Kandagawa Jet Girls (PlayStation 4) Review

By Athanasios 25.08.2020 2

Review for Kandagawa Jet Girls on PlayStation 4

Kandawaga Jet Girls is a joint multimedia project by Kadokawa, Marvelous, and Egg Firm, which puts one more pebble into that money-making machine that is the world of sexy anime girls, which includes a television series, action figures, various types of merchandise, and, of course, video games. Published by the otaku-friendly Xseed Games, Kandagawa Jet Girls mixes jet skiing with the weapon-based racing combat of Mario Kart, and completes the recipe by adding plenty of cuties. To this critic's surprise, and unlike his experience with similar titles, the end result is actually something that's fun, with the beautiful girls on offer being just one aspect of the experience, rather than the focal point… although there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Rin Namiki wants to become a super-popular and successful Jetter like her mom, which is basically the Jet Racing term for the ones that pilot a watercraft, with the so-called Shooter that rides along being tasked with firing a water gun at rival teams. Rin meets up with tough-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside, Misa Aoi, and they form a partnership, which throughout their attempt to win the championship slowly envelopes into a strong friendship... or thinly-veiled romance - pick whichever suits your "needs." Starting with those two, the Story mode soon offers the chance to play as other teams as well.

This has what you would expect from something revolving around anime cuties that splash each other while Jet Skiing: a weak excuse to have some slice-of-life style interactions, with dialogue sequences abruptly ending up with a dare like "What?! You girls are newcomers? Time to settle this with… JET RACING!" The good news? Kandagawa Jet Girls never takes itself too seriously. It's just a typical feel-good kind of experience, with light-hearted, silly comedy, bright and colourful vistas, and catchy tunes, whose purpose is to lift your spirits. It's good at it, and doesn't attempt to be something more than that.

Screenshot for Kandagawa Jet Girls on PlayStation 4

Yes, the characters on offer are a buffet of tropes, which makes it hard to memorize their names, as it's far easier to simply remember them for the stereotype they serve, like the otaku girls, the 'gal' girls, the tsundere and the over-excited one, the shrine maidens, the aristocrats, and so on and forth. Having said that, you'll soon grow fond of them, as they are all likable, and it is fun watching them interact with each other, even though there's no actual depth to the story, or any substantial character development to speak off. Sure, it does get old after a while, as it's another case of little content stretched over many hours, but nothing a simple push of the skip button can't fix.

It should also be noted that, compared to its "sister" franchise, Senran Kagura, this is less "risky," with no provocative poses, undressing of the cast, and... err, enormous, bouncy chest areas. Kandagawa Jet Girls goes instead for a lighter, cute pin-up/gravure idol vibe. While generic, Hanaharu Naruko's character design is aesthetically pleasing, with a very good use of the vibrant palette on offer, enjoyably exaggerated, "anime" expressions, and small details that bring life to the girls, like how their eyes gleam. Also, as is customary with the… sexy anime girl "genre," there are many outfits, hairstyles, and so on to do some dress 'em up, so that you won't get bored during the visual novel-esque segments.

Screenshot for Kandagawa Jet Girls on PlayStation 4

The biggest surprise was the fact that this turned out to be a fun racer, with mechanics that actually matter. Luckily (or not), this isn't just an excuse to ogle at sexy lasses playing in the water. Handling the watercraft is a simple, and super-easy affair, but there's more to just turning left and right. As an example, tilting the jet's nose downwards makes sharp corners much easier, whereas an upwards position increases speed. A similar mechanic deals with how you land after jumping from a pad, with upward keeping your speed steady, whereas downward increases a certain boost gauge while momentarily halting your momentum.

Speaking of boosts, one can race through specific "gates" to temporarily increase speed, or use the aforementioned gauge to do so on will, with said gauge increasing in a variety of ways. An interesting type of boost is an ability that lets you drift to build boost power, although this tends to be a risk/reward system that's rarely as useful as is should be, as the actual drifting slows you down more than it needs to, and ruins your handling for a few precious seconds. Generally, the mechanics available are far from perfect, and this won't make you put your favorite raced aside, but there are no big flaws to talk about.

Screenshot for Kandagawa Jet Girls on PlayStation 4

What is definitely a serious issue with Kandagawa Jet Girls, is that it lacks one of the most crucial aspects of racing games: the feeling of speed. In all honesty, this makes Mario Kart look like F-Zero. It's way too slow for it to be exciting, even hours into the Story mode. Even worse, the vast majority of races in that mode, especially when it comes to the protagonist duo, are so freaking easy, that most will forget the existence of their rivals, and, as a result, the tools they have on their hands - like, for instance, the weapons. Oh, yeah. Almost forgot about them, as well. The girls can receive a random type of water gun by going through a question mark. Good luck getting the chance to give it a go, however.

Part of the fun here is completing certain objectives during a race. It's the typical three-star tick box formula that casual games have made popular. Problem is a great number of those are about using weapons a specific amount of times, and as there's a stunning lack of any challenge, players will have to literally stop, and wait for an opponent to get near them so that they can use their weapons. Not only that, but said weapons aren't really that fun to play with. Unlike Mario Kart's wide range of items, which can turn the tides of battle with a well-placed turtle shell or banana peel, the arsenal here is comprised of a bunch of forgettable water guns that are semi-automatically shot when an enemy is within a necessary range.

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In the end, Kandawaga Jet Girls is definitely enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as it could be. It's a mix of Wave Race 64 and Super Mario Kart, which doesn't have the feel of the first, or the fun battle system of the second. It's also a bit light on content. Apart from the Story mode, there's the typical Free and Time Trial modes, plus a simplistic multiplayer, with local matches not available. It's something that probably didn't spent enough time in the oven… evident at how menu navigation is littered with needless amounts of loading screens, and a general structure that's far from user-friendly or streamlined.

No, this is not one of those lazily-made titles that expect to sell by fanservice power alone. This is actually an enjoyable racing game... but not for the reasons one usually plays those. This critic had more fun with watching the girls acting cute and silly, completing objectives, unlocking the many unlockables, and changing attires, than with the act of racing with the, supposedly, futuristic, jet skis. This simply didn't realize its full potential. Kandagawa Jet Girls should be a sexy, water racing Mario Kart. Instead, it's an extremely casual-friendly title that's fun, but ultimately forgettable.

Screenshot for Kandagawa Jet Girls on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

While an enjoyable, and visually pleasing experience, this just doesn't manage to be the great racing game that it could be. Thankfully, it's not a "fanservice above everything" kind of deal, but, truth be told, the main source of fun in Kandagawa Jet Girls does seem to be the girls, rather than the gameplay. Sure it's not bad, but it's also not as good as expected from something that had the potential to be a clone of Mario Kart, with sexy anime cuties rather than chubby plumbers, talking mushrooms, and wimpy dinosaurs.

Developer

SHADE Inc.

Publisher

Marvelous (XSEED)

Genre

Driving

Players

6

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   

Comments

Is this the closest we'll get to Wave Race? Smilie I do want to try this, though... Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

The girls look a little weird in that cell shading or whatever.

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