Senran Kagura: Peach Ball Review – Life, Hometown, and Pinball

    Title: Senran Kagura: Peach Ball
    Developer: Honey Parade Games
    Release Date: July 9, 2019
    Reviewed On: Switch
    Publisher: XSEED
    Genre: Lewd Pinball

I’m put in a tough position when attempting to review spin-offs titles from the already off the rails Senran Kagura series. As a fan of the source material, I’m always up to trying new things from the developer, in whatever form that may be. It just so happens that developer Honey Parade Games has decided to tackle a new sub-genre all together in their sexy pinball game Senran Kagura: Peach Ball.

While Senran Kagura: Peach Ball contains some of Senran Kagura’s core systems, it is a totally new venture for the cast of characters as they are placed in what seems to be the most revealing and sexually charged scenarios in the series. What emerges from all this lewd and juvenile behavior is a silly game that has a few bumps and tilts, but would definitely eat up all of my quarters if it were real.

Senran Kagura: Peach Ball features five characters from the Senran Kagura series, Asuka, Yumi, Yomi, Ryona, and Murasaki. Each character has their own individual story and they play out in generally the same way. However, I should add that while the end goal of each story is the same, each character has their own unique scenario for their story so you won’t just be playing through the same events for each character. In Senran Kagura: Peach Ball, Haruka has somehow changed the characters into animal versions of themselves.

Well, okay, there is an actual plot to this game, but does it really matter here? Sure, there are a few touching moments where the characters interact with the player through dialogue while breaking some kind of “fourth wall”, but eventually, we’re only here for one thing: Cute girls who we can harass in a pretty outrageous manner. I will say that the story, as bonkers as it is, is a joy to experience and provides plenty of funny moments shared between the cast of characters.

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So let’s get to the gameplay. Basically, the only way to cure these girls of their animal-likenesses is by pounding away at them in a life-size game of pinball. Evidently, the pinball has the power to cure the girls of their new forms through various pinball-related mini-games. Sadly, the game only features a few main pinball boards which, throughout the course of every story, do become a bit repetitive. With that said, this game isn’t really lacking in content due to how it makes the player feel like they are succeeding by acquiring points and progressing through the level.

There are three different stages to each level and they are separated by “Sexy Challenges”. To get to these milestones, players need to clear small goals like hit a high score or knock out a number of enemies within a certain amount of time. Interestingly, this all feels pretty satisfying overall and I never actually got bored of it. While some of this could be attributed to the fact that there’s a half naked cat or dog girl in front of me, I’d like to think that the entertainment factor of getting a high score and pulling off some clever tilts and bumps during gameplay played a part in why I stuck around until the end.

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Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is everything but straight forward, there are plenty of secrets to discover and unlock on the board that takes time to figure out. With that said, there’s nothing really like pulling off multiple Fever Modes in a row and racking up millions of points in the process. Similar to the regular gameplay, there are also some unique little mini-games to discover in the later parts of the game that require some skill to complete and trigger a special animation with the girl.

What might set some players back is the semi-awkward response time of the pinball machine’s flippers and the controller. Sure, the game plays well using the Switch’s Joy-Con, but there’s something off about the physics in the game, and where the ball goes after it is hit. This gets easier to manage the more you play, but I didn’t like how the camera follows the ball when I’d much rather it show the whole board. I should also add that I liked the game’s difficulty at times since it does add some challenge to the game. However, I just didn’t like when the challenge came from something awkward that the ball did, but alas, maybe I just suck at pinball, or maybe it was the girl dressed up like a bear that distracted me, who knows?

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Visually, Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is really nice to look at. The girls are cute, and the illustrations are vivid, what more could you ask for in a game like this? Sadly, there aren’t many environmental CGs, but the player does unlock new illustrations after completing each of the girl’s story. Furthermore, the game has some incentives for those who complete all the stories in terms of unlockable content and money to purchase new items.

Returning to the game are staples in the Senran Kagura series such as an Intimacy Mode and Diarama Mode. These features allow players to interact with the girls in a more interactive way which never seems to get old. Also, the music is quite good in this game and goes well with all of the game’s pinballs sound effects and squeals from the girls.

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Is Senran Kagura: Peach Ball a good game? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to get a deep and immersive Senran Kagura brawler experience from this game, then you should probably look elsewhere. But if you’re trying to hang out with some cute girls and play some pinball, then you found the right game to do so. There are plenty of reasons to stick around until the end of the game, but most of them have to do with hitting balls against life and hometown.

Senran Kagura: Peach Ball does a great job at providing a zany experience for fans of the series. However, I would have enjoyed more interactive boards and similar things in the game to keep it feeling fresh over the course of its several stories. It’s also a real bummer that Hibari isn’t in this game, but I won’t let the exclusion of my own personal best girl affect this review.

Score:
7.8/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.