I was recently allowed to try out the newly released Nintendo Switch version of Pawarumi, by Manufacture 43. Pawarumi is a modern shoot’em up set in a pre-Columbian inspired futuristic universe. You play Axo, pilot of the ship named Chukaru, the most powerful vessel in this world. Think of this game similar to arcade-y games like Ikaruga and Gradius V.
The game was presented with three difficulties in Arcade Mode: easy, medium and hard. I choose the easy mode which had 4 stages. So let see if this game can fly high like Ikaruga or will it fall flat into a mediocre game.
Space, The Final Frontier
You play as a singular spacecraft that must fight through many enemies. How you fight them is the interesting part. This game has a function called the “Trinity Mechanic”. Each enemy is powered by the energy of one of the deities. Your weapons not only cause damages to them but also have different effects depending on the weapon used to hit them. You have three different coloured weapons to use: red, blue, and green.
If you use the blue weapon on an enemy that is coloured green, that would activate the crush effect which does double damage. There is also a boost effect which refills your health and a drain effect which charges the super attack. The super attack is pretty much an all-out attack where you fire blasts all over the screen. While the gameplay is not as bombastic or eye-popping as Ikaruga or other similar games, it’s still a fun time. Also, having the portable option due to playing on the Nintendo Switch is also a nice benefit as well. If there is one thing I would improve on the gameplay is the speed. Sometimes I feel like the spaceships could move a bit faster to get that fast-paced space action. But overall, the gameplay is really enjoyable if sometimes confusing with the “Trinity Mechanic”
There’s A Story?
I briefly touched the premise of the story at the beginning of this review. Unfortunately, I can’t say more about the story because from what I’ve seen, the story is sub-par at best with various space cliche sprinkled throughout. I find it bizarre that the game only has 4 lines of dialogue sentences during each stage of the game. The story is pretty much a revenge & redemption story. Also, I think voice acting would really help with the quality of the story and perhaps even get me interested in the narrative of the world.
Another addition I would have liked if the relevant characters talked sometimes during the stages, similar to the dialogue talk in Kid Icarus: Uprising.
I won’t be too harsh on the game itself for the story because shoot’em up games never really had story as the main focus of the game. The only shoot-em up games I can think that had a good story is the aforementioned Kid Icarus: Uprising.
If there is one positive I can say about the story is that its world narrative itself is interesting to me. Having a game set in a sci-fi themed pre-Colombian universe is a unique premise to me. I just wished that the game took advantage of the setting a bit more.
A Universe Full Of Sound & Colours
While the story is lacking, the design such as the character design, sound, music etc. of the game itself is fascinating. Starting with the character designs. Some of the characters look great including Axo herself. Each leader/boss of each stage also has a wonderful design for them. However, there are only 5 bosses so there are not many characters to admire. The spaceships and the environment in each stage are also pretty impressive for a Nintendo Switch game.
Thankfully, each stage has a unique style and theme to them such as snowy Alaska or the sandy Dune Ocean. All of this comes together with the great sense of colour that the developers had. I don’t think there was a time where I noticed a dull area, instead, everywhere I went had at least some form of colours to it which suit the style of the game’s world.
The final thing I want to acknowledge is the sound and music. While I think the sound effects sufficient enough including the laser sounds, space engines and more, the music is pretty hit or miss in my opinion. Some tracks vary from relaxing to exciting to some tracks that are just dull and forgettable.
Overall, while I found the story highly lacking and some smaller elements such as the music being disappointing. I found the gameplay of Pawarumi to be quite fun, especially on the go with the Nintendo Switch. If you are a fan of shoot’em up games like Ikaruga and Gradius V, you will enjoy Pawarumi. However, if you are new to the genre, I recommend picking something simpler to try first.
You can buy the game for $15 on Steam right now or on Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
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- THE GOOD
- Fun Gameplay
- Beautiful Character Designs
- Immersive Sounds
- The Trinity Mechanic
- Portable Option (Nintendo Switch Exclusive)
- THE BAD
- Poor & Lacking Story
- Forgettable Music
- Slow Combat
- No Innovation On The Shoot’em Genre