Senran Kagura Reflexions Review — A Defining Moment for the Joy-Con Controllers

Senran Kagura Reflexions is a series spin-off on the Switch that has you entertaining (read "massaging") series protagonist, Asuka.

on September 13, 2018 4:00 AM

Playing Senran Kagura Reflexions has definitely been an uphill battle for me. I wouldn’t even necessarily call Senran Kagura Reflexions a full-blown video game. It’s most certainly not what I expected it to be. There were many times I wanted to stop playing Reflexions but the game’s wide-eyed protagonist, Asuka, begged me to keep going, to keep shaking my two Joy-Con that cause her so much inexplicable joy.

Senran Kagura Reflexions isn’t a game my friends. No, it is something so much different. A new kind of entertainment that’ll change my perspective on the Joy-Con controllers… forever. I think I can hear the police knocking on my door now, but I will not falter. “Sir, put down the Joy-Con,” they say, but no I say back, Asuka needs to be rubbed, she needs to be cared for, and I’m just a young man who’s susceptible to her will and wants.

The Senran Kagura series is known for its over-the-top fanservice, and Reflexions takes the dial, pulls it off, and kicks you right in your damn face. Nintendo Switch, a console for kids you say? Marvelous doesn’t think so. You want your waifus on-the-go motherf*ckers you got it. Senran Kagura Reflexions will appease all your waifu-wanting needs on-the-go and beyond. Albeit I’m not sure this would be the best game to play on your morning commutes.

You begin your journey in a simple classroom. Sound familiar to a conventional anime or visual novel storyline? It is. You’re greeted by the series’ titular heroine Asuka. Then things get pretty wacky. Suddenly you’re thrown into a whole other ballgame. Rubbing Asuka’s hands (among other things) and smacking the sides of her thighs till she is flabbergasted with excitement. It’s ridiculous guys, it’s absolute insanity. Suddenly I’ve come to the realization that my 22 years on this great big planet have led up to this moment.

Senran Kagura

There’s a point in Senran Kagura Reflexions that will separate the boys from the men. Can you deal with the pressure of smacking the sides of Asuka’s thighs? She’s counting on you. It’s a lot of pressure but once you come out on top you’ll breathe a sigh of relief. BAM! The game hits you with a vibrator massaging minigame. Now I need to touch Asuka all over the place. Where does she want to be touched? I have no idea, I’m just poking away, swinging my Joy-Con around in a room by myself contemplating all of my previous life choices. Is any of this coherently designed? I don’t really know, sometimes she’s expressing joy and other times she isn’t and it’s totally a trip to even think I’m doing this. I almost forgot to mention that if touching isn’t really your thing, you’re graciously gifted a water gun, so spray away friends!

Senran Kagura Reflexion’s gameplay loop works like this: rub Asuka’s hands, rub Asuka’s body, then play a short massaging video game. If she has a good time she’ll reward you with love and more minigames. In all honesty, it’s boring as hell. It’s mundane, it’s meandering, and it’s not fun in the slightest. I almost feel like it’s unfair giving Reflexions a score as it’s clearly a title meant to pander to a very specific audience. I could forgive my gripes if there was literally anything else to do in Reflexions that’s enjoyable but there isn’t. There’s a photo mode where you can pose Asuka and put her in different locations. I found the photo mode to be more entertaining than the actual gameplay loop.

Senran Kagura Reflexions

Some of you guys might be thinking… does this guy even like waifus? Well, of course, I do silly. But you try and review a game like this. There’s practically nothing to review. You wanna shove a massager (read “vibrator”) on this girl’s chest till her cheeks turn red or not punk? Games I review usually have storylines, they’ve got some varied gameplay options, characters, etc. Senran Kagura Reflexions is nothing more than a game that’ll have you waving your Joy-Con around in one minigame to mixed results. I’ll put it bluntly, the motion controls are not good.

The Joy-Con controllers are the blood and bones of this game. You’ll always get mixed results with them. The developers are clearly trying to simulate touching a girl’s chest with that nifty HD Rumble Nintendo hasn’t spoken about since the groundbreaking launch title that was 1, 2 Switch. What they’ve managed to actually achieve though is making it seem like touching Asuka is akin to getting hit in the hands by a weak electroshock weapon.

The massaging minigames are incredibly easy, making them quite monotonous very quicklyThey’re short and can eventually be skipped. But once you skip them what’s even the point anymore? At that point, you’re just listening to Asuka praise the massaging skills you never even used in the first place. Where’s the fun in that?

Senran Kagura Reflexions asks players for a measly ten bucks. I guess I’d say that if you’ve got some buddies looking for a game to laugh at a bit, it’s so over the top even I smiled at its absurdity. It’s unfortunate that this one is just lacking any sort of core-gameplay that has made the series quite fun in the past.

Senran Kagura

Overall, the best thing I can say about Senran Kagura Reflexions is that its art style is consistent with other titles from the series. The game looks good. I just wish it was actually fun, but I also suppose it isn’t trying to be. I’m sure most if not all of those interested in this game made up their mind about it before reading this “review.” But hey, if you’re into it more power to you, the game will even be adding additional characters.

I didn’t really enjoy Senran Kagura Reflexions at all and I don’t think I’ll ever be going back to it. Somebody awaken me from my long Asuka-induced hangover when a normal Senran Kagura game comes out on Switch, it sure as hell deserves one on the handheld-hybrid. Also, nobody tell my girlfriend that I reviewed this. Thanks.

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Jordan Boyd is a Staff Writer at DualShockers, specializing in indie games, RPGs and shooting titles. He's majoring in journalism at Stony Brook University on Long Island. During the 7th console generation, Jordan faced a crippling blow with the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines that scarred him for life.