Scantily clad anime style girls turning in to animals after drinking a potion in a toilet is odd enough, but when they can only be turned back by Pinball, you know you’re in Senran Kagura territory!
Senran Kagura has a certain reputation that you probably need to be aware of before picking up this pinball story game. Those in the know will tell you that outfits in these games tend to break fairly easily for various reasons, though the main one would be to reveal more flesh to the player. Yes, it’s that sort of game. Titillation aside, this particular game focuses on a story where the main character, Haruka, is bored while running an arcade and brews up a potion to change people in to animals (just because, you know, she can) and leaves it in the bathroom safely out of the way. Unfortunately, while her friends are visiting for a tournament, one decides to drink the potion (really, I mean who drinks a strange drink left in a toilet stall?) and she, in turn, infects the other girls. Haruka asks for your help and you’re drafted in to play a special pinball table which she’s linked up to the magical Peach Ball of the title to change them back.
The story mode is a little sickly sweet and mixed with mild erotica at times, it’s standard fare for the series and other similar Anime-style games of the sort, so shouldn’t be a surprise, but the game’s appeal will greatly depend on how you view this. The story itself is mostly straightforward but the main game comes from the pinball tables.
It’s these tables that steal the show, they’re full of some really nice effects and plenty of bonuses to hit, all of which need to be activated to fill up the meters on the side of the screen and activate a Sexy Challenge which makes a circus tent appear and both you and the girl are sucked into it to complete a mini game which amounts to either hitting targets in front of the girl (often hitting body parts in the process) or, in the final special challenge, actually hitting body parts with flippers or balls, eventually breaking the spell while rendering her naked. Well, I did warn you!
Winning games gains you access to new clothes to try on in the costume mode, where you can dress up and pose the girls as you see fit. There’s even an intimacy mode where you can use motion controls to, um, caress them. Yes, they went there. The clothes idea is great and not all of them are overly revealing.
Graphically, the tables are great while the rest of the game is cute but rather static outside of the pinball machine and the costume modes. It can be a little hard to keep up with all the flashing lights at times, but it makes for a great spectacle. Controls are fairly good for the most part but too much use of rumble can get annoying at times when you’re concentrating on just hitting the ball at the right angle.
It’s a pity, then, that the game features just 2 tables, even if they do change a little cosmetically. Had the developers focused on bringing more tables with different effects and bonus objectives to the party the game would have been far more enjoyable. As it stands, the 2 tables that are offered are great fun, but they can only keep you going so long.
While I had fun with Senran Kagura Peach Ball, the limited content is a little disappointing here. It may be that more tables are added via DLC but for now only fans of the series will get more from this game than the 2 (admittedly great) pinball tables.