SENRAN KAGURA: PEACH BALL Review: Sexy Pinball?

I am a big fan of pinball games, especially ones I can play on the go. To date, some of my favorites have been Pokemon Pinball Ruby and Sapphire for Gameboy Advance and Metroid Prime Pinball for the Nintendo DS. When I heard that the odd Senran Kagura franchise was entering the world of pinball my initial reaction was a bit of shock. After all, how does one go about sexifying pinball? Interestingly enough there is a semi-decent pinball experience to be had here if you don’t mind the over the top anime boobs plastered over the table. Or maybe that will be an enhancement for some?

Story

Review copy provided by XSEED

Review copy provided by XSEED

Haruka has been working part-time at the Honey Arcade where a big gaming tournament is happening. The arcade isn’t always this busy so in the downtime, Haruka has been working on a new serum called Beastall that turns whoever touches it into an animal. Mistaking this serum for soap Ryona gets turned into a dog and begins spreading the effects of the serum to the rest of the ninjas in the arcade. Haruka was prepared for such an outbreak and had simultaneously developed the Peach Ball which can restore the girls to their true form. The Peach Ball has to be resonating at a certain frequency to activate so the girls must be lured onto a life-sized pinball machine in order for the cure to be administered.

Gameplay

Well, that plot is sure absurd! Why would you leave such a dangerous serum out in a bathroom of a public location? Regardless of the absurd plot, Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is a pinball game. There is a story mode that has players select one of the 5 available ninjas who must then go out and lure the other 4 girls onto the pinball table in an attempt to restore them to normal. You can play through the game as each one of the girls but there isn’t too much variation on what happens. Watch a scene play out then play some pinball. For the most part I found myself skipping these scenes as I have no investment in the Senran Kagura lore and found the characters interactions a little annoying. 

Again, the pinball portion of the game is decent. There are 2 different types of Peach Balls to choose from with a lighter and heavier version being available. Neither seems to do much outside of effect the rumble on your controller which is an interesting touch I suppose. The physics on these balls aren’t very realistic but that's ok considering how over the top the rest of the game is it kinda fits in. Once the game begins you will be greeted with tons of tutorials that explain the mechanics and objectives of the game. Pretty helpful stuff for anyone looking to really rack up some high scores. 

On the right side of the screen is an objective list that will both track progress till the girl is restored to her original form and list missions for you to try and complete. Objectives can range from knocking over the girl on the table a certain number of times to getting the Peach Ball to certain areas on the table to activate things. By finishing these objectives you will not only get more points but can also potentially get a special bonus like a x3 multiplier to score for a limited amount of time. 

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 Overall the objective of the game is to rack up a ton of points to activate an event called “Sexy Time” that will restore the girls to their original forms. You will need to activate this mode 3 times, with the final time being dubbed “Super Sexy Time,” to restore each girl. Each “Sexy Time” mode is basically a target practice mode of sorts where you are trying to hit specific targets from rubber ducks, spinning tops, ice cream trucks to the girl's breasts or butt. Yeah, be prepared for lots of sexualized hits like this as one of the best ways to get into “Sexy Time” is to knock the girl off balance and deliver hits to her body repeatedly. Using the right or left thumbstick can further help position things in your favor as it serves as a way to shake the table resulting in the girl losing her balance for easier hits.

There are other modes available in Senran Kagura: Peach Ball such as a diorama mode where you can dress up and pose each character any way you see fit. You can also make characters bigger which was a funny sight to see. The other mode available is an intimacy mode where you can basically fondle any of the characters as you want. Yeah, its an odd one for sure but I am sure there will be plenty out there who appreciate it more than I do. 

Visuals

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There is a ton that can happen on screen at one time with loads of effects and bright colors. Performance is also very solid to my eyes. There can be aliasing in various areas but considering it is a Switch title this doesn’t really surprise me.

Replayablity

There really isn’t much included here to keep you invested for long. Outside of the modes I listed above there is also a free play mode where you can select a girl and just play on one of the 2 available tables. The free mode doesn’t play any differently than the story so I tended to just do that instead. After each table completion, you earn cash that can be spent to unlock more outfits and accessories so some time can be spent doing that. 

What It Could Have Done Better

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The biggest issue with Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is a lack of variety. There are only 2 different tables to play for everything in the game. There are different times of day that each table can be played at but that doesn’t really change much. for a decent pinball game this really hurts it.

Verdict

Despite the over the top sexualization, there is a decent game of pinball hidden underneath. Unfortunately, the variety is super low and after playing a few rounds there isn’t much more to do. For fans of the Senran Kagura franchise, the extra character interactions and lore will probably be an interesting draw. I am sure anyone looking for sexy anime boobs will also be pleased with the games alternate features. For everyone else there just isn’t enough in Senran Kagura: Peach Ball to really justify the $40 price tag.

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