Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash appears to be about big boobs and butts, and, make no mistake, they are put in your face gratuitously. The boobs are bigger than king size pillows, and the butts would make Kim Kardashian jealous.
However, if you can dig beneath the lewd jokes and jiggle physics, there is a decent game here with multiple stories, a variety of battle arenas, plenty of characters to customize, and a strategic approach to weapons and upgrades.
Even the game says it is best when you are not taking it too seriously. If you are a little stiff and really uptight, cover your sensitive eyes, because this review will be really, really immature. Everyone else can come along on a trip to the beach.
The story for Senran Kagura is as flimsy as the dental floss bathing suits that cover the character’s massive melons. All of the shinobi from Hanzo, Hebijo, Homura, and Gessen are magically transported to the Peach Beach Splash to participate in an ancient tournament. They cannot use any weapons except the water guns, and they must wear bikinis. If you are an anime fan, it is basically the beach trip episode of 99% of all anime ever made.
There are two hosts, and they give the girls an explanation (saving the true purpose until the end). After a few training matches to help you understand the controls, you can pick from the four different schools and play a ten mission campaign to win it all. All four are different, and they help to explain the motivations of the girls. It is nice to have a small narrative arc within each one, but do not expect anything very deep.
There is also a Paradise Episodes mode which will give you smaller narratives over five missions each. There are no animated cutscenes for these modes like in the campaigns. The text will appear over a static image. I liked the campaign better, but the variety was nice.
The V-Mode Challenge will let you pick your favorite five girls from any team and use them to win the tournament in four different cups.
As hard as it may be to believe, the gameplay is the real draw for Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash. Each round has specific goals for you to accomplish in order to win, from destroying all the enemies in a level to stopping members of an opposing team, and some of them are timed. There are three levels of difficulty, and higher levels provide a little more challenge.
There are multiple arenas combining wide open spaces and smaller chokepoints. There is also an element of verticality with some areas having as many as three different heights. This is because every ample-bosomed contender has been outfitted with a water jet. They let you dash forward quickly on the ground and in the air, and you can use them to reach higher places in every level.
Water drives everything in the game from the jets to the guns, and the strategy for both is that using one depletes the ammo for another. If you are using the jets to blast you from one end of the arena to the other, you may not have any ammo for your gun when you get there. You can also quickly escape a sticky situation after being surrounded by a group of enemies.
If you can overcome and dominate someone by running down their health, they will lie on the floor of the arena for a bit until they disappear. If they are a teammate, you can revive them and get them back into the squirt gun combat orgy.
If they are on the opposite team, you can perform a Squishy Finish. This will allow you to target their face, chest, or butt and squirt water from a rubber ducky for more points. Eventually, you can also blow their bikini top or bottom off. Any nudity is covered by white, and, outside the infrequent strong language and intimacy option, this is probably the only reason this game has an M rating.
The guns have separate stats, and it makes sense. A missile launcher is going to use more water and fire more slowly than a pistol, but it is going smack the butt of whomever it hits with much more force. There is usually an alternate fire mode for every gun. With the shotgun (my personal favorite), I could alternate between the typical shotgun blast or a multi-round blast that would ricochet homing bullets of water all over the other girls.
Reload times can also make a big difference. The gatling gun is a wonderful weapon with enough ammo and range to take on many smaller enemies quickly. The trade is that it will take longer to reload than the less powerful, close-action shotgun, and you move much more slowly when trying to reload. There is a great balance to the mechanics, and it can be tough to decide if you should spend another second reloading, firing, or jetting away quickly.
Since you cannot use your shinobi arts, there are special abilities and perks you can utilize for a little more strategy. You can put up a shield in the middle of battle, have a little floating puppet fire at your enemies, or lessen the damage you receive. All of them take different time to charge, and you can pick and choose from different strengths and weakness to tailor to your defensive deck.
All of the guns, abilities, and even characters are upgradable with the card packs you receive at the end of each match. With each duplicate card being assigned a certain point value, you can increase the damage of a gun or ability, or you can upgrade your favorite character’s health for increased stamina to keep going when the action gets hot and heavy.
Tired of only playing with yourself? Ranked and Free matches are available in 3v3 or 5v5 multiplayer. Co-op Survival can also put you and a partner against waves of enemies. You can tailor the style of the game with many options, so you are sure to be satisfied.
After playing a mission, you can replay it with one of over 30 different characters. The initial roster provides you with the opportunity to pick from your favorites from the series with tropes such as the shy girl, the aggressive tsundere, and everything in between with a variety of heights and body shapes. As I played more of the game, I was able to unlock additional characters.
The customization options extend to the characters as well. The Diorama and Dress Up modes let you change the outfits, hair color, eyes, mouth, and pose of any of the girls. Any new items, illustrations, and even anime intro movies and music can be purchased in the store with the Zeni points you earn from the match.
The only thing that felt really out of place was Intimacy. That is not an admission to my therapist. This was where I could select a girl to look at from any angle and touch, which would raise a heart meter. If you increase it to the max, you can even kiss one of them. I do not want to be a Judgy Jason, but, just like a lot of your real-life experiences, the girl does not appear to enjoy it as much as you do. It was a little off-putting and uncomfortable.
The visuals and music are anime-inspired with two animated sequences at the beginning to really setup the story. One of them is actually a choreographed musical number that fits in perfectly. The rest of the music is poppy and electronic, and I have been humming the main theme even outside the game.
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash is a light-hearted and goofy trip to the beach for a water fight with anime girls. Do not let the T ‘n’ A focus of the visuals confuse you into thinking it is nothing but an ogling simulator. The overall design has plenty of titillation, but it is an actual game with more depth than you might expect. If you are an anime fan or especially a Senran Kagura fan, there is plenty here to enjoy. For everyone else, it may be too much to swallow.
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash PS4 Review
Overall - Good - 6.8/10
Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash takes the Senran Kagura characters and puts them in skimpy bikinis for a water fight tournament. Despite the jokes and enough Jello boob jiggle to make you question the laws of gravity, the game offers plenty of depth with a huge roster of characters, strategic choices in weapons, and plenty of upgradable options to keep you playing.
If you like anime or Senran Kagura and do not take the game too seriously, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash may be the perfect thing to heat up your summer gaming.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.