Anime Racing Review

Kandagawa Jet Girls – Review | Racing on the River

Wild and Wet Racing Girls

Kandagawa Jet Girls has teams of two racing their way through the rivers of Tokyo, all aiming to win the Kandagawa tournament. One jetter controlling the jet machine and one shooter, aiming to take down anyone getting in their way. You can follow the stories of these teams and take them to victory.

This jet racing game is an adaption of the recent anime of the same name. Kandagawa Jet Girls is primarily a racing game but has story scenes throughout.

Kandagawa Jet Girls - Story


The game opens with a brief cutscene to introduce the teams entering the tournament. It gives you a good idea of their personalities and works quite well for that. 

As you start the game, you can play the story focusing on the Kandagawa Jet Girls, which is the team of Rin and Misa. These are the main characters of the anime. It briefly mentions how Rin has recently moved to Tokyo to race and how her mother used to be a racer and goes into Misa’s reasons for not racing anymore. Most of the story is not at all serious though.

As you progress through the game, you unlock the stories of other teams. After chapter six of the first story arc, I could access some other teams and more unlocked were from completing further levels.

Each story is different from the story of the anime somewhat as well as from the other stories in the game. They were often similar though. Different people won and you got to explore each of the team’s reasons for trying to win. Getting to know the characters a bit more is one of the better aspects of this, particularly if you are already a fan of the series.

With that said, I can’t really rate the story as particularly good. It mostly consisted of some fairly shallow reasons to get into a jet race, with occasional funny scenes or plot-relevant scenes mixed in. As an early example of how shallow the reasons were, one reason to get into a race was competing over who had the right to buy the last box of macaroons. There was another very similar one, where they competed over who could buy the last pair of keyrings. Sadly, there’s no epic sports anime-style story here.

Luckily, I’m personally not here for the story, but instead the gameplay.



Kandagawa Jet Girls comes with several modes. Story mode, standard races, time trials, minigames, and multiplayer. The story mode is the most prominent of these. I’ve already commented on the quality of the story, but I’ll briefly touch on how it works in-game. 

In short, story mode alternates between visual novel style gameplay and races. The visual novel style scenes are using voiced 3D animated characters rather than the 2D which appear in most visual novels. These story scenes are generally quite short – there isn’t a huge amount of story in each arc. The animation and voicing do really help bring it to life though.

The other modes are essentially what they say on the tin. Racing without any story, time trials where you can compete for times on a leaderboard and multiplayer with up to four players. You can play as any combination of characters in these.

The racing sections are where the game gets interesting. You control both the jetter and the shooter to some extent. That said, most of the time you will be controlling the jet machine, racing along the river.

I really liked the courses themselves. They’re full of power-ups to collect, boosts to run into, a mix of gentle and sharp corners to race around and giant balloon obstacles which sometimes hide bonus points. There’s quite a nice mix of layouts too, with some being rather hectic and others being more gentle.

Racing is surprisingly in-depth. You’re not just avoiding obstacles, picking up items and taking on corners with a well-timed drift, but dealing with ramps, pulling off tricks to get a variety of bonus effects, deciding between landings which earn more boost or one which keeps your speed up and more. I find myself constantly making choices between which is the best option, instead of just pushing along and picking up power-ups like some other casual games.

I should mention that there is a good tutorial. It does take a while to go through, but the sections on handling the nose of the jet machine, drifting, landing and the effects of tricks all came in particularly useful. It helped to explain the shooting too, which I’ll discuss briefly now.

The shooter on the back has two main ways of attacking. The standard shooting and weapon items. You can use a normal gun at any time and it just shoots until it runs out and then has a short waiting period. I found it a bit difficult to aim at other jet machines – I was driving and shooting simultaneously while doing this. I’ve found it the most useful for shooting balloons. This makes them turn into smaller balloons and eventually be destroyed, both clearing the way and revealing anything hidden inside.

Kandagawa Jet Girls - Shooting

After collecting items, you can use one of eight different weapon types ranging from rifles to mines to rocket launchers. These can be fired forwards or backward at the other teams and by default are automatically aimed at anyone within range.

While you are using the weapon items, the jetter drives automatically. It was quite interesting as I was expecting to need to control the driving the entire time. You can’t just switch to the weapon item and let them drive constantly though – you can get knocked out of the shooter mode. One time I was in shooter mode and the jetter drove straight into an obstacle knocking me underwater. Don’t expect to win automatically, even if you’re far ahead of the competition.

That brings me onto the next point – I was always ahead of the competition. Kandagawa Jet Girls is an absurdly easy game. I’m not particularly good at racing games, but I’ve still never found it difficult to finish in the first place when playing this. The difficulty does increase over time, but it was hours until I even saw the second-place racer anywhere near me through most of the race. It was most often a case of hitting them at the start with a weapon and then not seeing them for the rest of the race. I found the racing fun, but I never found it challenging to win.

One thing which did add some challenge was the ‘To Do’ list – basically challenges. Some of these were very easy such as winning in the first place or keeping up a certain speed. Some were frustrating such as using a weapon a certain number of times – I had to actually stop and wait for another racer to come into view to shoot them. But the real challenge was in ones like don’t touch the walls for the entire race. These had me driving a lot more cautiously and often not able to go as fast. Completing all three challenges on a level unlocks a cosmetic item to buy in the shop.



As you play through the game, you’ll unlock cosmetics both for the characters and for the jet machine. As well as these, you’ll unlock parts to upgrade the jet machine’s performance. In both cases, you’ll need to buy them from the shop before equipping them. Buying cosmetics and parts are both fairly cheap at first, but does get pricier – you can earn points via racing and minigames.

The characters have both a normal outfit and a racing suit. Each can be customized by changing to the clothes of other characters or other unlockable suits. There’s plenty of extra clothes, including bikinis and swimming suits. In addition to the clothes, hairstyles and color can be customized. Accessories can be added on. Even eye and skin color can be changed.

All of the character customizations carry through to both the story and the racing sections of the game. This is happy news for those of you who want to see the girls constantly wearing low-cut bikinis. There’s a reason why this game has very noticeable jiggle physics.

Jiggle Physics

I was impressed by the amount of customization the characters have and how it carries on throughout the game. The appearance of the jet machines don’t have as much customization, but there are still sufficient enough changes able to be made there.

I did like how the performance customization worked. As mentioned, you need to unlock new parts as you progress and then buy them. Each machine can hold a certain value of parts, which increases as you go through the story with that team. This means you can’t just unlock a ton of high-value parts and put them onto any machine. 

Parts can increase different statistics, such as your acceleration, maximum speed, and handling. Some are more specific, such as increasing handling but only when the nose of the jet machine is down. You can choose to specialize how you like or even take off all the upgrades to try and add to the challenge.

Kandagawa Jet Girls - Mini-game


While only a small part of the game, the mini-games are worth mentioning. There are a few where you can earn quite a few points for your unlocks. There’s a quick time event style washing game, a game where you’re cleaning up and have to dodge puddles, a game where you’re training by running on a treadmill and need to catch points and one where you need to do tricks and collect points.

I found that mini-games were an easy way to gain a ton of points to start the game with. The balancing could be better here really. They’re a fun distraction though and it’s nice to have some gameplay outside of the racing.

Graphics and Audio

Graphics are mixed. I feel like the character models are quite high quality and these are the focus most of the time in the story scenes. The jet machine and most of the levels look quite good too. Sometimes it is let down by some of the backgrounds or little features like crowds that look like cardboard cutouts.

The audio is quite good overall. The voicing is very well done and is part of the package that puts so much life in this game. Some of the music does feel a bit too dramatic for the situation at times, but it’s all great and there are over 40 tracks so quite a lot of variety. A lot of it is quite upbeat and happy, which fits the mood a lot of the time.

Racing Girls


I did feel there were some issues with Kandagawa Jet Girls. Of course, there is the big one already mentioned – it’s far too easy. I’m currently playing this before launch, so I can’t race against others yet but I imagine this will make things more exciting. 

Loading times are far too long. Both the loading between levels and even loading within a menu. I’m playing on a PlayStation 4 Pro, so this may be less of an issue on PC. Of course, it may be even more of one on the original PlayStation 4.

I did feel like the user interface could do with some improvements. You cannot see challenge requirements except at certain points. They can only be seen before you start a section, then you sit through some story, then there’s plenty of loading time and then you finally start playing. Players might forget what the challenge is by that point and you can’t see it again until after the level. Another thing was being unable to purchase upgrades or cosmetics unless you enter from the main menu. You can equip different cosmetics just before a level, but not buy them. It’s pretty inconvenient.

Another minor thing is that some of the dialogue doesn’t make sense when racing. The dialogue was sometimes as if I was losing or it was neck and neck. This could happen even if I had a thirty-second lead.

My opinion is that there are definite improvements which could be made. None of the issues are really bad, except for the lack of challenge. That said, they are all things I would like to see improved.

Kandagawa Jet Girls - Racing 2


I feel rather mixed on this game. On the one hand, there are quite a few good things. I really enjoy the feel of racing, the way the shooting works, the courses, and quite a bit more. I liked the challenges too. Customization is great, with characters able to look completely different and performance upgrades being possible. Mini-games were a nice touch too.

On the other hand, it’s far too easy. When I’m slowing down and waiting for opponents to catch up so I can shoot them to complete a challenge, it’s a serious problem. There are also issues with the user interface and loading, both of which slow things down a lot. The story wasn’t great either, but I don’t hold that against it too much as it’s primarily a jet racing game.

I think the decider here is the price. It’s a reasonably expensive title for something with flaws that affect the experience so much. If it wasn’t for the difficulty issue, I’d have a much easier time fully recommending it as the racing gameplay is genuinely good. If it was less expensive, then it would be more justifiable as something to pick up to casually play with friends.


Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC

If you would like to see more racing games, you may be interested in our review of Gensou Skydrift, another anime racing game.

Many thanks go to Marvellous Games for a PlayStation 4 review code for this title.

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