Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash is a surprisingly fun team-based shooter that, sometimes exceedingly, embraces fanservice in a way that few games do in this oversensitive industry. While the gameplay may get tiresome towards the end, Peach Beach Splash is an overall fun ride with a spectacular amount of customization and collectibles.
Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash
Monstervine was supplied with a PS4 Code for review.
My introduction to Senran Kagura was through an interview with series producer Name Takaki at E3. I didn’t know what it was, so when I watched footage during the interview of a bunch of anime girls shooting each others’ clothes off in water-gun fights, I was understandably speechless. Such a blatantly sexual game, developed by a decent-sized company like XSeed, seemed as though it could never exist in today’s industry. And while I’m not entirely sure on my thoughts towards some of the more ridiculous aspects of the game, I greatly respect the developer’s fearlessness in putting out a game like Peach Beach Splash.
Seemingly serving as a prequel (or maybe a midquel) that leads into Senran Kagura 7, Peach Beach Splash revolves around a large group of female ninjas who find themselves trapped in paradise: an island with beaches, water-parks, and gorgeous weather. To keep a demonic entity sealed away, the shinobi have to battle one another using water guns, as this builds energy to power the seal. It seems like there’s something more ominous going on, as the two competition hosts that are livestreaming this water fight are obviously hiding their true motives. It’s an incredibly silly story that never takes itself too seriously, and is full of self-aware jabs that make fun of the many tropes present in Peach Beach Splash.
The characters are all embodiments of different tropes, which compliments the snarky self-awareness of the plot. Whether you’re into the shy and high-pitched anime girls, or the brash and deeper-voiced tsunderes, every cliché is on display, and while certain characters will likely get on your nerves due to how over-the-top each member of the cast is, you’ll find them to overall enjoyable for the majority of the campaign.
The gameplay is the most surprising part of Peach Beach Splash, in that it’s actually pretty fun, partially thanks to its surprisingly deep equipment system. You play as one of up to five characters on a team, armed with water guns, cards, and a jetpack that runs on water. You’ll typically be playing team deathmatches, with some horde fights and fire-dowsing mixed in. The horde fights, where you fight a large number of different enemy types, is alright, but the fire-fighting missions are a slog. You’ll run around a large map to find fires to put out while using a less-than accurate mini-map. All the while, you’re fighting randomly placed mobs of enemies. It’s longer than necessary and pretty boring, but luckily these missions show up infrequently.
The team deathmatch mode is where most of the fun is, and it makes up a good chunk of the story and missions. With your team (or by yourself against a single foe), you have to spray water at the opposing team until their health runs out. You can speed around or fly temporarily using your jetpack, though these actions use up water. You’ll have to pump your water gun, in a comically sexual way, after flying or shooting too much, as you’ll run out before long depending on the gun. There’s no limit on water though, so there’s no need to worry about preserving ammo. Once an enemy is down you can finish them off by spraying their swimsuits off, really. The fastest way to make sure an enemy isn’t revived is to shoot their bikini until it flies off and only a convenient ray of light covers them. I can’t really think of any words to describe my thoughts on this because I don’t think I have fully processed that you can shoot the clothes off of anime girls in a video game. We live in a weird world. The gameplay does wear thin eventually though, as the story mode is comprised of four campaigns, each made up of ten missions, followed by a 14 mission final chapter. It’s simply a lot to play through without much variety, so it’s best played in spurts.
The real depth comes from the card system, which is Peach Beach Splash’s substitute for traits or skills. Each card has a unique skill, attack, or buff embedded in it. Cards are obtained through booster packs that you unlock after missions or by buying them with in-game currency at the shop. You have a set number of cards you can equip, which will rotate as you use them throughout the match, each with their own unique artwork that typically involves a character with an emphasis on their large breasts (if this is shocking to you at this point, this is likely not the game for you). The amount of cards to collect is impressive, and playing around with different boosts and abilities is a lot of fun. Finding the combos that work best for you is a lot of fun and adds a pleasant sense of customization to the game.
In terms of fanservice, not only is team death-match full of it, but there’s actually an entire mode dedicated to it. In the Dressing Room, you can customize your characters with a frankly impressive amount of accessories. These range from school uniforms to pirate hats and Oni masks. If that’s not your thing, there’s intimacy mode. In this mode, two gloved hands appear and lets you get titularly intimate with any of the playable characters. This includes, I kid you not, squeezing, fondling, and spanking different parts of their body in order to raise their intimacy meter. Once it’s full, you can grab their hand, and they’ll give you a kiss. I am again at a loss for words, but I’ll say that intimacy mode is a bit much. While I can again acknowledge just how fearless the devs are, I think groping and what not is a bit off-putting. There’s something eerie about being able to physically play with a character in this way, even if I laughed at how insane the concept was at first. Japan’s a different place though, so that may just be me talking from my part of the world.
The visuals of Peach Beach Splash are strong, with a tried-and-true anime style that wouldn’t be out of place with most visual novels or shoujo anime. The environments glow with the comforting warmth of summer, while the colors of the water park levels pop and mix nicely with the relaxing but hectic summer atmosphere. The anime cutscenes at the beginning and end of the story are gorgeous looking as well, which further adds to the anime aesthetic.
Peach Beach Splash has quite a fun soundtrack, full of uppity J-pop songs and excited summer jams that make you ready to take on the hordes of anime girls in front of you in aquatic combat. The voice acting is well-done, with the more enthusiastic characters standing out the most. Mr K in particular has some fantastic B-movie level screams of joy that really make this feel like a crazy beach contest.
The Final Word
Peach Beach Splash is a fun team-based shooter that completely embraces its love of fanservice. While the gameplay can become tired after long play sessions, and there are a couple bits of fanservice that feel like too much to me, I applaud XSeed for brazenly putting out a game that can flip off censors while still being an overall fun time.
MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair