Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (PS Vita) Review

By Drew Hurley 15.03.2016

Review for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on PS Vita

The Senran Kagura franchise is not particularly old, but has already produced plenty of iterations and adaptations, including anime and manga, a card game, and even a rhythm cooking title. Each of the releases, thus far, have lacked that something special to get it out of cult status and into mainstream appeal. Will Senran Kagura Estival Versus be the one to bring the voluptuous ninja girls to the common man on PS Vita?

The Senran Kagura series originally followed teenage ninja girls from the Hanzo school but each subsequent title has expanded the cast more and more. Now, in Estival Versus, there are four schools, each with five members, all battling amongst themselves. The start of this tale follows twin ninja sisters Ryobi and Ryona of the Hebijo academy wandering through a forest. When they feel a familiar presence and while investigating this, they find themselves in the middle of some strange ritual around their deceased elder sister Ryoki’s body. Ryobi and Ryona rush these ritualists to reclaim their sister’s body but find themselves instead thrown through a strange bright light and awakening on a beach… Suddenly, they are stuck on some sort of tropical island but, at least, Ryoki is there, too… and alive. It wouldn’t be much of a story without the rest of the ninja schools, though, and in quick succession each of the other characters is transported to the island.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on PS Vita

The ritualists are an elderly lady and a trio of shrine maidens. The old woman turns out to actually be Sayuri Reiko, grandmother to series’ protagonist, Asuka, and the shrine maidens with her are the Mikagura Sisters, a famous group of spirit mediums that are able to travel between worlds. They brought each of the Ninja schools to this place for a special festival known as the Shinobi Bon Dance. Each of the four schools is assigned festival platforms and the competition is simple: protect your own, crush your enemies. The last group standing opens up the road to Kagura, the way to become the highest rank of Shinobi.

Could it be this title actually has a real story, with plot and narrative and developments? No, of course not! The actual story itself is completely superficial, with each chapter simply serving as a backdrop for comedy skits and suggestive situations between the groups of ninjas. Over the course of eight days, you can partake in numerous risqué games and trials, usually culminating with the losers stripped and embarrassed. Previous titles from the Kagura series have included some weird gameplay choices, but this iteration has gone with a scenario quite fitting for the expansive cast of characters: a Musou-style brawler. There are over 30 playable characters and each of the cast manages to feel unique, with very individual fighting styles. The heavy weapons users feel like their blows have real weight behind them, while the lightweight ladies fly through aerial juggles. The individuality of the characters is good, but the balance is terrible…

Screenshot for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on PS Vita

Each stage consists of a simple set of objectives, and usually defeating a set amount of cannon fodder ninja within a time limit is required before taking on one to three of the opposing ninja girls at once. There’s a bit more life in the game thanks to aiming for rankings on each stage – taking into account completion time, lack of damage taken and max combo size to acquire the A, B, C or D ratings – along with tracking down all of the festival platforms hidden across each of the stages. Destroying these unlocks extra side story missions for each of the girls, entitled Shinobi Girl’s Heart – simple and silly stories that add five more stages to each character.

Whatever the mode, the difficulty levels are drastically divergent. During easy and normal, it’s simple enough to button mash through each stage with little problems, whereas in the hard difficulty a mastery of well-timed parries and counters, along with the ability to juggle well, are requirements to succeed.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on PS Vita

There’s no getting away from the pervy nature of the game, though. You only have to look at the creator of the series, Kenichiro Takaki, to see why. In an interview he said he wanted to bring the series to Vita just so there would be a way to lick the breasts… and he lives by the profound philosophy “Tits are life, ass is hometown.” This is one of those games where it’s hard to play in public or around family as characters are constantly in various states of undress, in extremely compromising positions, or just making high pitched moans and groans…

Senran Kagura rejoices in this lewd and ecchi style, knowing what its fans want and delivering in droves. During combat, the characters’ clothes will tear off and shred to pieces in convenient places. There is plenty of jiggling and it gets even more risqué when the characters transform, stripping down to nothing and pulling a scroll out of... well… sometimes it’s best not to ask… and then going through the classic magical girl transformation into their Shinobi attire. Not to mention the Shinobi who are heavily perverted and can’t keep their hands off their companions. Even the events of the tournament include things like who can slap the most arses or eat the most panties...

There are around 20-30 hours of gameplay here, along with extras to get the lifespan stretching a little further. There are tons of unlockable outfits and accessories for each of the characters, as well. The dressing room from previous titles returns to change the outfits and appearance, and it also gives the option of creating dioramic scenes to take screenshots.

Screenshot for Senran Kagura: Estival Versus on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Senran Kagura Estival Versus is a tricky game to judge. While the Musou gameplay is fun and there’s plenty of reason to return and play through with other characters, it gets repetitive. There’s no real narrative to help carry the game either, since the story is simply terrible. The signature style and lewdness of the series is tricky, too, as it guarantees sales to its target audience but is likely going to alienate a few potential players. The bottom line is that it’s a decent enough Musou title, filled with jiggly, half-naked Japanese schoolgirls tearing each others’ clothes off. It’s a game for those who live by the ancient Japanese philosophy of “tits are life, ass is hometown.”

Developer

Marvelous

Publisher

Marvelous

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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