By Steve Baltimore / August 31st, 2020
|Title||Kandagawa Jet Girls|
|Release Date||August 25th, 2020|
Kandagawa Jet Girls is a game about several pairs of girls that compete in Tokyo’s newest craze – Jet Racing! This involves the girls suiting up and hitting the river on the latest watercraft and blasting their way to victory. The game was created by the legendary Kenichiro Takaki, who most of us know as the creator of Senran Kagura. There is also an anime series that goes into the story a bit deeper than the game does. Let’s see if the game captures the speed, excitement and fan service of Jet Racing!
The story here begins as Rin Namiki is aspiring to become a great Jet Racer like her mother. She soon enrolls in Asakusa Girls’ Municipal High School where she meets a girl named Misa Aoi. The two form a Jet Racing team in order to rebuild the school’s run down club. They win the hearts and minds of the crowds as they work towards winning the biggest tournament of the season.
While none of the stories here are ground breaking, they do flesh out the characters a bit. I really loved Hell’s Kitchen’s story. This story felt very sincere as if a group had become known for two great things and didn’t want to disappoint either fan base. Unaki Surfer’s team of Emily and Jennifer are just amazing as well. Those two are the most hardcore Otaku ever and are seeking the way of the Ninja. They say a lot of things in Engrish as well, which I always find adorable! All in all this is a great accompanying piece to the anime. In fact I had no interest in watching the anime til I played this game, and it’s really quite good as well.
Kandagawa Jet Girls really shines in the audio department. The Japanese cast do an amazing job giving these characters life. You can really tell they put some work in to make this come out as great as it could. The soundtrack itself is fantastic as well. There are tons of heart pumping tunes to get your race on with. Some are just variations of other tracks, but it’s still fantastic overall. It’s so good that if you are thinking of picking this one up, I would highly suggest snagging up XSEED Games reasonably priced physical release: Kandagawa Jet Girls – Racing Hearts Edition. It comes with a full soundtrack and artbook for $59.99, which is just 10 bucks more than the base digital game.
While the story, characters and audio are great, the gameplay is where things start to get dicey. The racing itself is pretty easy to pick up and play, but it feels very bland most of the time. Most races are two laps and there are plenty of weapons littered about the courses to blast your opponents into oblivion. Players can tap the analog sticks in certain directions coming off a ramp to do tricks. These will give a bonus in areas such as handling, speed or an E.P. Drive meter boost. The E.P. Drive allows you to get a boost when it’s filled to at least 20%. This meter will also fill as you give and receive damage from the other racers. When it’s at 100% a special move will be at your disposal. These will vary depending on which weapon you have at the time, and can range from more items appearing to heat seeking missiles.
Drifting is very important to coming out on top here, and the developers have made this very simple. Just tap the brake going into a turn and the drift gauge will begin to fill. When you tap brake again your craft will receive a nice boost. Since this game has very little sense of speed the cornering usually makes the difference between victory and defeat. The game also makes a big deal of how you point your nose coming off a jump. If you point it down it will slow you down but you get the handling back faster, whereas if you point it up you get more speed but handling suffers. Honestly handling suffers most of the time here anyways. Most of these craft are very weighted and it will take you some time to adjust to some of the sluggish turns for the larger ones.
You can upgrade and customize each team’s crafts in between races. You will have to purchase upgrade items in the in-game shop with points you earn for completing races or playing the mini games. Each craft will start with a set number of points that can be used to equip upgrades. These include upgrades to speed, handling, shields, drift correction and much more. Each item you equip will consume a certain amount of points, so you will have to pick and choose which upgrades will benefit you the most. The point total will go up in increments of 10 as you complete each team’s story races. You can also change each crafts color scheme, decals and even add some skins.
Each girl can be completely customized as well. Senran Kagura fans will feel right at home here. There are plenty of outfits, accessories and hairstyles to deck out your favorite character any way you wish. Some items will have to be unlocked. These items will show up in the shop after you complete the three missions given to you during each story race. Most of these are pretty simple things like don’t hit any walls or use three weapons during the race. Most players will not have any trouble pulling these off. Just like with craft upgrades, these items will cost you some coin in the shop as well. This will go much faster if you play the mini games, since they pay out a lot more points than winning the races. Getting an S rank in them unlocks some cool effects for the crafts as well.
Kandagawa Jet Girls is not a bad game, but I just don’t know if I would call this a good game either. The characters are great, the soundtrack is top tier and story, while not groundbreaking, is good enough to keep you interested. However, the gameplay here is a very mixed bag. This one should’ve spent more time in the oven to cook fully rather than chucking in a few characters from Senran Kagura in as overpriced DLC to get people interested. If you’re a fan of the anime then you should definitely pick this up. You’ll find a lot to love here and get to spend some time with each of your favorites. For everyone else, while this game is far from perfect, I’ve played a lot worse. So you’ll have to decide if the characters and story are engaging enough for you to give it a spin.
Game was provided by the publisher.
Kandagawa Jet GirlsMarvelousSenran KaguraXSEED Games