Senran Kagura Reflexions Review
Developer: HONEY∞PARADE GAMES
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: M
A Review Copy Was Provided by XSEED for the Purpose of Review
Senran Kagura: Reflexions is a new take on the Senran Kagura franchise. This iteration of the franchise is a bit different from the others.It’s set with Asuka trapped in an illusion and she needs your help with getting out of it.
And so, how can you – a non-ninja – help a ninja escape her situation? By giving her the best massage of her life apparently. Senran Kagura: Reflexions is a massage simulator where you the player use your golden fingers to “massage” Asuka up and down until she tells you she loves you then leaves to continue her ninja battle. Now of course, there is some nuance to this… There are 3 variants to the massages you give.
The first one is a simple hand massage. You can certainly think of this as the level select screen. Depending on where you touch her whether it be on her fingers or palms she’ll react. In some cases, she’ll react right away prompting the start of the next section or she’ll tell you to feel elsewhere so you know that won’t do anything. Until you’ve beaten the game once, you won’t know what touch will lead to what level as everything is randomized.
Once you’ve got her hot and bothered enough she’ll begin to fantasize the both of you in different scenarios. These can range from you being her idol producer, her older brother or even her being your teacher. There’s also some one where she fantasizes about you being her classmate which is weird because you are already one… But I digress. Regardless, these scenes are nothing but playful in nature albeit a little stereotypical.
Regardless, during the fantasy she’ll ask for a massage which brings us to stage 2. This time, it’s a full body massage. From the legs up, her body is basically yours to touch however you want. You can touch, squeeze, or caress, or even shoot her with a water gun in this mode. She will react to how you touch her, be it positively or negatively, but nothing that will make her stop the event from happening.
After touching her enough times she’ll form a mood which will indicate she’s ready for a more advanced massage. This last part is pretty much a minigame in which there are 4 to choose from. You can use your hands, a roller, a brush, or an electric massager…….. Only using your hands uses both JoyCon. Everything else uses the right JoyCon, so lefties (such as myself) win the genetic lottery for once. That said, all 4 minigames can be played either using Joycon’s buttons or through motion controls. Waggling your hands or arms won’t get you anywhere as Asuka is only pleased when doing it just right, and there is a time limit to adhere to. That said, all of them are pretty easy to pull off using motion controls except for the roller. I could never find the right rhythm for it..
At the end of that, her response to that massage depends on her mood from when you were touching her body. All of this builds up to her telling you how she feels about you as a I said previously. This happens after about 5 or 6 messages and to be honest, after the 3rd one, it gets pretty boring. In the end however, once you play it to the end, you unlock a piece of her heart. Once you unlock all of the pieces you get a CG and that’s it.
That’s basically the whole game. Sure there is the diorama but that’s been a part of every Senran Kagura game since Estival Versus so you should know what to expect here. Although the experience is lessend here because there is only one girl to choose here and it’s not like you can have multiples of her to make something elaborate like in previous games. Maybe if you add in the DLC characters sure, but as it is now, it’s just a step backwards.
Honestly, backwards is a good way to describe this game. I can understand that series creator Takaki wanted to be a wholesome experience, and it is. The dialogue is sweet and very playful to an extent, however the content of the game itself is nonexistent something Senran Kagura would normally be full of. Even if it is $10, the package that is presented just doesn’t justify what’s here. Something more fleshed out would really be appreciated and not something that can be 100% in less than 4 hours.
While graphics and music aren’t going backwards but they aren’t going forwards either. And while I do understand what Takaki was trying to do in terms of the HD Rumble, it just doesn’t work.
At the end of the day, the game is boring, bland and tasteless. I do completely understand that this is meant to be an experiment of sorts in terms of how to use the HD Rumble but even that doesn’t feel like it’s used the way it should. Senran Kagura without its iconic action just doesn’t work. Peach Beach Splash mechanics weren’t fun and in Reflexions, there’s just no content and the fun wears off after the first half-hour. Maybe PeachBall will be good since you can’t make a bad Pinball game, but otherwise, wait for Re:Burst.