Almost exactly two years ago I reviewed Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson for the 3DS. At the time I skirted around the most obviously selling point of the now 6 year old series, the incredibly well endowed ninja girls cutting the clothes off other equally buxom young female ninjas. I was trying to be mature and take the game and my review seriously without using the words ‘jiggle physics’. Well it’s two years later and I’m more jaded than before so upfront let me say Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash is a game where big breasts bounce around whilst being shot with water pistols, with that out-of-the-way for hopefully at least a paragraph lets talk about mechanics.

The reason the breasts are wet and jiggling, damn it…

Senran Kagura as a series knows what it is, and I respect that a lot. The developer, Tamsoft, has created a world with the games that have spawned manga, an anime and I’m sure enough Rule 43 to make everyone want to cut their eyes out. Fans have favourite characters and there is actually an interesting story at the heart of the series about rival schools of training and the conflicts with each other and within each discipline. There’s a weird subplot of Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash about a girl resenting the fact she is growing up and on the verge of leaving school, something oddly reminiscent of a lot of Japanese Idol groups like AKB48 and their graduations as the red crystal in the back of their hand tells them they’re too old to be appealing to men anymore.

In Peach Beach Splash all the girls from the series are summoned to what is essentially a giant summer water fight where the more you get shot the less stable you become and the more likely you are to erupt into what the French would call ‘Le Petit Mort’ (the little death) and lamenting the loss of some modesty.

Mechanically this boils down to a team based arena shooter where each character uses a different overpowered Super Soaker to take out the other team. Some will be wielding dual pistols, others Gatling guns and some will be packing a giant sniper rifle. When your H2O starts running low the player must hold square to get your girl to pump up the pressure and water in their guns back to full capacity. All the while you are being attacked by girls wearing similar uniforms to you, a white bikini.

This game does make you feel a little bit skeezy, it’s not something you’ll want people to notice on your ‘recently played’ on your PS4 dashboard. But as someone who is open about watching anime and with everyone I know assuming that anime is nothing but girls bouncing a lot I have no shame and no worry about what others may think about my game history. As an odd aside I actually played this with my fiancé and she was picking out which girls I should play as and what outfits to wear, it was an odd experience.

At its core Peach Beach Splash is a genuinely solid game, there is a some great mechanics that are reminiscent of Splatoon. Tactically using your water is a key feature of the game, dashes and air hovers are great manoeuvres but can drain your water tanks very quickly if not used intelligently. Cards are unlocked through the various modes with each giving you a new power up to drop during gameplay, though they aren’t clear what they’ll do most of the time so often you just bust them out and hope for the best.

For those unaware there’s a concept in Anime called Fan Service, which is sub genre where characters basically show skin. I’m sure there’s more nuance to it than that but in reality unless you’re watching something that already features nudity or jiggling (High School of the Dead or KEIJO!!!!!! for example) you’ll most likely experience it in something like One Piece where after and 40 episode arc you are ‘treated’ to Nami in a steamy bath etc. It’s not big and it’s not clever but then it is Fan Service. As with Deep Crimson, Peach Beach Splash features dress up and diorama modes where you can play out ideas you have in a way that I don’t even want to think about. A game that features a ‘touch’ button as two disembodied hands float on-screen in front of someone who looks slightly nervous doesn’t produce the best gameplay experience.

Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash has a story mode dedicated to each of the schools and to my surprise I found stories that were genuinely funny and entertaining. The whole thing felt at odds with whatever ill-conceived pre-judgements I had, and to be fair, itself. Peach Beach Splash is a game with a dress up mode, I shouldn’t be laughing at quite clever jokes in its story mode. Most of the story boils down to the throwaway concept for the water pistol fight, whoever wins get’s whatever they want in the world. All the while this competition is being streamed on the ninja version of Youtube for various people to watch around the world.

As a third person arena shooter Senran Kagura holds its own. Theres clever mechanics and some really cool animations leading to a quite fast paced battle that is only hamstrung by respawning enemies and a difficulty that seems to have been made for anyone who is playing one-handed. There is value to the product and a genuinely fun time to be had if you can get over the incredibly crass nature of it all. I’ve shown the game to a couple of friends and I’ve had two extremes of reaction, laughter and enjoyment and outright disgust. Choose your friends and lady ninja wisely or you may be judged harshly.

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Ruaidhri

Big-Boss of PixelBedlam.co.uk
Ruaidhri has been writing for a number of sites over the past few years, spewing his vitriol and love in equal measures on all topics from Video Games to Film and Board Games to Geek Culture. He started PixelBedlam in September of 2012. Follow him on Twitter!

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