Defeat the Gropety Grope and Lickety Lick Machine in Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash

Marvelous’ Senran Kagura series started off as a lackluster beat ’em up line that traded on its cheesecake fan service to move copies. It wasn’t particularly inspired or well designed. Time moved on and the series did something really interesting: it got good. Starting with Shinovi Versus, the levels became more satisfying to complete and the writing embraced the silliness of the entire concept, becoming self aware like Skynet with a big red clown nose. The battles of the various ninja schools evolved into a story framed in humor and silky smooth swordplay. Sure, taken out of context, it seems like the entire series is a sleaze fest that debases the player and women. Actually playing the game, however, shows that the girls are in on the joke. I realize that I have said this before, but it bears repeating for the uninitiated. It’s important to be able to set aside any preconceived concerns to truly get what the series is really about: dumb fun where everyone, from the characters to the player, is empowered. With this out of the way, it’s time to dive into the latest entry in the series, Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash.

The story takes place after the events of Estival Versus, with each of the four schools enjoying an unseasonably warm winter. The revelry doesn’t last long, as they are pulled down a mysterious rainbow slide to a deserted island and forced to take part in Peach Beach Splash. This competition, shortened to PBS during the narrative (they so missed a chance for a “Brought to you by the National Endowments of the Breasts” type joke) asks the ladies to battle it out in an arena-based tournament using water guns while the goings on are streamed on a YouTube-like service. Though hesitant, the prize of any wish being fulfilled convinces the groups to go for it with gusto, though not without some internal and external conflicts arising. Existing fans of the series will suspect that there is a deeper reason for the competition. They would not be wrong. The plot itself is the proper amount of silly, with a few legitimately clever lines that forced an unexpected laugh. There is also a feeling of having seen many of these same story beats before in the series, though, with some jokes almost copy/pasted from previous entries. I was willing to overlook this, but there might be some fans that will feel some disappointment. Fortunately, the boss fights do feel rewarding when they pop up, though the Gropety Grope Machine and the Lickety Lick Machine are almost identical in how they are handled.


Unlike the previous beat ’em ups, this is strictly a shooter. Players are dropped into an arena with a character and a preselected set of skills and told to get to work. Sometimes, the arena is filled with swarms of popcorn enemies that go down after a hit or two, sometimes it’s a match against characters from another school controlled by bots, and occasionally the player will need to put out fires by shooting them. It can start to feel repetitive as time goes on, as it feels like a game designed for multiplayer that had single player modes shoehorned in. That’s especially unfortunate as the mechanics are top notch. There are plenty of different weapons to use, from gatling guns to grenade launchers, that changes up team roles drastically. Each lady is also equipped with a jet pack to fly through the air or zip along the ground at a rapid pace, keeping the battles extremely fast paced and exciting when playing against a difficult team. Mixing in pets and interesting skill cards gives Peach Beach Splash an amount of depth that’s hobbled by lackluster game design.

As far as single player content goes, there is a ton of it. The story takes place over four arcs, one for each school, at ten missions a piece. Completing these unlocks a fourteen mission final arc that wraps up the mysteries quite well. In addition to this, there are plenty of Paradise side stories that will eat up the time, and a rather challenging tournament “V-Road” mode that yields plenty of awards, such as unique card packs and high amounts of currency to spend on outfits and art in the store. Polishing off the main story will probably take an average player about four and a half hours, but that is just scratching the surface.


The aforementioned cards are a rather interesting choice for handling skills and leveling. Completing a mission or challenge rewards the player a card pack with ten cards. The cards themselves come in five levels of rarity to get the collector juices flowing, and can be leveled up by feeding them duplicate items. The value of experience points depends on the rarity of the card. Since every skill, pet, weapon, and character can be leveled up, there’s an abundance of improvement that can be done. No card pack feels wasted as there is always a use for its contents. Since the cards flow like wine, and more packs can be purchased in the game store with money earned, there are always more of these things begging for attention. Since the progress carries across all modes, spending time with Paradise missions will yield the resources needed to conquer a particularly challenging V-road tournament. The system is very well put together, with an impeccable balance across the single player modes.

While we’ve spent quite a bit of time with this title, we’re not able to assign a final score as multiplayer servers are not up at the time of this writing. Ordinarily, this would not be an issue for a Senran Kagura title. The arenas and mission structure, however, shows that this game was built around online battles. From what we can tell, there looks to be quite a bit going on in the mode. It appears that there is a decent ranking system with stats that are immediately apparent due to a clean display, and some modes that might prove to be interesting. Capture the Bra might be a take on a simple Capture the Flag mode or something more…interesting. That’s not even accounting for a Horde Mode styled “Survival Mode” that requires that a team defend three points on a map from swarms of popcorn foes. The latter can be played solo, but it isn’t balanced well for it.


Here’s what we can say for this game for certain: fans of Senran Kagura looking to see the next entry will be pleased with Peach Beach Splash. The humor is present and the action is a reasonable amount of fun. Series newcomers that will only play solo should probably give it a pass. Check out Estival Versus instead to get a feel for the series when it’s firing on all cylinders. Finally, people looking for the full experience should really wait until we can dig deep into it. All indications are that the game will have plenty to offer once we can play it the way it is intended. In the meantime, it seems irresponsible to declare a final review at this point.