Kandagawa Jet Girls was a 2019 anime that featured jet ski riding & water gun wielding teams of two racing through inner city rivers in pursuit of glory, and has now made its way to the game world via the team behind the Senran Kagura series. Let’s see if it can make a splash…
The games opening story is that of the protagonist duo from the anime series, Rin & Misa, as they build their bond and grow as a team through racing the other schools. Basically, if you’ve seen the anime then you’ll know what to expect for the first story. They are well presented though, as expected of the team behind Senran Kagura, with animated 3D characters & full voice acting from those behind the anime. Once done things start to get interesting as you’ll unlock stories for all the other teams as well, offering new viewpoints and extra info on the crews. A boon for fans of the anime with a favourite team outside the main duo, and balloons the stage count to over 60 races which offers a meaty story mode.
Outside of the story mode there are a few options, including a free race that allows you to customise your own races. Online is likely where you’ll eventually end up as it allows for more dynamic races with other players as opposed to AI, judging from the few races I managed to try. It won’t be long till you find yourself at the custom area, which sports a shop and place to customise the girls and their jet ski’s. New customisations & upgrades to equipment are rewarded throughout the game and can then be purchased at the store using in-game currency, this is earned through racing and also via an amusing set of mini games that you’ll likely try a few times.
As you would expect of a game based around a jet ski racing anime, the stages are bright & punchy with some good water effects thrown in for good measure. The games style is pulled from the anime and the Unreal engine is put to use in bringing the well detailed characters to life in a 3D world, the stages themselves don’t quite seem to have the same care put in but are detailed enough. Amusingly the 2D sprite based spectators can stick out like a sore thumb when not racing during the pre & post race stage cameras.
The audio side of things is quite good, a solid BGM reminiscent of the series keeps things ticking over with the voice acting during stages & story segments providing some high quality polish to the soundscape. The story sections also showcase the great work done for character detail, with CG snapshots of moments also unlocked as an added bonus. Performance is fine for the most part, only the odd stutter was noticed when playing via a Ps4 Pro – though I didn’t really see anything in the form of Pro upgrades myself either.
If you’ve seen the anime then you’ll have an idea of what to expect, as the girls hit the water for a Jet ski & water gun packed extravaganza. Races will see you going up against several other teams on the each stage with more than just racing influencing how things turn out. The teams feature both a driver for the jet ski & a shooter to tackle other racers, so you’ll have to keep your eyes on more than just the track ahead. The racing itself feels decent enough, you don’t have to worry about waves so much on the inner-city rivers so the likes of drifting & boosting can be used relatively carefree.
Luckily each of the teams has their own unique jet ski that feels a bit different to the next, but as noted before there is more than just racing to be done. Shooting is also controlled by the player for the most part and honestly feels a bit wonky when you first start out. You’ll get used to it eventually, and the weapon pickups during a stage can offer some variety to how you tackle the other racers. Throughout the stage there are also other pickups, You can pass through certain rings to boost your bonus meter which unlocks a special move & allows you to boost, with turbo gates giving you a boost to speed when past through. There’s also plenty of obstacles to try and get in your way. Overall whilst the shooting doesn’t quite feel as fleshed out as the actual racing, it’s still an integral aspect of the game that you’ll need to master for the tough stages & those online races.
Kandagawa Jet Girls is the very definition of a fans game. Those keen on the anime will get their moneys worth with a meaty story mode that features several schools, all manner of customisation and a decent representation of the racing seen in the series. May not quite have enough to reach beyond it’s anime niche, but any that stumble across it could find plenty to enjoy.
Jet skis, Water guns & wetsuits. Stays true to the anime without really making any waves. Perfect for Kandagawa Jet Girls fans.