Review by John Hellier
He’s a pinball wizard, there has to be a twist. The pinball wizard has such a supple wrist…Yeah, I’m pretty confident those lyrics sum things up nicely.
So I’m back on my journey through different genres when I stumble upon (ok, get given to review, but shh, I’m being poetic) this gem of a game. Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is a pinball game set in the Senran Kagura universe, and is brought to us by Marvelous.
Always struck me as a name with a lot of pressure behind it, I mean what if your games were less marvellous but just adequate? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, on with the review. Senran Kagura is a series about scantily clad ninja girls fighting and occasionally going to the beach to shoot each other with water guns. Imagine a game designed to offend feminists and you are close.
Anyway, in a break from the traditional 3rd person action, In Senran Kagura: Peach Ball now we have a pinball game. I can only imagine it was to make a lot of ball jokes, in which case I doff my cap and applaud wholeheartedly. So where was I? Oh yes, a pinball game.
Now I know what you are thinking, how does pinball have anything to do with ninjas? Well don’t you worry, there is a ludicrous plot that connects these two seemingly unconnected genres. Buckle up folks, this ride is about to get twisty.
Basically, the girls have taken a break from ninja studies to relax at the local arcade, where one of the girls from the series works. This girl has created some chemical which turns people into animals, and it is this chemical that infects the 5 girls, turning them into animals.
Well, I say animals, but this is a Japanese game we are talking about, so more of the catgirl thing than an actual cat for instance. No, this is not a contrived reason to have girls with cat and bunny ears parading around in bikinis, this is hard-hitting storytelling… So yeah, the girls become animals (not furries before you start, the term would be nekos…) and it is your job to turn them back into their original forms.
You do this with an antidote that comes in a ball, which needs to be vigorously shaken in order to activate. Now how could you shake up a ball in an arcade?? Needless to say, nobody is here for the plot, which is a pity because the between gameplay segments are pretty good, giving some good chuckles every now and then between trying to convince the girls to come back to the arcade and sit on the pinball table.
There’s not much else to say about it really, you pick your favourite girl out of the 5, and go through the same steps, but with different dialogue, so there is some replayability, albeit the gameplay is the same.
Now about that gameplay. What the hell am I supposed to say about it? It’s pinball! Use the flippers to fire the balls at the various ramps and bumpers to score points, hit certain points to start “missions” (usually hit bumpers or ramps) and build your score.
Once you have built up enough energy, you can activate a mini-game or “sexy challenge” as the game calls them, to build massive points. Do this process 3 times and you activate “super sexy challenge” where you earn even more points by bouncing your balls off of the girl’s chests or butts.
This is in no way suggestive at all people, minds out of the gutter. Anyway, after the ball assault, you finally finish by using the flippers to paddle the girls in order to make the ball release its healing juice…I need a cold shower.
Now here is where I’m torn. Being on the Switch, you can play on the TV, which is harder to hide if your parents/partners/housemates walk in on you, but you are hardly going to play in handheld mode on a bus where a sweet old lady could sit next to you at any moment.
I went with the TV option, but that’s because I have no shame. Now the big question, is Senran Kagura: Peach Ball good? I’d say so, but I have very strange tastes in games. It’s quite nice to play something as simple as pinball once in a while, and the T&A presentation is easy to look past when you are chasing a new high score.
As an added bonus if you like scantily clad anime chicks you are well served here, but you knew that already by the words Senran Kagura…
Overall score -7/10
Anyone buying this physically in a store gets the utmost respect from me, and probably funny looks from the person serving you…