Capsule Review: Kandagawa Jet Girls

A water racing game with busty schoolgirls and monotonous gameplay.

A jet machine watercraft racing game starring busty schoolgirls. The structure and trappings are very similar to the developer’s more-prominent Senran Kagura franchise with the clothing-destroying ninja battles replaced by water races. While there’s nothing wrong with this in theory and the presentation and side aspects of unlocking more clothing items and dressing up the girls (and now also their jet machines) are as polished as you’d expect given how many games they’ve now made with that approach, the core gameplay suffers even worse than it did the last time it was swapped out.

The main problem is that racing is dull, due to a near-complete lack of interaction with other racers. I played seven or eight full races and not only did I easily win all of them, I was never in any danger of being overtaken by the AI opponents. I spent the entirety of each race far in the lead to the point where the other racers may as well not have been there at all. (Normally you upgrade your jet machine as you progress through the game; I did see someone online claim that if you simply don’t do this the late-game races actually provide some challenge. I did not test this claim.)

There are also weapon pickups like in Mario Kart, but they are far less interesting and varied than those found in that series. For some reason, the game simply reuses the water guns from Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash, so instead of having a variety of offensive and defensive effects every weapon is a short-to-mid-range aimed projectile attack. In all my races, I was never close enough to an opponent to use a weapon, so they also might as well have not been there at all. The only time I was able to even try the weapons was in the tutorial that teaches them, where I learned that even when you can use them you need to spend some time aiming them and delivering sustained damage to make a difference, which takes your attention away from steering and doesn’t seem worthwhile. I could see this being interesting if it were a co-op multiplayer situation like Mario Kart: Double Dash with one player as the driver and one as the gunner (and, of course, if the opponents were actually near enough to target) but the game cannot be played that way.

It’s bizarre how empty and boring the core gameplay is compared to the rest of the game’s polish. One way in which Kandagawa Jet Girls actually improves over recent Senran Kagura is that the girls actually have different body types to the point where you can tell them apart by silhouette. It’s also nice to see the characters interact and develop free from the baggage of Senran Kagura’s lore and story thus far. It’s just a shame that when it comes time to actually play the game, you won’t be doing anything interesting.

I Stopped Playing When: I played about eight races and found the characters decently charming. The idea of seeing the rest of the story and unlocking all the outfits and customizing the jet machines had some appeal, but I had zero interest in the racing gameplay required to do that, so I put the game down.

Docprof's Rating:

Two Stars: Meh. The game has some merit - it probably held my attention for at least an hour or I came back to it for more than one play session. But there wasn't enough draw for me to stick with it for the long haul.

You can get it or learn more here.