Kandagawa Jet Girls Review – Ready, Set, Get Wet

Sometimes, I think I’m long overdue a proper platinum; You know, one where you have to put a bit of effort in, but that effort isn’t so long and intensive that one may find themselves flirting with other games. Now if you could make such a game one that’s full of anime-girl fan-service and doesn’t take itself too seriously, that’s usually always a bonus. Today’s review is for a racing game too which is something really out of my comfort zone. I think the last racing game I actually finished was Sonic R back in the days of the Sega Saturn. So yeah, a long, long time.


So, what is it? Kandagawa Jet Girls is the next project from Senran Kagura creator, Marvelous. It exists very loosely within Senran Kagura’s universe and is also based on its own anime series but features a different cast of main characters, all pretty girls, giggly and jiggly. It has the same girly silliness and rivalries as its predecessor but without the more serious plot, violence and villains lurking beneath.

The anime television series by TNK aired from October 2019 to January 2020, while the accompanying game, published by Marvelous and developed by its subsidiary Honey∞Parade Games, was released in Japan for the PlayStation 4 in January 2020. The western version of the game was released for the PlayStation 4 in August 2020. The North American version was published by Xseed Games, while the digital-only European and Australian versions were published by Marvelous Europe.


Jet Racing is a popular sport where teams of two girls work together. They consist of a Jetter, who pilots the watercraft, and a Shooter, who fires a water gun at rival teams. There are seven pairs of girls, each representing a different school with something to prove. As such, it’s little more than a rival-schools jet ski tournament.

You’ll gradually be introduced to each pair as you work through the story chapters and get to play as everyone eventually, yet sadly none of the cast bring anything of value to the rather weak story. As nice as it is to see a storyline in a racing game to motivate the player, there just isn’t enough going on to keep things interesting and I frequently found myself skipping most cut-scenes just to get the next race over with.


The player controls both the Jetter and the Shooter and switches between them at will. When the player switches to controlling the Jetter, they can use boost and drift manoeuvres, and when they switch to controlling the Shooter, they can use the items obtained which are scattered around the circuit. Unlike in the anime, where the roles are fixed, the player can switch who is the Jetter and who is the Shooter.

Story mode will likely be your top of your priority list. Here, you’ll work through chapters, each centred around individual stories for each pair of girls. This mode has some differences from what will happen in the anime and completing a character’s story reveals information that isn’t in the anime. The mode’s stories are narrated through dialogue scenes between the races.

There’s a ‘Free mode’ with racing against the CPU in non-story matches. Here, the player can pair up any couple they wish. The player can upload their best time to online leaderboards. This lets the player pick the rules, like selecting the circuit, the number of laps, the CPU’s strength, etc. Alternatively, we have an online multiplayer mode, with up to 4 players being able to race against each other, with casual and ranked matches.

The player can perform tricks during your jumps to get speed boosts. There’s also a handy quick-start trick mechanic if the player presses the accelerate button on the second start light with the right timing, granting them a starting boost. Unfortunately, mechanics can be fiddly, so studying the tutorial section really pays off to help you master those more unusual controls. There’s also some undesirable loading on each menu and even the races can feel underwhelmingly slow at first.

If you’re patient though, you’ll find fixes for each issue soon enough. Upgrade your jet ski with parts bought with points earned in races and mini-games to get a hefty speed and acceleration boost. The game actually runs more smoothly the faster you travel. This is also helped with some practice too, as you’ll gain additional speed boosts from performing those fiddly tricks, drifts, and boosts, and maintaining that speed is much easier when using your Shooter character to blast obstacles rather than rival racers.


We touched on the performance earlier, but the frame-rate could really benefit from a boost, though as discussed earlier, this does become less noticeable over time, as your skills, error corrections, and jet ski top speeds rise. Though bright and colourful, there isn’t a whole lot of variety in each of the courses and I genuinely had difficulty telling many circuits apart. Things only got a bit more diverse when I had to do a race at night or in the rain.

The characters like great, though. Everyone has identifying differences in their appearances to help you tell the girls apart, right down to a variety of hairstyles and colourful, multi-toned wetsuits. Later, the player can make any character don any other character’s costume and hairstyle. They can change the colour of the skin, clothes, eyes, eyebrows, and hair, and jet skis can also be customised.

As is usually the case in Marvelous games, the characters are only dubbed in Japanese, which in this case makes for a lot of reading in cutscenes which aren’t terribly entertaining to begin with. At least, the catchy pop-punk beach soundtrack works well enough to keep us nodding along from start to finish.


Playing through every story chapter while picking up most of the bonus stars from completing certain mid-race requirements, dabbling with the quirky mini-games, and performing a number of basic tricks was enough to secure this platinum, and a fun one too, at least once you get those clunky first few hours out of the way. You’ve always got multiplayer if you want to come back for more, but the online community isn’t exactly booming.


Despite the slow start, it’s a game that warmed on me as I learned a small amount of mastery, and rather than simply beating the frequently easy opponents, I was dominating the track. Sadly, this feel-good factor didn’t last as the story mode’s final chapter introduces a more antagonistic rival team and brings with it a staggering difficulty spike which took me a few tries, some revision of the more advanced mechanics and a lot of luck to stumble through.

There is potential here. Since Wave Race is a thing of the distant past and the Dead or Alive Xtreme games ditched the pretty girls on jet skis mini-game in favour of simpler activities, I can’t help but feel Kandagawa Jet Girls has found a gap in the market. It just needs to offer more of what’s already on show. More drama in the story, more speed and immersion in the gameplay, more traditional fan-service from the girls (bikinis will always trump wetsuits) and just generally more bang for your buck.


  • Pretty character models… with jiggling
  • Colourful environments
  • Catchy soundtrack


  • Boring story
  • Not much diversity in courses
  • Hit-and-miss frame-rate

Kandagawa Jet Girls

Above Average

An enjoyable yet very bare-bones anime racing game which can't seem to reach its potential with its average gameplay and boring story.

Gary Green
PS4 version reviewed