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Pawarumi from Manufacture 43 is a new shoot ‘em up that has found its way to the Nintendo Switch. Is it worthy of your time and money? Find out un our Pawarumi review!
Pawarumi is a top-down shoot ‘em up that has made its way from Steam to the Nintendo Switch, bringing with it a rather colorful, fast-paced and challenging 3D shooter you can enjoy at home or on the go. The main hook for Pawarumi is that depending on the type of weapon you use to defeat opponents, you’ll be able to heal your damage, charge your super attack, or maximize your damage output. You’ll need to balance these actions in order to also boost your overall score so that you can have a shot at gaining a slot in the leaderboard.
Once you start to move your ship around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, you’ll notice that your ship is equipped with three weapons: the Blue Condor Laser, the Green Serpent Gatling, and the Red Jaguar Missiles, which are used by pressing the Y, B, and A buttons, respectively – this will also change the appearance of your ship. Pay attention to the color of your enemies so that you can select to use a weapon of the same color, or use a weapon of a different color, to boost your ships health, attack power or super attack. Speaking of that, your super attack is mapped to the X button, and you can hit the brakes to slow down by pressing the ZL button.
The names for your weapons, as well as the whole universe created for Pawarumi, exist thanks to the inspiration the team found in the Mayan and Aztec cultures. The architecture and the lore of these ancient civilizations made the team realize that the giant stone structures the Mayan and Aztecs had built could certainly be interpreted as giant mechas, which lead the way for them to build a Pre-Columbian sci-fi mix that makes the game stand out from other entries in the shoot ‘em up genre. You take on the role of Axo, the pilot of the legendary Chukaru. She’s out on a mission to fight against the Council by making the most of Chukaru’s arsenal, and she won’t stop until the Council is no more.
Because of the game’s main gameplay mechanics, I suggest that before you dive into Pawarumi’s Arcade Mode, you give the tutorial a try. It is here that you will first notice how, as mentioned before, each weapon you use will change the look of your ship. Match the color of an enemy, and you will recover the shields of your ship. The game will then show you the paper, rock, scissors nature of its weapon triangle as you learn about the crush boost. Green attacks on red enemies, red attacks on blue enemies, and blue attacks on green enemies, will be considered crush attacks, boosting your damage output by 1.5.
As for the Drain ability, it is activated by attacking green targets with your red attack, blue targets with your green attack, and red targets with your blue attacks. Doing this will slowly fill up your super attack gauge located at the bottom right part of the screen, and once it is full, you can unleash a devastating attack that will hit everything on the screen when you press the X button – all while also giving your score a considerable boost. Your super attack can be charged up to three times, and when you unleash a level 3 super attack, everything on the screen is going to suffer.
To remember all of this, the game will help you by displaying a colored triangle at the bottom of the screen to let you know what color of enemy you can deal extra damage to by using your current equipped weapon. It will also let you know which enemy color you can attack to recover your shields by displaying it on the bottom left of the screen, while also letting you know the color of enemy you can destroy to boost your super attack gauge by presenting that color in the bottom right corner of the screen.
The game can be played in Easy, Normal, or Hard difficulties, but if you play on Easy, you will only have access to the first four stages in the game – Alaska, Industrial Complex, Xibalba, and Dune Ocean. To be able to see the fifth stage – K-7Z4-COA7L – you will need to play Pawarumi on the Normal or Hard difficulty setting. Your ship can only withstand three hits before it explodes, and since you only have the one ship, losing all of your shields is game over. This is why it’s important that you balance your attacks so that you can fill up your super attack and deal extra damage to enemies while also keeping your ship’s shield as full as possible.
A nice bonus for the Nintendo Switch version of Pawarumi is that you can go into the Settings menu and change from the original spaceship in the game to the aptly named Joyful ship. What does this name hint at? Glad you asked! If you select the Joyful spaceship, then the game will recognize the color of the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con that are connected to the console when you are playing Pawarumi, changing the color of the ship to match it! The more different your Joy-Con, the more colorful the ship will be. It’s a clever use of a feature of the console, and something I haven’t seen any other game do.
Pawarumi is a fun and challenging shoot ‘em up that stands out on Nintendo Switch thanks to its interesting setting and main gameplay mechanics. It will probably take you a couple of runs for the gameplay to click, but if you’re a fan of, say, Ikaruga, then you’re going to quickly see why Pawarumi is one to get on Nintendo’s hybrid console. The game is available for a budget $14.99, and it’s definitely worth every penny.
This Pawarumi review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Manufacture 43.