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Pawarumi (Switch) Review

August 14, 2019 | Posted by Adam Larck
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Pawarumi (Switch) Review  


How do you improve on genre norms?

We all know key games in the shoot ’em up genre. R-Type, Gradius, Galaxian and more are some of the standards for the gene, but there have been outliers that shine.

With the evolution to more of a bullet hell style, Ikaruga has been a strong example of how to put a unique twist on the genre. By having the black/white mechanic where you could absorb bullets and cause additional damage, it added an element of strategy to a genre that didn’t have much.

Now, we have Pawarumi. Now available on the Switch, it further refines the genre. Instead of having just two colors, Pawarumi Introduces three: red, green and blue.
Depending on the color you’re on, a color appears behind your shield, super attack and middle area of the screen. If you attack an enemy with your same color, it replenishes your shield slightly. if you attack with the color over the super weapon, you slightly charge that bar. If you use the middle color, you do bonus damage to the enemy.

Because you can always have a way to regenerate your shield, you only have one life in levels. That means the skillful will be able to bounce between colors, building up super attacks and mowing down enemies with bonus damage, while newer players can stay with the same enemy color to make sure their shields stay charged.

Early on, this may seem like a challenge. While it’s simple enough to remember red enemies with a red ship boosts your shield, you may often forget what color red is best against and what color charges it’s super weapon (blue and green, in that order).

The game has five total stages, mixed differently depending on the difficulty you play on. Easy gets four stages and gaps between enemies to think of your next color choice, while medium adds an extra stage and plenty more enemies. By hard mode, you’re in full bullet hell territory, so be prepared for the challenge.
Once you’ve cleared a level, it will be unlocked in training mode to try and get used to certain patterns to rack up the most points you can. Unfortunately, there’s really not much to write about with the options in the gameplay.

The main mode does feature a bit of a story, but like most games in the genre, it’s largely forgettable. You control Axo as you try to save humanity and seek revenge on those that wronged her. While the neo-Aztec atmosphere is interesting to see, the story really won’t leave you captivated.

Probably the biggest shortcoming for the title would be split between the lack of modes and lack of a quick reset. A boss rush mode or an infinite run mode could have made it interesting for fans to keep trying new seeds of randomly generated enemies to compete for a high score.

However, the annoyance can come when you get to the harder levels and keep dying as you learn the layout. You can’t just quickly restart the level. You go to the high score screen, get kicked to the menu, restart the level there, skip through the cutscene and finally get back into the action. By simply letting players skip all this with a reset at the end, a lot of hassle could be avoided.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Overall, Pawarumi is a solid entry for the genre. It gives an interesting twist to make fans want to check it out and see what makes it unique. While the game itself may be short experience, it'll be one you enjoy.

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Pawarumi, Adam Larck