Senran Kagura: Peach Ball

Humans have a lot of big ideas about themselves.  We think we have deep interiority, “intelligence”, complex minds, a central place in the world and the universe.  In reality, we are a very poor sort of animal, burdened with a pre-frontal cortex whose reflexive and reflective functions impede our functioning and prevent most of us from ever truly being happy and content.  We are led down a hall of mirrors looking for a “self” that doesn’t exist, trying endlessly to tell a story about ourselves that is consistent and heroic; this is an impossible task, for we are neither.  We get anxious about our own mortality, we get paralyzed by the idea of illusory choice, we obsess and niggle over things that literally do not matter to our survival, and our too-complicated brains twitch, zap, and malfunction, causing us to develop all manner of fearsome illnesses.  Other beasts are much more honest and less hobbled.  Cats, dogs, raccoons, rabbits, and bears simply live.  Only humans are so clumsy, stupid, and ill-formed as to mistake power and currency for food.

Compassion, love, and cooperation exist everywhere in the animal kingdom, and when we partake in that natural communion, we are at our best, worthy to stand alongside the other creatures of this planet as part of the great continuum of life.  However, humans are among a tiny minority of species whose members are mostly incapable of even the most basic fellow-feeling.  We leap gleefully at the tiniest opportunity to exclude and debase each other.  We kill, imprison, and torture each other without remorse or sympathy.  Worse, our cruelty is not confined to our own; we inflict lasting harm on all life that comes into contact with us, devouring and corrupting without restraint.  As base beasts, we are of course incapable of learning en masse from our own history and improving ourselves as a species, just as cats and dogs are.  But, in our hubris and dishonesty, we have built institutions and systems around ourselves that carry on our twisted, irrelevant goals through sheer momentum regardless, leading to monstrous injustices and atrocities that will most likely end all life on our ball of dirt except for the mighty and ever-enduring cockroach.  So much for homo sapiens.  We will not be remembered.  “For the play is the tragedy, ‘Man’, and its hero the conqueror worm.”

Senran Kagura: Peach Ball is a video game in which some ninja girls with gigantic boobs and big butts get turned into non-human animals (sort of, they’re basically sexy furry cosplayers) by a magical potion.  The player is tasked with turning them back into human animals by smacking their tender bits with a pinball that “releases mist” when charged with “the proper vibrational energy”.  It is completely ridiculous, and I love it.

There are unfortunately only two tables, though they have a lot of hidden mechanics and the game is both more difficult and complex than it at first appears.  The Shinobi table in particular has minigames on separate boards, that only appear after making several difficult and precise shots to collect coins on the board.  Simply completing each table is not that hard, as the mechanics and physics are not really true-to-life but instead lean heavily in the player’s favor, with very generous returns and ball-saving measures in place.  But racking up high scores requires the player to deliberately hold off on completing the “Super Sexy Challenge” for as long as possible, while hitting as many scoring elements as possible besides that one.  You also want to trigger and stay in “Hustle Time” and “Super Fever” or whatever (the multiball modes) as much as you can, since being in any Fever tier locks you out of the SSC, letting you continue to amass points freely.

All that said, however, there are definitely better pinball games out there.  This is the bare minimum as far as that’s concerned.  I don’t see the game having a whole lot of appeal to die-hard pinball fanatics unless they’re also here for the titties.

The game is full of cheesy fanservice, to an extent that I’m frankly amazed that Nintendo allowed it on the Switch.  Good for them, though.  It’s always better to be honest with ourselves.  We enjoy this sort of thing, and that’s okay.  Fully naked, highly idealized anime women on display.  There’s plenty of material here for titillation and masturbation, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself for enjoying it.  The line between furry cosplayer and “human” is a blurry one, the game constantly reminds us, and many of the girls behave the same whether they’re “animals” or not.  As should we.

It’s a shame, then, that the game only contains a few of the girls from the Senran Kagura cast.  I would do unspeakable things to see Daidouji in this, for instance.  There’s lots of unlockable costume items, board backgrounds, ball graphics, hairstyles, accessories, etc to get.  But there’s only two tables.  Hopefully, more content will come as DLC; so far, all they have on offer are more of the kind of thing you can buy in the shop with in-game money anyway, nothing that substantially changes gameplay.  Even without any extra content, however, SK:PB is a great way to pass some time for degenerate failed animals like us.

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