The improbably large-breasted shinobi girls from Senran Kagura series are back, but not wielding swords or ninja arts. Instead, they grab water guns for some frenzied water tagging in a tournament after a promise of winners getting anything they could possibly want. The premise is just as silly as it sounds and a good excuse to flash the girls’ expanded funbags, almost bursting out of their teeny-weeny bikini tops. But really, under excessive boobs galore of Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash, there’s actually a cool and addictive game and not just something to ogle at. Even though it’s most definitely ogle-worthy too!
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash (PBS for short) is a fast-paced 3rd person arena shooter with water guns. A bit like Splatoon but only sexier. There are tons of content to play through, all bountifully presented. After mandatory tutorial rounds to learn the ropes of water tagging, the game opens up. Story mode covers 10-mission story arcs for four different teams, while Paradise Episodes concentrate on more character-specific tales. There are twelve of the latter, with each having five rounds of water tagging. V-Road Challenge, on the other hand, is a classic competition mode, with four tournaments of five rounds to participate in.
And that was only for the single player, as more fun waits in multiplayer. There are free matches and ranked games to play, with 3v3 or 5v5 set-ups. In co-op survival, the players team up against waves of AI opponents. Unfortunately, the servers weren’t apparently up before the official release of the game (or other reviewers were so prudish they didn’t dare to enter any online splashing), so I couldn’t test out the multiplayer. Parameters for searching for online games seemed plentiful, and I’m absolutely sure PBS can be just as fun in multiplayer as it is when played solo.
Being victorious in every game mode grants in-game credits to buy beach wear, accessories and unlocked movies and art in a shop, but more importantly collectible cards. Everything in the game, be it weapons, pets or special abilities mapped to d-pad of the controller, are represented as cards. You can build different decks for individual characters and buff the cards within, spending spare cards for leveling up. You’ll never be in short supply of cards, as they’re showered upon after victories. You can easily keep up many favorite girls fully-equipped (ahem) at the same time.
Speaking of these gorgeous girls, there are initially 24 of them to choose from. Apart from modestly proportioned Mirai and Ryōbi, each are more voluptuous than the next. More shinobi babes are unlocked through success in tournaments (and via DLC packs), so there’s incentive to keep on playing. Not that it’s a problem anyway. PBS could easily be nothing but lewd fan service if it wasn’t so good at what it does. Granted, it is a lewd fan service too (the infamous dressing room with full-on boob groping makes an obvious return) but the core gameplay of water tagging is so much fun.
The arena action of PBS is fast, smooth and responsive. The girls obey controls without a hitch, and their buxom but slender figures animate beautifully. The agile action not only feels good, it looks good too. The girls’ bare feet dance about, bodies twist and turn, and the hair flow as you jump, dash and splash around. There’s an obvious advantage of the game being the first Senran Kagura designed with PS4 in mind, and it shows. The PC conversion doesn’t offer that many options to fiddle with, but the cel-shaded anime-style graphics look great out of the box anyway.
The action is balanced with water reserves, used obviously for water guns, but also to jet in the air and dash forward. When the water runs out, the gun need to be quickly reloaded – the animation for it looking like jerking off, but I guess that’s the point… There are several types of water guns, from dual pistols to sniper rifles, and from assault rifles to grenade launchers. All water-powered, of course. The girls themselves don’t differ from each other gameplaywise, so it’s all down to the individual decks to custom-build the action preferences. Special abilities include homing missiles, lasers, barriers, buffs for team mates and debuffs against enemy team.
During heated matches, the downed opponents can be humiliated with a squirmy finish for some reluctant strip-tease. All dewy-eyed, the girls squirm under water spatter which can be directed at groins or boobs. When watered enough, the girls’ assets burst irresistibly out of ripped bikini parts. There’s no nudity, though, as the private parts are always covered with a beam of light. I could feel uncomfortable about the squirmy finishes, but at least the player characters are all girls, so there’s no need for #metoo on victims’ part. To save the girls’ dignity, the act of splashing can be targeted at their faces too (oh, I made that sound all wrong!).
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is unashamed fan service for sure, but more importantly it’s a damn good game. Fast-moving and smooth-controlling water tagging action is satisfying and addictive. It’s best played in short bursts, though, as long sessions in a one go can get a bit repetitive. However, there’s so much to play, so many plush girls to play with, and tons of things to unlock and choose from, that you’re most likely coming back to the game for a long time. A few words of warning: PBS is absolutely not for the humorless or uptight persons out there. If you can stand the heat - and take the game as it is - it's unadulterated fun.
Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.