Title: Kandagawa Jet Girls
Developer: Honey∞Parade Games
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: XSEED Games
As a fan of the Senran Kagura series, I was pretty eager to see what the developer would come up with next. Honey∞Parade Games, known for pushing the boundaries of sexualization and over-the-top storytelling, have delivered a toned-down experience in their newest title, Kandagawa Jet Girls. Lacking most of what fans may love about these types of games, leaves us with nothing but a poorly developed racing title.
Kandagawa Jet Girls allows players the chance to play through seven campaigns focusing on an individual team across 12 missions. For the most part, the first campaign available stars Rin and Misa, and mostly follows the anime as the two aim to win the Kandagawa Cup. The more interesting moments of storytelling will be found in the other campaigns as you learn more about these other teams and their personalities. If you don’t feel like you care about the story, then you’ll probably be a little disappointed with the other elements this game has to offer.
The writing is excellent for what it is, and the character animations make the story segments easier to pay attention to. Still, nothing really had me busting out laughing or kept me invested in this narrative. I even watched the anime to understand these characters more, but the tone is focused mostly on determination, which ends up getting old after the first four chapters.
Each chapter has the player’s team interact with another team, and then they’ll race. The racing takes place across eight different courses. Sadly, it’s really tough to actually tell if you are playing through a different course or not because they all pretty much look the same. These courses include obstacles, but after the first three races, you would have seen everything they have to offer.
It’s all just so incredibly basic, and I found myself in first place during every single race of the campaign. I was so far ahead of my opponents that I rarely had to use items or even try. It became the worst part of the entire experience. Some campaigns get a little more challenging, but they should have all been scaled to ramp up in difficulty.
The strange part about this is that you’re allowed to upgrade your Jetski, but why would you when your starter Jetski is good enough to win every single race? These options would have been great if I had to actually use them, but there was no reason to even go to the garage.
For those who find themselves enjoying Kandagawa Jet Girls, this game has a lot of unlockable content. Each race has special challenges to complete that unlock costumes and other items for completing all of them. Additionally, players can earn points after races to purchase upgrades and costumes at the store.
However, I wouldn’t use the campaign as a way to earn enough points to buy expensive items. Strangely, the developers included mini-games that earn points incredibly fast. So much so that you can probably buy everything after a few good playthroughs of the washing mini-game on hard mode. It just makes it incredibly strange why you even earn points in the campaign when the mini-games negate that slow grind.
Kandagawa Jet Girls’ racing segments don’t ever become too much fun. The Jetskis will hit a top MPH and then just stay there until you turn, it’s like the max is the max, and you will never go above that no matter how much you try. Even the boost has a max that it will hit and just stop. This makes the racing feel clunky.
One glaring omission is that character’s clothes don’t explode after shooting them. It’s one of the most prominent elements of any Senran title, as well as the Kandagawa Jet Girls anime. Shooting opponents will stale them, and then they get back to racing. Again, the racing is just not fun, and you have to actively try to be bad at a race to get the chance to shoot another character.
Graphically, Kandagawa Jet Girls is fine. I enjoyed the character animations and the colorful aesthetic of the presentation. Still, it’s not going to blow anyone away, and you’re going to be left seeing the same scenes over and over.
Where Kandagawa Jet Girls is found in its notable lack of fanservice, there’s no diorama mode, there’s no character interaction, and there’s nothing to do outside of the lousy racing segments. Sure, you can play mini-games, but those will get old fast. It just comes off as if the developer is on a leash and not able to make what they want. You aren’t having fun because they weren’t having fun, and that’s true during each moment of gameplay.
Kandagawa Jet Girls is not a good racing game, it’s not even a good fanservice game. Nothing from the developer’s previous works can be found here, and we are left with a dull and uninteresting experience. The quality animations and unlockable content can’t save this game, which makes me wonder why it was localized at all.
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