From the developers of the Senran Kagura games comes Kandagawa Jet Girls, a new female-focused racing game. The game follows two high school girls Rin Namiki and Misa Aoi, a Jetter and Shooter, aiming to be the very best jet racers in all of Kandagawa. That is at the start, but as you progress through the story mode you’ll gain access to seven different schools each with their own teams of Jetters and Shooters.
In the story mode, players will play through 12 distinct races against other school teams. The races take place in eight different tracks, which are generally visually pleasing but get old quickly once you are forced to race on them multiple times. In each race, you try to outrun and outgun your opponents to reach the finish line first. You’ll also be picking up all sorts of items, jumping off ramps, and avoiding obstacles and enemy fire. The racing mechanic is surprisingly in-depth with cool moves like thrusts, drift thrusts, nose control, and ramp tricks, alongside a variety of unique weapons you can use on your opponents.
Initially, the dynamic of the game felt fresh and unique. It’s just too bad it all gets pretty stale around your 10th race. What’s worse is that the races are generally pretty easy. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find yourself winning every match with at least a minute gap if you know what you’re doing. The fact that there isn’t any way of adjusting the story mode’s difficulty doesn’t help much either.
The only feature that seems to provide some challenge are the game’s various objectives in each race. While some are still annoyingly straight forward, others pose a bit of a challenge, which is at least something. Aside from completing objectives during races, players also have the option of playing through the various available mini-games to earn points to unlock costumes, Jetski parts, and other unlockable items. As you can guess, this ultimately renders the need to earn points during races pointless.
As a Marvelous game, it’s no surprise that there is a huge number of customizable items in the game players can purchase and use to dress their racers however they want. When not playing through the story modes or indulging in cosmetics, players can also play the other two available game modes. This includes Free mode, split into regular racing and Time Attack, and an Online mode, which is pretty self-explanatory. However, throughout my time with the game, I couldn’t find a single match online, which was unfortunate.
Something else I noticed about Kandagawa Jet Girls is the surprising lack of fan service for a game made by the same developers of the Senran Kagura series. Judge me all you want, but I just call it as I see it. In this case, I don’t see it. The anime seems to be the better adaptation in that regard as the game is sorely lacking in that department.
Thankfully, the game has a pretty decent story mode. I found this mode surprisingly entertaining with fully voiced, engaging characters and attractive models. Granted, the story tends to lean towards the simplistic side, which usually involves the two girls Namiki and Aoi randomly meeting other girls and finding an excuse to race them. Most of these excuses mind you, are utterly ridiculous, yet it somehow finds a way to be amusing every time.
Another thing Kandagawa Jet Girls does well is its unique, highly colorful, and bubbly visuals. The UI especially has a beautiful design that matches the game’s tone quite well. The character models are also boisterous and full of life. This is a relief as it could’ve easily been your usual static illustrations on a generic anime background.
Overall, I’d say I’m quite divided on Kandagawa Jet Girls. It’s a visually pleasing game with an entertaining story mode and likable characters. It also has a deep customization system and a variety of fun mini-games to play through. Despite this, the main racing mechanic while stable, is quite dull. Regardless, I’d still confidently recommend this game to fans of the anime especially, though I’d probably wait for a sale first.