Switch version tested
Review code provided
Lord Shmup reporting for duty with Pawarumi, the dark and eerie space shooter by Manufacture 43. For fans of Ikaruga, it has a similar feature of swapping between different colour weapons to do more damage for certain enemies. Choose one of three difficulties and start a run, then check your personal scores against the worldwide leaderboard. Let’s begin.
Pawarumi starts with cut scenes that are still shots of incredible artwork with the storyline written at the bottom of the screen. Introductions to each level are INSANE! I absolutely love how the game shows your ship and the environment in a 3D twisted camera view while exploiting oncoming enemies and surroundings. What a great way to start each world. All terrains are colourful and very catching to the eye.
As stated in the introduction, there are three different weapons to change between and the player must swap between them often. Playing the tutorial was helpful to understand the mechanic but I was still a bit confused. Y, B, and A automatically change to each assigned weapon but must be used against a different colour enemy. The best way to keep the opposite colour enemy in mind is to memorise the colour to the button, against what colour the weapon shoots. Maybe I’m confusing myself but that helped me determine which gun to use. Whichever weapon you’re currently shooting will display the weak enemy colour at the bottom middle of the screen if you’re not towards the furthest point of the screen.
- Match weapon and enemy colour to heal shield (difficult)
- Green weapon hurts Red enemies
- Red weapon hurts Blue enemies
- Blue weapon hurts Green enemies
- Use opposite colour weapons to kill enemies and recharge super attack
Hone your skills in the training portion at the main menu to get better at certain levels. Each training level is unlocked when you’ve progressed to that stage in arcade mode. Pawarumi has three difficulties to choose from and I always find it best to start on easy then work your way up. It not only allows the player to better understand the game and mechanics but gives a sense of accomplishment in progression. Check the leaderboards to see how well you rank against the others. Otherwise, you may as well start on hard difficulty.
Let’s get to the important factors that make a shmup playable: controls and shooting satisfaction. Controls feel good on the easy setting but once you bump up to normal and hard difficulty I wish the ship moved faster. I can’t tell if there is a specific hitbox on the ship, or it is the entire ship. If you asked me, it would be the entire ship. Shooting satisfaction is a weird space for me because the three different types of shots aren’t satisfying but the enemy explosions are. The blue weapon is a horizontal streak that starts from the ship to the end of the screen regardless of the enemies you encounter, so that’s it doesn’t stop when hitting an enemy. That’s just okay and doesn’t scratch an itch for shooting the bad guys. The green weapon looks like a braid that will also extend to the end of the screen but will occasionally stop the stream when hitting an obstacle and sometimes enemies, so that’s a bit better. It also sounds like a machine gun which is cool. Finally, the red weapon is an absorbing type gun that is the least satisfying to use.
My first plays in Pawarumi were in handheld mode because that’s my go-to playstyle on Nintendo Switch. What I came to realise, is playing in docked mode is AWESOME! Graphics look better and the details show through in a way I didn’t think possible. Usually, I’ll take handheld over docked but if you have the opportunity it must be tried in docked mode. Music takes over and the game becomes tenser in a gripping fashion.
Main level music is super creepy and reminds me of a horror film or video game. In game music is intense and very fitting in the higher difficulty settings. I tried training and lasted a shorter time than in the arcade mode? I’m not sure how that mode works but nothing was said onscreen that was any different than the normal game.
I’m not a fan of the weapon swapping and the inherent confusion it brings. This takes away from the game and it bums me out because it’s the main mechanic. Screen shake is the perfect amount, enemy explosions look great, and the 3D background movements are absolutely insane! I love that part so much. Worldwide leaderboards are scarce because of the number of people reviewing the game, but I’m sure to be knocked down plenty once the game is released. I look forward to seeing gameplay from others as I enjoyed my time spent with Pawarumi.
TBG Score: 7.5/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 24/07/2019
No. of Players: 1
Video Capture: Yes
File Size: 878 MB
Category: Action, Arcade, Shooter
Publisher: Manufacture 43
Download link: eShop