Pin those balls!
I was able to play the newest Senran Kagura at this year’s Electronics and Entertainment Expo on the Nintendo Switch at the XSeed booth and like in year’s past; the formula takes a change from the “Ninja-beat-em-up!” There’s a lot to get into so lets do it!
Peach Ball takes place in all likely places, an arcade and who doesn’t like that? Haruka works in said arcade with some of the other Senran Kagura beauties and while she has some downtime at the arcade, she has been experimenting. Wouldn’t you know it that her friends are the perfect test subjects for her newest experiment, thus turning them into animals, skimpily clad animals. However you don’t play the role of one of the girls, you play the role of the hero in this story, a no-name drifter who happened to be in the arcade at the time and was able to help. The game has a mini situational story where you can pick one of five scenarios to get the ball rolling and each one stars a different girl like Asuka for example. The goal is to turn each girl back to normal and you’ll do that with the help of the Peach Ball, a pinball that holds the key for transformation!
During pinball gameplay you’ll be able to select the pinball you want to use and each ball has different pros and cons like some are heavier than others. You can also unlock different balls by earning zeni/money in the game and buying them in the shop. Also during gameplay, you’ll have the chance to perform different tasks to earn points and unlock bonus games while on the pinball table. The more points you earn, the quicker the mini-games are activated and that’s the goal of each play through. You want to earn as many points as quick as possible to gain access to the mini-games so you can turn your friends back into their human form. The mini games range from hitting your pinball into an ice cream cart to hitting magic top hats. These mini-games are basically fan service but it wouldn’t be a Senran Kagura game without it, right? The bonus game at the end of the level as you hit pinballs into your friends cleavage for the most points so yeah, fan service.
Peach Ball allows you to buy different outfits for your characters and take pictures of them in different poses. You can unlock these outfits during gameplay as well so gain points to earn more zeni/money. You’ll be able to use the dressing room feature to see all your costumes as well as be “intimate” with your favorite characters in the game and for some reason, spray them with water. You can look at more things in the gallery like game pictures and movies as well as music and dialogue from characters. I again feel that I’m in the minority on this one where I wish there was an English setting for voices but I understand that it’s cheaper to not translate/dub the game with English voice work but I’d just like the option.
You can set your eyes on the high score in both Story mode and Free mode but like it sounds, Story mode follows the story in the game and Free mode allows you to play the way you want to, with settings set the way you’d want! You can pick one of five story arcs to play and each one starts on a different path. Yumi’s story starts out different from Atsuka and the same can be said comparing Asuka and Yomi’s story arcs. Each one is five chapters and the goals are the same but how you achieve that goal is different since the start is different.
Senran Kagura Peach Ball is a fun pinball game that takes the franchise in a different direction and that’s a good thing. Fans of the Senran Kagura girls and pinball will want to check this out. However, know going in that it has a lot of fan service and the load-times are a little slow. However, the controls are tight and bring another strong pinball game to the Switch. It’s these reasons that I’m giving Senran Kagura Peach Ball for the Nintendo Switch an 8.5/10. I’d like to thanks XSeed Games for the review code.