Rating : 4/10
As the sun sets at the end of another busy day, you make your way to the classroom where she asked you to meet her. With no idea what she has called you for your mind is filled with numerous thoughts and your heart is racing. Moving through the orange sun-filled hallways you come to the classroom door. Taking a moment to catch your breath you slowly open it, seeing her standing at the window looking at the world outside. She turns hearing you enter the room and a smile fills her face along with her eyes lighting up brighter than ever before. Rushing over to greet you in excitement she grabs your hands, holding them gently in hers. She called you here for a reason and now, in a moment that feels like time has stopped, she reveals it. “Please” she explains softly. “Please…help me…search myself.”
It’s in these opening moments that you would be mistaken for thinking that Senran Kagura Reflexions on the Nintendo Switch is in fact a fully fleshed-out dating sim title. Alas, it is but a smaller installment which features a short plot in order to provide you with the main attraction which is a series of relaxing mini-games all focused on helping the character Asuka relax and explore her feelings. When I say feelings I mean romantic ones and this requires touching her. Yes, touching physically. What else were you expecting from this title?
Now it would be harsh to write it off at the starting gate because anyone who has played any entry in the Senran Kagura series will know that behind all the over the top sexualiation of its characters lies generally solid and robust gameplay. If you are new to all this then maybe take a seat if you haven’t already. So with Senran Kagura Reflexions offering players a different chance to get closer than ever before with the series’ best girl, how does it play out?
Beyond the opening segment which features a very nice intro movie with some superb artwork, players will find themselves in front of a 3D Asuka for most of the experience from here on out. You start with the Standard Reflexology focusing on the hands in which you need to select a different part of her hand and rub it softly to enter a different part of Asuka’s heart. These are the different scenarios which make up the title and each one has its own self contained ‘story’ which strings the action together. Once here, you are start the body section of the standard reflexology.
You see, the aim of the title is to fill a vessel with one of five different colours which will in turn transform into pieces of her heart’s desire. To do this you need to touch her in different places to generate a unique reaction. This won’t just be in the way she talks and react but also in the colour of the circle that spawns. The more you interact with her the more a background value fills until the screen is filled with hearts of the desired colour, allowing you to progress to the next stage.
This is where you enter Glorious Reflexology and by far the most intimate moment of the whole title. After building up her emotions in relation to one of the colours, each having their own assigned emotion, you’ll presented with Asuka in a sexual position and must use one of a few different methods to bring her pleasure. This can include ‘beating’ her legs to help relieve muscle pain, using a brush, a wooden roller of sorts and of course a vibrator. No, it’s not an ‘electric massager’ it’s a straight up vibrator and when placed against her boobs the physics just don’t work.
As you perform the different exercises you’ll fill up a bar which once it reaches a set point will allow you to ‘finish’ with a stylish move. Then, the vessel will fill with the colour you have gone after and you’ll be one set closer to unlock a piece of Auska’s heart. You’ll have to get use to the gameplay loop though as you’ll need to complete five of these to fill a vessel once and unlock just one piece of her heart, with multiple to collect. Of course, with a number of different scenarios in which yours and Asuka’s relationship is different – such as being her brother or producer – you’ll want to play through them all to experience the complete story. It’s a simple case of rinse and repeat.
What makes Senran Kagura Reflexions a bit more interesting though is the use of the Joy-Con motion consoles and HD Rumble. The title promises realistic feedback but the end result is actually less than ideal with the controllers simply vibrating way to much or not enough. Nothing about their movements feels ‘real’ and it kind of ruins your focus. The feeling of Auska’s heartbeat though while rubbing her hands is fairly solid and in fact, kind of creepy. As for the motion controls, good luck keeping your eye on the action here as you’ll be swinging your arms around like mad in order to keep our hero satisfied.
Outside of the core gameplay loop and its ‘story’ you have the usual features included in a Senran Kagura title in the form of a dress-up mode and photo mode in which you’ll unlock more extras for as you complete the main mode. Of course, there’s also a ‘free mode’ in which you can touch Asuka as much as you want and even shoot her with a water gun.
So at the end of the day, just what is Senran Kagura Reflexions and is it worth the £8.99 (GBP) price tag? Well firstly, the title is best described as being a collection of mini-games rather than a visual novel, though elements of the latter are present. As for the price, so long as you’re aware of what you are getting yourself in to then yes, it is completely worth the price of entry. If it is any good though depends how you look at it.
At the end of the day, if you take Senran Kagura Reflexions for what it is then even with the somewhat disappointing HD rumble, odd physics and awkward motion controls, it delivers on what it promises. Beyond this, it is a silly title that offers a sexualised experience all with some nice visuals and performance. You can’t argue with the price and with more characters to come in further DLC packs it seems the title is here to stay. If nothing else, at least I got to spend time with a cute girl.
You might visit for the lewdness but you won’t be staying for long. Senran Kagura Reflexions falls short on its promises and ends up being a dull title that fairs to offer anything memorable.
Married a light cruiser. No, really