Kandagawa Jet Girls is a multimedia project with an anime that was released in 2019 and now a videogame to accompany it. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the anime as the story is simple enough to get to grips with, it’s all about pairs of girls who are pursuing their dreams to be jet racers. Jet ski racing definitely seems like something that should be easy to make into a fun game but this attempt is just far too shallow.
At its heart this is a simple racing game where you’ll be driving your jet ski through a course filled with obstacles to avoid and ramps that let you pull off tricks. There are also item boxes that allow you to pick up random weapons. Once you have one of these special waterguns you can let the computer take over the driving and switch control to your team mate to do the shooting. You’ll need to slow down your rivals by breaking their shield while trying to avoid them doing the same to you. Unfortunately this is all far more interesting on paper than in reality.
Kandagawa Jet Girls Review – It’s Story Time
The main bulk of the content in this game is in the Story Mode. There are seven duos who each have their own story arc to play through. At the beginning and end of each race you’ll get a cutscene which will give you the motivation for your next race as well as slowly letting you get to know all of the characters. It’s all very simple stuff, like a rival team wanting to restrict your access to the river, or you fighting over the last box of macaroons in a bakery. While the little stories initially feel quite cute it doesn’t take long for the writing to start to feel a bit monotonous. Most of the story arcs have such low stakes that it’s difficult to care about any of it.
It also doesn’t help that the races themselves are ridiculously easy. Normally it’ll only take you around 30 seconds to pull away from the rest of the pack. What then follows is 3 to 4 minutes of you riding around a track completely on your own. A lot of racing games have rubber band AI (where computer-controlled competitors can always catch up with you) as a way to create a consistent bit of challenge throughout a race, but there’s nothing like that here.
It’s a shame as the opening moments of a race are actually pretty fun. Using water guns to hold off your opponents is really entertaining but unfortunately, with no options to increase the difficulty, it never takes long before you’re out of weapons range and by that point there is nothing that the AI can do to catch up to you.
The game tries to add in a layer of complexity by giving you the choice between using your boost gauge or saving it up. If you get it to maximum then you can use it all up in a powerful attack or defensive technique. It just feels like a pointless option to have when the enemies are all so far behind you. It’s far better to just keep boosting whenever possible, at least that way the races are over quicker.
Kandagawa Jet Girls Review – No Challenge
There are other game modes available, such as a Free Mode where you can race on any track that you’ve unlocked in the Story Mode. Here you’ll actually get the opportunity to select a harder difficulty but sadly it still suffers from the same problems, as soon as you’re out of weapons range there is not a lot that the AI can do to catch up to you. There’s also an Online Mode which should hopefully provide more challenge when the game is released, but this is assuming that you will be able to find anyone online to play with.
Playing through the Story Mode will unlock new things for you to purchase in the shop. There are loads of cosmetic things for you to buy and it’s nice to be able to change the look of your whole team. There are also new parts that you can purchase to improve the performance of your jet ski but it’s not like you really need much as it’s already fairly easy to completely decimate the competition.
You’ll gain points from racing that you can spend in the shop, but the quickest way to earn them is to play one of the four mini-games. These are just silly little things like collecting hearts while running on a treadmill or performing tricks on your jet ski. Playing through these mini-games is actually far more entertaining than many of the story races.
It’s a real shame that even though the game looks so bright and colorful the whole package is just incredibly dull. With only a handful of game modes, a bland story, and no local co-op mode to spice things up a bit, it’s not going to take you long to tire of this. Even if you’re a fan of the anime it’s probably better to give this one a miss.
Kandagawa Jet Girls review code provided by publisher. Version 1.00 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.