Senran Kagura Reflexions could be described as an “intimacy simulator”, where you touch and respond to an emotional anime-style girl character through the use of the Nintendo Switch’s unique Joy-Con controllers. I think it’s obviously a strange game for a Nintendo system, or even a home console, but despite its appearance it’s not an adult game, it’s just a mature game. There’s little to no difficulty here and in fact it’s more of a relaxing exercise than anything.
The game is played primarily through its Reflexology mode, in which you escalate the fantasy and mood of the girl character by touching her in different ways and in different places, according to how she responds. First, there’s a “Standard Reflexology ~Hand~” where you touch the palms of her hands, working your way up each finger. She will begin to have some sort of fantasy, depending on where you touch her hands. These can range wildly like being a teacher or a pop idol. If you continue touching her hands, you move on to a “Standard Reflexology ~Body~” where you’re drawn into her costumed fantasy and role-play, where similar touching continues all over her body (but over her costume). Again, she likes some touch and doesn’t like other touch, so if you continue with what she likes, you’re drawn into the last course, which is called a “Glorious Reflexology”. In this climactic part, you give her a pounding massage along her thigh, move a roller along her buttocks, or brush her along her arm, all using the Joy-Con controllers.
The game is oddly immersive through its controls. When you’re touching the character, you’re making a similar motion with your hands, and the Joy-Cons’ accelerometers and HD rumble add two more dimensions to the experience. The “Glorious Reflexology” requires you to make motions with the controllers between some point which is too soft, and another which is too vigorous. Up against the clock you must focus on a single motion of the controller, which happens to match the action on the screen, all while receiving feedback from the character in the game, and the Joy-Cons themselves.
There’s a few extras in the game besides the “Reflexology” mode. There’s a “Dress-Up” mode where you pick a hairstyle, outfit, lingerie, and accessories for the character, which are earned through playing. There’s a “Mini-Reflexology” mode where you freely touch the character from “Dress-Up” mode, and there’s a Diorama mode where you freely pose the character in different settings for viewing only. There’s also downloadable content for the game: Different characters, outfits, accessories, etc., but some of it is the same price as the game!
Overall, the game is a small experience, and I think it’s only a novelty. I’d say it doesn’t even approach the Cooking Mama series if you’re looking for these sort of immersive controls (I know they’re different!). Because first, it is a weird game for most people to begin with, and second there’s nothing more to the game than what I was able to spell out in a few paragraphs above. There’s no challenge: It’s just you touching an anime-style character and dressing her up for more touching.
I think this game will be an interesting footnote in the history of the Nintendo Switch. For that reason alone, it’s worth knowing about, but I don’t think it’s worth playing unless you already like these sort of mature or adult games on the PC. There are problems with the graphics and sound. I saw weird places which I can only describe as where polygons meet but shouldn’t be visible. Some of the hairstyles also go right through the headpieces which can be worn by the characters. Although the game is fully-subtitled, the audio is only in Japanese. I don’t think people will play this game for its audio, but it is why I think the sound (like the game itself) is only worth considering to those that are into this sort of thing. All others need not apply.
Senran Kagura Reflexions Review
- Graphics - 6/106/10
- Sound - 6/106/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Lasting Appeal - 5/105/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Senran Kagura Reflexions is a novelty for its shameless premise, but makes surprisingly good use of the Nintendo Switch’s Joy-Con controllers. At its current price of $9.99, it’s worth considering for those who might enjoy its unconventional offering of light petting.
Senran Kagura Reflexions was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Evan Roode is a full time journalism student and amateur game historian. His favorite song from Guitar Hero III was “Even Flow”.