Title: SENRAN KAGURA Peach Ball
Developer: Honey Parade
Publisher: Marvelous (XSEED)
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 16+
Release Date: July 9th 2019
Price: £35.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Pinball, a game whose origins trace themselves back to the 1700s. A game of luck, skill and patience. A game which would suck the coins straight out of your wallet as you sought to beat the latest high-scores. A game that at its core, is family-friendly and fun. Take a stroll through any modern arcade, and you will see numerous pinball machines, all themed after different items of pop culture. Sounds wholesome right? Then there’s Senran Kagura Peach Ball…
The premise of the game is simple, reach a new high score and finish tasks to move onto the next set of tasks and tables until the end. However, nobody is buying Senran Kagura Peach Ball for the pinball action alone. Continuing on the Senran Kagura game series, the Peach Ball is a simple pinball experience with a lot (and I mean a lot) of risqué content.
The game follows the story (that’s right, there’s a story to this pinball game) of the unnamed player character as you assist Haruka to turn her friends Asuka, Yumi, Yomi, Ryona, Murasaki back to normality. This is after they have been changed into animals by a strange substance that Haruka created while bored in work, get the video game award for best story ready. Let’s be honest; the story is not important and is just here to give an excuse for the girls’ antics.
For the controls, it’s precisely what you would expect. The corresponding shoulder buttons control the flippers and shaking the controller acts like shaking the table. During dialogue scenes, you can enable auto-scrolling, skip dialogue or even turn off the text altogether. It’s nothing to write home about, but that’s why it works. Simple controls that ensure getting to grips with the game is as easy as playing a real-life game of pinball should be.
When it comes to pinball games we see in reality; there are always lots of bright lights and distractions from the core gameplay. Senran Kagura Peach Ball is no different. The tables offer a core pinball experience sprinkled with mini-games (called “Sexy Challenges”), dialogue and challenges that are there to do what they can to ensure keeping the ball in play is a lot harder than it should be. I found it so hard to read the dialogue, check the challenges and ensure the ball stays in play; which means the game is achieving its goal and ensuring it’s not a walk in the park for me to reach a high-score.
The aforementioned “Sexy Challenges” are playable when enough of the challenges (a.k.a. “Peach Missions”) have been completed. These can range from hitting rubber ducks, ice cream carts, inflating a balloon, to a whole host of whacky alternatives to the main gameplay. After completing two of these “Sexy Challenges,” the final one presented is called the “Super Sexy Challenge”. This is where Senran Kagura Peach Ball takes pinball to a place, that in this writer’s opinion, it should not go. The final challenge will see the player use the flippers on the table to hit balls at the girls bottom or breasts. It was hard to not burst into laughter the first time this happened, but it quickly grew tiresome. That’s it though, do that five times (once per girl), and you will have completed the story for the first girl you have chosen. Do that all five times, and that’s the game’s story complete.
When it comes to value for money, Senran Kagura Peach Ball does not have it. Not in the slightest. There are a grand total of two tables to play on, and the only differences will be theming. The “Sexy Challenges” can be completed with no skill and blindly mashing the triggers and the final “Super Sexy Challenge” is hilarious the first time you do it, but on the tenth time, it is just a drag. The main story can be completed in a couple of hours, and aside from reaching high scores, there is little replay value. Although the pinball itself was enjoyable, it does not garner the price tag attached to this title.
Now, before I give you my score on this title, you may be wondering why I haven’t discussed the apparent theme of this game. The answer? It goes without saying that this title is not designed for anyone who isn’t a fan of the Senran Kagura franchise. Going into this title blind meant I had no idea what to expect. I was in stitches at the fact there is an entire part of this game dedicated to dressing up the girls in different outfits, spraying them with water and even grabbing and tickling them.
More costumes are unlocked via earning money in-game and spending it in the store, but this is not a part of the game I spent any time on after seeing what it was. The only time this part was ever played was to show people and be able to say “look, they actually put this in a video game”, which leads me to another point, good luck playing this game in public. The sounds an animations are most definitely going to get you some looks if you’re playing this on the bus. It feels as though this game was designed with perversions towards these animé girls first, and the gameplay was an afterthought. The developers knew exactly what market they were going after, and it feels like they hit it.
So in conclusion what is there to say about Senran Kagura Peach Ball aside from it is a pinball game, and it features scantily clad animé girls. The game controls are amazing, and even the graphics are good (for what they are) but it is all downhill from there. Very little content, repetitive mini-games, only two pinball tables and more focus put on playing dress-up than pinball itself; is enough to cause anyone who paid full price for this title to wince. If you’re a fan of Senran Kagura, it could be worth a look, but try and wait for a sale (a big sale).
Rapid Reviews Rating
Senran Kagura Peach Ball can be purchased for the Nintendo Switch at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/SENRAN-KAGURA-Peach-Ball-1581235.html
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.