Kandagawa Jet Girls (PS4, PC)

In Kandagawa Jet Girls, you race futuristic water jet bikes around rivers in Tokyo.  Your drivers are two young anime ladies, one steers and the other shoots a water gun at other racers to slow them down.  Kind of reminds me of Mario Kart: Double Dash in a way.  Apparently this game is based on an anime cartoon as well.  Huh, I didn’t know that.  Learn something new every day.  Anyway, this game is available on PS4 and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

To race, just steer with the L stick and hold down the R trigger button for the gas.  Tap the L trigger button to brake, and if you do this during a turn, you’ll drift and can build up boosts to give you a burst of speed when you tap the L trigger again when you come out of a turn.  When you come across a ramp, flick the L and R sticks in a direction to do a trick.  While in the air, press down on the L stick to dive in the water and go faster, or up to slow down but turn easier.  Scattered about the tracks are question markers that give you a special water gun when you drive over them.  You can press and hold the square button to shoot in front, or press back and the square button to shoot behind.  When you shoot from behind, you switch to the shooter to aim while the driver steers automatically.  Doing tricks and boosts will fill up a meter, and when it’s full you can press the triangle button for a special attack.  By shooting water guns at opponents, you can break down their shield and slow them down.

There are several modes of play.  The first is Story Mode.  You’ll play through chapters with character story arcs, which usually involves some text interaction from the girls, followed by a race, and then some more text when you win.  There’s a lot to take in with the complex controls, but luckily there is a thorough interactive tutorial mode and the first missions are pretty easy so you can get the hang of things.  There are TONS of events in Story Mode, so there is plenty to do for single players. Next is the Clubroom, where you can customize characters with outfits and accessories, and also design and edit your machines with decorations and parts to increase your performance.  By playing the game, you’ll earn points which you can spend on these things in the shop, and you can also play some fun mini-games to earn points as well.  Free Mode lets you race on tracks separately against CPU opponents and you can beat your best records in Time Trial.  I thought this mode would also let you play two player local split screen, but I couldn’t find out how to do that.  If you can do that, it’s not very intuitive, but there may not be a local multiplayer mode.  If that’s the case, it’s a real shame.  You can play against others in Online Mode, though, and toggle various options in the Settings.

I did have a few problems with this game.  Mainly I felt the controls were a bit too complex.  I would’ve liked to have seen it adopt more pick-up-and-play Mario Kart style controls.  I could never get the hang of using weapons properly.  I also wish the game had more dynamic water effects, as you just race on calm urban rivers.  Story Mode also had too much text for my liking, and none of the characters really stood out to me.  Although one girl would always pull out a giant rice ball and chomp away at it, so that was kind of funny.  Some players may find the squeaky-voiced, overly ‘kawaii’ nature of some of the characters annoying, too.  And the possible lack of local multiplayer is a shame.  But otherwise, I did kind of enjoy this game, as there is plenty to do and I liked the colorful lighthearted nature of it all.  It reminded me of games I used to play on the Dreamcast and PS2, and that’s a good thing.

Kid Factor:

Kandagawa Jet Girls is rated T for Teen with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Language, and Suggestive Themes.  You shoot each other with water guns and sometimes bump into walls, but that’s about as violent as it gets.  I didn’t really notice any bad language in the text, so it must be used sparingly.  The ladies you race as wear skin tight wetsuits or skimpy outfits and have unrealistic proportions, and sometimes they can get pretty huggy and friendly with each other, so take that as you will.  Because of that and the complex controls, I’d say this is best for teens and older gamers.

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