Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash is a third person action shooter developed by Tamsoft (through Honey Parade Games) and published by Marvelous and XSEED Games. It is a PS4 exclusive and the second Senran Kagura game on that system. It follows the events in last years Senran Kagura: Estival Versus but is more of a spin-off than part of the Versus series. It is rated M for Mature.
Peach Beach Splash finds the girls of the Senran Kagura series transported to a mysterious island. There, they are greeted by two familiar-looking hosts, Ms R and Mister K (Hebijo/Crimson Squad master Rin and Hanzo instructor Kiriya in disguise). They tell the girls they are to participate in an ancient Shinobi tradition: a water gun tournament called Peach Beach Splash, or PBS. The winners will receive whatever they wish for. All four groups agree to participate to find out the real purpose of PBS, and why Rin and Kiriya are wearing those ridiculous outfits.
The roster for the game is robust. It includes all the girls from the four schools (Hanzo, Gessen, Hebijo, and Homura’s Crimson Squad. Ayame, the shop girl playable as DLC in the last game, also joins the Hanzo Squad. Rin can be unlocked as well as Daidoji, along with the Mikagura sisters, Ryoki, and Jasmine from Estival Versus. Former DLC characters Naraku and Kagura are also unlockable in the main game. Also include right off the bat are characters from the Japan-only mobile phone game, Senran Kagura :New Wave: Souji, Leo and Yuyaki.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You control a character a group of up to six girls and battle groups of grunts, robots and other teams using water guns. The water guns come in a variety of styles, such as pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, gatling guns,water bazookas, water grenade launchers and shower heads. Each weapon has its strength and drawbacks, like range, strength, clip size and reload times.
Unlike the Versus series and the 3DS Senran Kagura games, there is no shinobi transformation or magic. Instead, you get special abilities from cards you collect by winning battles. You equip the cards in your character and activate them in battle using the D-Pad These cards can affect your character’s stats, such as health, accuracy and clip size. They can also activate a special attack, like flames, lightning or poison that will affect you enemy. Other cards that can be earned are weapons. Each Faction has their own effect cards with their girls on them. Sometimes you will get higher ranking cards, depending on how well you did, the level you played or the difficulty. You only need one type of each card however and you will get a lot of doubles.
The doubles have a purpose, however. You can trade them in for points to level up you cards, weapons of you characters. Each card gives you a certain amount of experience points, depending on the rarity of the card (From Common to Ultra Rare). You can use the points to upgrade your favourite girl to give her an edge in battle.
As you beat the other girls in the game, you get an opportunity to initiate the Splash Mode. Using a rubber duck squirt gun you target the fallen girl’s head chest or butt to humiliate them. Score enough before the time runs out and her top or bottom will pop off. Of course, lights protect their modesty. Note that, no matter the outfit the character was wearing, they revert to the default white bikini for this mode.
The single player mode have three options. You have the main story, Single Splash, which follows the PBS storyline: Paradise Episodes, which you unlock through playing the main game, featuring one or multiple characters in a five level arc; and the V-Road Challenge, which you battle different teams to win the tournament. There is multiplayer, which has Co-Op survival, , Ranked matches for the online ranking system and free matches in which the host can set the rules.
Like the other Senran Kagura games, you have a shop and a dressing rooms to explore. The Shop have various hairstyles, outfits and card packs, amongst other things, for you to buy. New items are unlocked by playing through the various modes of the game. The Dressing room is where you can customize the girls’ outfits. All the default costumes are white, two piece swim suits but you can change it to their individual swimsuits from Estival Versus. You can also dress them in their school uniforms and shinobi outfits along with outfits that you buy. These outfits get shredded as you take damage in the game, like in the regular games. There are also outfits that become transparent as you get them wet. The default one is a t-shirt over a bikini and other one can be bought at the store. There are also accessories as in the other games to be used or bought. No balloons, though that may be DLC.
Of course, the popular Diorama mode comes back, with various settings and poses available to create your perfect scene. Outfits can be set to be ripped or wet, depending on the outfit. You can also adjust the characters head position and even their size. The pervy mode is back too, now in a separate section called Intimate Mode. You can look at, rotate and zoom in on your chosen girl. You can also grab them, poke them and do really…unacceptable-in-polite-society things to them, which, for some reason, increases their Like meter and enables you to go in for a kiss. You can also get a good look at the wet cloth physics by spraying the girls with water to get wet drenched. You can even change the colour of the water by buying different duck guns in the store. I didn’t see a yellow colour, thank God…
There is actually a story in all of this, but it is not as deep as Estival Versus. During the story for each faction, the girls deal with a conflict with in the group such as Ikaruga realizing graduation will mean leaving her friends and Murasaki getting jealous when her sister, Imu, pays more attention to Miyabi. The story is fine, but not deep enough to balance out Katsuragi’s groping obsession and Ryona and Ryobi’s…interesting family dynamic. But, it is what you would expect from a Senran Kagura game.
The thing you expect is fan service and PBS has that in spades. In fact, the game is built around the wet cloths physics that was created for Estival Versus. The outfits combined with either the ripping or the see-thru when wet mechanics is definitely front and center. I will state that I like this series because it is a little naughty. My complaint that I have with the other Senran Kagura games still stands with this one: some of the girls look too young. Mirai is the one I most have a problem with, though her default bathing suit is modest. But, with the Splash mode, she is on a two piece like the other girls. At least the girls are not hacking each other and fighting with swords, knifes and guns. Well, they do use water guns , but at leat they aren’t trying to kill each other.
There is a lot of DLC coming out for this game. This comes in the form of new outfits, weapons, accessories and cards. In fact, the FIrst Week DLC bundle cost over $73 Canadian. The DLC most are interested in though, are the guest characters. In Japan, they got Ayane, Honoka and Marie Rose from Dead or Alive Xtreme 3, Ikki Tousen, with Sonsaku, Kan’u, Ryofu and, my favourite, Ryomu, and Super Sonico, the busty, pink-haired girl from the anime, Super Sonico and the game Communication With Sonico. No North American Release datehas been confirmed, but if the Ikki Tousen girls come over, they will probably have their Chinese names. Super Sonico may have an issue depending on the publishing rights Nitro+ has with JAST USA.
Overall, this is a fun game. It is nice to see a new game in the series come out so soon after the last one and even better that the localization was fast enough to have a worldwide release within six month of the Japanese release. With a remake of Senran Kagura Burst coming for the PS4 in 2018, Peach Beach Splash will tide us over until the eventual English release. It is good to see the series thriving after six years. It might be a few more years until the next chapter in theses girls’ story, but it will be interesting to see what direction they will take.