The Senran Kagura games are quite a curious bunch.
Mostly fighting games, their main aim is to seemingly titillate players with heaving bossoms and strangely destructible clothes, but they have a penchant for extended periods of inane chatter that quite simply get in the way of the fun. The newest release in the series does away with much of that, however. Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash knows what the players want, and it isn’t afraid to give it to them after only a minimal amount of foreplay.
Breaking away from the violent action of the majority of its predecessors, Peach Beach Splash is all about having fun with water pistols. If you can call them that anyway. I mean, I’m not up to date with my water sports but I’ve never seen a water bazooka before. Or a water grenade launcher for that matter. In any case, Peach Beach Splash cuts the crap by not only featuring much less unnecessary dialogue, but also by stripping each and every one of its female cast of characters down to their undies from the outset. No need to whack clothing until it drops off here.
Played from a third-person perspective, players engage in team-based water pistol fights across numerous maps, and I have to say, it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The controls are responsive and the visuals are bold, colourful and aesthetically pleasing. It terms of production it feels like a step up from previous Senran Kagura games, making it a game that not only titillates but is also – gasp – enjoyable to play for extended periods.
While I’d primarily consider Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash to be a single-player game thanks to its multi-chapter story mode and additional side missions, those who do want to engage in some risque third-person shooter action with friends can do so by taking the action online. It’s not going to drag players away from the likes of Uncharted 4 or Call of Duty, but those who do dive in will find an enjoyably robust online experience like no other.
Adding some longevity to proceedings is a card-based loadout and upgrade system, enabling you to customise your decks with specific weapons, pets and skills to define your play style. Obtaining new cards gives you more options, while duplicates are added to your spares pile and be exchanged for experience points to boost the level of the cards you do actually use. It’s a simple system but it works, allowing you to develop your favourite characters over time.
While you don’t get to witness skirts and blouses being inexplicably torn to pieces in Peach Beach Splash, you can still humiliate your opponents with what the game calls Squirmy Finishers. Get any of the girls soaking wet in a battle until they can take no more and they’ll fall to the floor, ready for you to have your wicked way with them. If you then get in close and activate your Squirmy Finisher you can spray them in first person, embarrassing them by perhaps blasting their bikini top off. Don’t worry though, shining bright lights protect the girls’ modesty as if god himself is looking after them.
I have to admit, I was rather dubious about Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash before getting hands-on with it. I thought it would be piss-poor third-person shooter mechanics mixed with tut-worthy innuendo and extended bouts of yawn-inducing narrative, but I was wrong on perhaps two of those assumptions. Going full-on in terms of comedy, the narrative is actually fun throughout and there isn’t enough of it to detract from the gameplay, which is also better than expected.
Peach Beach Splash‘s third-person shooting is hardly going to have the likes of Gears of War running for cover, but it does provide enough thrills and spills to entertain. You’ll empty your load before furiously pumping away to replenish it, making use of shields and skills to protect you from harm and turn the tides of battle. And while every battle effectively comes down to soaking the opposition, there’s a good enough mixture of scenarios to keep the action feeling relatively fresh.
So, even though summer is pretty much over, if you want to keep that carefree sun-loving feeling going for just a little while longer, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash may just be the key. It’s got the sun, it’s got the babes, it’s got the bikinis and it’s got the water guns. Plus, it’s got innuendo by the bucketload. All that, and you won’t have to get sand in any of your crevices. Because let’s face it, no one likes sand in their crevices.