Originally going into this game expecting a visual novel, what I experienced was vastly different to anything I’ve played before. Senran Kagura Reflexions is an ecchi fanservice fest dedicated to Asuka.
First and foremost, if questionable content and the blatant objectification of women offends you, Senran Kagura Reflexions is not for you. The game features gameplay segments that are quite lewd in nature but then again, what would a Senran Kagura title be without its focus on the fanservice.
Players will be introduced to Asuka at the Hanzo Academy. Asuka’s been feeling rather strange lately and asks for your help with trying to pinpoint exactly what’s making her feel weird. Using basic hand massaging techniques which the game refers to as “Reflexology”, you will be able to trigger a range of dream sequences. Asuka’s dreams are rather varied and each one caters to a different otaku trope niche. There’s everything from the perfect jpop idol to the incestuous little sister here and it’s amazing how much effort was actually put into this by the developers.
Each scenario features its own mini storyline and the dialogue can either be cringeworthy or rather cute. The premise behind the dream sequences involves the player helping Asuka feel better by giving them a massage using reflexology techniques. The game, however, makes things rather awkward by first making you feel Asuka up. Caressing specific locations on her 2D body will trigger a colour coded visual effect. Red, orange, purple and green effects will show up based on where you touched Asuka. Touch her enough in one location and it’ll trigger that particular colour’s story sequence. This is where the reflexology segment kicks in.
Initially, only the “Hands” technique is available and this involves giving Asuka a bit of a pat down on her inner thigh. The motion controls involved with doing this are absolutely horrendous however and you’ll more than likely strain your wrist trying to perfect this technique. Using the joy-cons attached to the switch is a safer option for both your hand health and mental health since the sheer frustration of trying to maintain the “Pleasure” meter at the right level using the motion controls is immense. The analog sticks are easier to handle for this particular reflexology technique.
Once Asuka’s pleasure meter is full, players can trigger the end of the sequence and she’ll divulge some more of the throwaway story to you and a crystal will fill up with a colour coded liquid. The dream sequence will then end, you’ll unlock various cosmetics and possibly a new reflexology technique and then you’re free to start again.
The other reflexology techniques include using a brush to stroke Asuka’s arm, a roller wand to massage her leg and an extremely ominous looking wand which is used on her belly. Each reflexology technique features a different control scheme but all are equally annoying except for the wand which is the easiest to use. In fact, players will probably never use the other techniques ever again once unlocking the wand just to avoid the frustration the other techniques cause.
While some of the dialogue in Senran Kagura Reflexions is cringeworthy, trying to complete the story is actually to a certain extent, fun. I however had way more fun playing dress up with Asuka and altering her outfit with the unlockable cosmetics. Being able to hide the UI at any point in the game is a nice touch as this allows for an unobstructed view of Asuka in all her 2D glory.
Asuka is fully voiced in Japanese and the soundtrack used in the game is quite good to be honest. The only major gripe I had with the title apart from the obvious issues mentioned above is the fact that there is only 1 character to interact with. Asuka’s non-dream world personality seems fine but fans of Senran Kagura would definitely want to interact with their favourite characters in both the academy setting and in the dream world too. There are DLC characters and scenarios but at $10 a pop, only the hardcore series fans would consider these.
Overall, Senran Kagura Reflexions is a title aimed at the otaku fanservice crowd that loves Senran Kagura and all it stands for. Even more so if Asuka is their favourite character. For everyone else, this is a title that can easily be skipped and all the frustration caused by the motion controls can be avoided.