A videogame hybrid of a wet t-shirt contest and a third person multiplayer shooter, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is a summer-themed game in a franchise that – by definition – best fits with the warm season when you consider how its protagonists are dressed. For this review, we played the game on a PS4.
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is a bit more silly than the average Senran Kagura title, as it doesn’t feature the Samurai-style sword combat seen in most of the previous titles. Instead, a variety of super soakers are your weapons of choice.
Instead of resorting to just jumping into the “let’s spray scarcely dressed girls with water” portion, the game also features a plot. In it, there’s a tournament that’s been held since ancient times and it features participants from various ninja clans. That sounds like the plot to Mortal Kombat or Tekken, but there’s a twist. The ninjas aren’t allowed to use any of their ninja skills, and instead of swords they’ll be battling it out with water guns. Alright, so it’s like spring break for female ninjas.
In between the combat levels, there are story interactions that build on the central premise, but most of the dialogue revolves around mindless fun and subtle and not-so-subtle sexual innuendos. There are also plenty of interactions between ninjas from the different clans, as well as references to previous games in the series that fans will no doubt recognize and appreciate. That doesn’t make this a game you should play for the story though.
The bulk of the game consists of third person shooting action, which is a little deeper than you’d expect when you consider the plot. Different guns have different capabilities, with a regular gun not being quite as powerful but also not using up as much water. There’s a shower gun, a water balloon launcher and even a sniper rifle – and they all act differently. Every gun also has a modifier, and for the water balloon gun this means the difference between having a balloon explode on impact or being able to bounce it off surfaces.
Knocking down another ninja means you can “finish her off”, which in the context of a Senran Kagura game means that you can spray her with water from up close to try and wash away the few clothes she was wearing to begin with. Yes, the developers didn’t forget what Senran Kagura fans want from their games, and that it’s not just innocent water fights.
Adding further depth to the gameplay is a card deck system that grants you (temporary) boosts in-game. These can include health or attack benefits, but also the ability to summon additional characters to better your odds of winning. Completing levels grants you cards, and more can be bought in the in-game store (which also sells cosmetic extras in the shape of different clothes). Completing levels at higher difficulty levels grants higher rewards, so it pays to look for a challenge.
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash definitely isn’t short on game modes, with single and multiplayer modes both accounted for, the latter which can be either coop or competitive. There’s also a somewhat creepy locker room mode with plenty of interactivity, which I’ll leave to your imagination.
This is of course a game that will appeal mostly to existing Senran Kagura fans. Even though the developers didn’t take the easy route and actually built a few fairly compelling gameplay dynamics into the title, it won’t win over anyone who doesn’t see the appeal of the Senran Kagura brand. If you’re a Senran Kagura follower already, then this is a solid new title that dares to be different than the previous titles and succeeds at it.