidental resident Senran Kagura “expert”, to write the Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash Review.
Published by Marvelous! and developed by Tamsoft as well as Honey Parade Games, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is a third-person shooter featuring extremely jiggly gameplay. In yet another crazy event, the Senran Kagura girls have been brought to a tropical island to participate in a water gun tournament. Playstation 4 and PC players can partake in five story modes, side missions and a myriad of multiplayer options. Assuming you can find a game for the latter, that is. But I digress.
I like to poke fun at Senran Kagura, but Peach Beach Splash was worth my time. A second round with Senran Kagura as a series has resulted in me understand it a lot more. An understanding that I’ll go in to as we push on with the review!
Review Side Quest
Senran Kagura is No Stranger to Guest Characters. What Gaming Heroine Would YOU Like to See Mix it Up With Our Naughty Ninja?
Get in the Disqus or Facebook Comments at the end of the review. And please share this so other gamers can get involved, and enjoy the review.
How does it play?
Unlike Senran Kagura Estival Versus(review), which played like a Musou (Warriors) game; PBS (Peach Beach Splash) is a third-person shooter. Similar to Splatoon 2(Review) in some ways. Except with an emphasis on wetting up the competition rather than friendly graffiti.
The ten different guns used in the game all come with two shooting styles and their own water-based jet-pack style. The Shower Nozzle, for example, has a high hovering jet-pack with a short and long range spray style. The Rocket Launcher, on other hand, has burst jumps for great height and high-impact rounds as well as triple homing shots.
Matches typically consist of five-on-five teams or a hero team taking on various horde-like enemies. At its best, PBS pits you against the other girls. At its worst, it throws swarms of boring AI at the player in what often feels like an effort to bore them to death.
Depth of Play: Wet and Wild Cards and Squirmy Finishers
Beyond the surface of bouncing boobs and exploding clothes lies a surprisingly deep game. Using the coin currency earned and the card packs gained from victories in-game, players can set special support abilities and upgrade their favourite loadouts to suit their play style.
You’ll be surprised at how well-balanced it is to use each gun style. They’re all worthwhile. Though I ended up leaning on the Rocket Launcher to keep my distance and rain wet death on unsuspecting shinobi teens.
Admittedly, I was disappointed in a sense. Technically, Peach Beach Splash is a much better game than Estival Versus. It also respects the player’s time more, capping most of the matches at three minutes and thirty seconds. Estival Versus often felt like I’d be fighting an enemy for a good twenty minutes running in circles.
That said, Peach Beach Splash’s gameplay doesn’t vary from girl to girl. The ten gun styles are standard for all. Also, this game doesn’t have the Shinobi Transformations as the girls are “forbidden” to use their powers here. Put simply, a lot of what I didn’t realise I appreciated from Estival Versus is much different in this game. Seemingly in favour of being a little more “sexy”, for lack of a better term.
Instead of the creative environmental finishers from Estival, we get a much more basic mechanic here: the Squirmy Finish. But using a rubber ducky on a downed opponent, you can blast off their bra, knickers or just spray a load in their face.
The nipples and sensitive parts are obscured by bright lights, but the goods are there for the most part. I’m not against this, necessarily, but it was done with a hint of creative comedy that I appreciated in Estival Versus. This time around, it’s standard eye-candy for the animated girl enthusiast.
Presentation and Graphics
Senran Kagura openings are one of the few highlights of my year. I don’t have a lot going on these days. But even if I did, they’d certainly rank up there. A mixture of animated cut-scenes and in-game model dance choreography, the opening of Peach Beach Splash follows the path of its predecessors and it’s as glorious as it can be disturbing. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, question my judgement and then watch it again.
Other than that, Senran Kagura fans will be familiar with PBS’ presentation. An impressive, fully voiced cast of characters (Japanese dub with English subs) and lots of dialogue to work with. The story is told via a mix of in-game model interaction against a slightly dynamic backdrop of, say, swaying trees on the island.
I do wish, given my new-found appreciation for the series, that the teams involved would invest in delivering a more dynamic story. The content, though fairly run-of-the-mill, is enjoyable and would be served better by more interesting interactions between the characters. There’s a level of plot beyond the humour that deserves a better presentation, but it’s fine for what it is.
Visually? It’s Senran Kagura.
I’ve grown accustomed to the look of the Senran Kagura girls. It’s a shame that they don’t have their fantastical Shinobi Transformation outfits, but they’re still immediately recognisable. It’s no technical powerhouse, and it’s typical anime to an extent, but I immediately jumped in with an “Ah! There’s Yumi and Homura”.
I like the battle stages but a few of them can be a nuisance to navigate. Multiple floors to a level can often result in bothersome objective-based missions, such as putting out fires inside of the hot springs area. But it’s fair to say a lot of the budget like goes on making the character “assets” more…. realistic(?) I mean, if those things cracked you in the face, you’d know about it.
It’s a feature-packed Senran Kagura experience for PBS. Granted; it’s all very much the same, but there’s a lot of it for those that enjoy it.
First of all, the Single Splash (the story). Four initial stories with three difficulties for each of the ten missions per group. Completing story missions leads to a rank based on your performance and a subsequent card pack gift if you’ve done well. A fifth story and a final stage are unlocked when the four main campaigns have been cleared on any difficulty. The boss fights are both the highlights and the most frustrating things in the game, depending on your chosen gun.
Paradise Mode features one-off single player mission that act as filler content. They’re often a comical aside to the main game and offer some loosely related levity.
V-Road Challenge gets the players stuck in to a tournament-style brawl without the limitations of the other modes. Pick whatever character you want, modify the load-out and pick your team-mates to get through the tournament. The later tournaments get much tougher in difficulty, giving credibility to upgrading your favourite guns and ability cards.
My Melancholy Multi-Player Experience
Simply put, even after release, I couldn’t find a game. Frankly, the online element is cumbersome to me. I ended up in a Capture the Bra (instead of flag, get it? ….yeah you do) match against an AI opponent, who seemed even less interested than any actual human might have. Just grab the bra Kat! Damn.
I’ve tried since the official launch and still haven’t found a multiplayer game to get in to, so I’m calling it quits for that particular venture. I’m sure there are outlets out there with coverage if that’s specifically what you’re after.
For the more… hands-on players, the Locker Room / Showers offer customisation and “Intimacy”. I simply had to try intimacy and yes; it’s just as cringe-worthy as the average person might imagine. Spray the girl with a rubber duck, grope her with disembodied hands and lure her in for an eventual kiss.
All the while with the girls mostly coming across as uncomfortable. But if you’re in to it, you’re in to it. No judgements here.
In a less invasive fashion, there’s plenty of clothing to unlock and apply to your favourite characters. They’ll appear that way in other game modes, with the exception of the final Squirmy Finish move, which essentially demands underwear to do what it does.
There’s plenty of content to purchase with in-game currency to watch and listen to in the gallery. All in all, there’s a lot in this game to get stuck in to if it gets its hooks in you.
Should I play this?
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is an enjoyable experience. It’s a competent third-person shooter with a variety of loadouts to use. The full voice-acting of the characters throughout the story is impressive given how niche the game is. It has its fair share of problems, particularly if you want to play online, but it’s a fine game that respects your time with fairly short matches.
It’s not without its flaws, however. With dull waves of basic enemies outside of the matches against other girls souring the story modes in particular. Go in with an open mind and you might just find something to like.
Gamers who should…
If you want a third-person shooter with a pervy twist, Peach Beach Splash has you (un)covered. Movement feels great and the want to upgrade your favourite gun should keep you going for a while. Even more-so if you’re inclined to dress up your preferred girl and compete in the alternate modes / higher difficulties for missions.
Gamers who probably shouldn’t…
Bouncing cartoon boobs are in abundance here, so the faint of heart should turn back now. The close-to-nudity aside, the modes are repetitive in the worst of ways at times and all four main story paths play out the same way, just with a slightly different drama between the girls. Gamers that want depth of story or variety of gameplay are unlikely to find that here.
Splatoon 2 could be considered the closest type of game to PBS. Albeit with far less polish. In terms of presentation, anybody familiar with visual novels and previous Senran Kagura games should find themselves in well-worn territory.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Light-hearted Fun||Leans heavily on the lewd||Nothing of note|
|Great Movement||Repetitive content throughout|
|Card system works well||Enemy waves pale in comparison to team battles|