July 24th, 2019
When we got offered the chance to review Manufacture 43’s newest offering Pawarumi at first we didn’t know a whole bunch about it apart from early release trailers that had been shown off. We knew it was a frantic ball’s to the wall shooter of some kind but we had no idea it was a shoot em up. Inspired by Cave games of old with a western view and new fundamental changes to gameplay to try to shake the genre up a bit. Whilst we came away from our time with the game feeling inspired that another worthy shmup had hit the market, should you be investing your time and money into this? Read on below to find out!
So let us start off this review with the obvious Pawarmui is a top down Shoot em Up title which is often referred to as a bullet hell or Shmup game. Games often associated with their tough difficulties but simple mechanics. You fly around you shoot the enemies all whilst avoiding the hundreds of projectiles coming at you on screen all at the same time.
This title is no different, but with that said it does try to dip its toe in the water and achieve something a little different in how we can tackle the enemies. You see when we fly around we are only granted the use of one ship or hero if you were. You see in this game we are given the option to shoot the enemies with three different styles of weaponry. Each weapon is mapped to a different button on the controller with your super weapon being mapped to Y.
Each of the games enemies appear to be colour coded as to what weapon they are most vulnerable too. However if you feel like it you can still attack them with any of the weaponry on hand it’s just they make take a little longer to drop or you may not get an points towards boosting that super of yours.
You see if you use your super, unlike other games like it where you can build it up again via the various amounts of points you earn from enemies. In this title you need to be constantly thinking about how you kill or attack something, attack the wrong enemies in the wrong ways for too long and you will see that your super bar just doesn’t rise up at all. However start attacking them in the right ways again and the super will start to raise at a hefty rate making it worthwhile to kill properly
Playing on each of the games three different difficulties brings with it added levels of depth, play on easy and as long as you are good at dodging you shouldn’t face too many issues, but as that difficulty cranks up as will the amount of things you need to take on. One of the biggest issues with the difficulty adjustments however is the fact that if you play on easy, you don’t get to play all of the games stages.
For some reason two of the stages are exclusive to normal and hard modes respectively and getting to these stages isn’t going to be a cakewalk either. I found it slightly odd to fragment the stages the way they did, as it means you as the player may learn certain enemy route paths for each stage on easy, but going into Normal things are going to get a whole lot more difficult for you.
The bosses however within each stage all have their own unique styles of attack and various ways to kill them. Using the crusher weaponry however seemed to be an easy way of identifying each of the bosses and normal enemies weak spots though due to it highlighting where it will attack. This obviously became a favorite weapon of mine pretty quickly and with how the weapon homes into certain areas of an enemy it meant I didn’t need to give too much thought into positioning whilst I attacked.
The games other weapons though all have their own takes on doing damage, even if the wave based weapon feels like possibly the weakest of the three, it is good to see that all of them can get some use in one way or another.
The final thing I will mention however and quite possibly the coolest addition to the title is the fact that the leaderboards for the game seem to be incorporated into the HUD. As you keep and gain more points you will slowly see your leaderboard position begin to change. Starting off at 101 you will begin to slowly raise up the ranks, and this is fun to see if a little distracting perhaps. It doesn’t help that there are achievements for getting to 1st place for each of the modes and doing so brings pride knowing you beat the developers in score.
One of the games various mini bosses don't think this will be a cake walk on hard difficulty.
From the moment you load the game and an announcer says the name of the title, you get hit with this pulse racing music to get you ready for what is about to begin.
This doesn’t let up once you decide upon a stage to take on though either, as you fight the various enemy forms you will be met with this blend of orchestral, dance and slightly rocking riffs that will certainly keep you intrigued.
As you fight the enemies though depending on what forms of firepower you decide to use on them, each enemy you kill will let out a meaty death sound, be it from being vaporized to just being crushed from the bombs you laid down to it.
This isn’t a title that really has much going for it in the audio department as quite frankly it just doesn’t require much to make a title like this work. With that said however and one area I felt really disappointed in was with the story cutscenes.
As the cutscenes play out you quickly notice that all of the dialogue is missing, and you just get left to read it out yourself. I know by getting a voice actor in to relay what is on screen could add an unnecessary development fee to the game, but overall it would have made the title seem like an already cooler package than what it already is.
Pawarumi looks great to put it in simple terms. Blending 3D seamlessly onto essentially a 2D flat battlefield it looks really good. The title kind of reminded me of a more colorful and sci-fi stylized version of Under Defeat.
Whilst I won’t try to dwell on how the game looks as hopefully the screenshots can show that I will say that each of the enemies feels unique in it’s appearance having been rendered in full 3D. The attention to detail in some of the areas is also varied from stage to stage. Be it flying through a tropical paradise surrounding by ancient glowing ruins. To feeling like you are taking on the enemy during a flight through a lava infused volcano there is much to see here and nothing ever really feels the same.
The presentation of the title is kept to a minimum especially with the HUD, you get displayed literally all the information you need to know in small and easy to read areas of the screen. Everything else is left as an open canvas on a battlefield essentially, nothing to block or obscure your views. The in game menus are nicely laid out and are equally as colorful too.
Seeing as there aren't any additional modes to the game you can easily access anything from the menu with ease, and as one final point I would like to make regarding how the game looks. The level boss designs are simply fun and unique to look at, never have I felt in a game like I was taking on one of the boxing robots from Real Steel then what I do when playing this, and hey that is only one of the designs, wait until one gets real ‘Hands On’ with you and that is all I will say.
However in game cutscenes a bit like the missing dialogue for them feel a little bit of a let down. Told in some form of comic book styling I found reading or watching the cutscenes not all that interesting and In truth I often just skipped past them in an effort to get to the next area of the game. If you was to ask me what the story was about I wouldn’t be able to tell you as the presentation just seemed to lack in this possible one vital area.
Pawarumi really is a nice looking game though. Bright, colorful and vibrant through and through, you will be easily forgiven to not notice the incoming projectiles ready to blow you up with the sense of color that goes on around you.
Just make sure you attack these enemies using the right weaponize and those massive lazers will not touch you.
Like most games in this genre this is a title that will take many rounds of practice and frustration to try to get further and further into the stages. During my run through I started on the easiest difficulty to try to get a feel for the mechanics and I thought this would be a good idea for my first dry run.
It was fair to say come the second level I got taken down in pretty quick succession as the waves of enemies got slightly bigger and bigger enemies approached onscreen. Saying that however easy isn’t too difficult to best as long as you think on your feet and try not to go all guns blazing into the incoming waves of foes.
The game even tells you once you beat easy that the game is only just beginning now, and when you go into Normal mode you really do get hit by a new wave of difficulty that you wasn’t sure how the game would initially drop onto you. Fighting on stages you already beat a difficulty before but now with the added bonus that you get an additional x2 amount of enemies I can tell you isn’t fun. Add on the fact that now the bullets really do fly, and you will be left scampering for your life as you fly frantically across the screen dealing as much damage as you can in a short amount of time.
This obviously only accelerates even more on hard too, as the enemies now need even more damage to go down and bosses have slightly different patterns than what they had before. Using your supers will also help you out in a tough situation no matter what difficulty you play on. But with that said you will always be wondering when really is the best time to unload my super as you never quite know what the game will throw at you next.
With all of this said though the game never once felt like it was cheating me out of a life. For every slightly mistake I made I knew I would be able to make it up somewhere else If I could keep my cool and try to stay calm. Every time you hit something and die you get that odd satisfaction that you know you are to blame and not the game.
In truth this is a list that only seasoned veterans of the genre are going to lap up and enjoy, there really is some hard milestones to reach if you are planning to obtain as much of the list as possible. That and practice – many, many rounds of practice will be required to memorize enemy and bullet trajectories so you know the best routes to take throughout the stages.
On the subject of practice however, the game apparently knows that practice will be in order to get the most out of the game as there is indeed an achievement for completing one hundred practice rounds which will no doubt take you some time, but maybe you will be a pro by the time you finish this. On the flip side however you do get one achievement each for completing the story mode on each of the games difficulties.
You also get achievements for beating each of the games stages without getting hit by anything at all, this isn’t a small feat on the easiest of the three main difficulties, and however the requirements also subject you to achieving this on normal or hard. Something that using those practice rounds will no doubt come in handy for due to the sheer carnage that will go on around you.
If all of this does sound a little too hard and challenging for you, and like we did warn you at the start of this section, this is a list designed for the veterans of the genre. Then maybe you can take solice In knowing that each of the stages has its own unique based achievement that you can try to do whilst blasting the enemies. Be it from completing a stage without shooting anybody, to leaving a certain enemy alive once a boss is dead. These are slightly easier if not by much.
Lastly we get the average cumulative achievements. These are all things you will gradually work your way towards, however the requirements are all so high that you may have stopped playing the title before you even get to fifty percent complete for them. Such as crushing thirty five thousand enemies may seem fun, but will take a very long time.
Either way the list is a fun challenge, but don’t expect to take away many of the games thirty achievements if you are just a casual fan of the genre. A list that could of done with a few other easier tasks to help round it out, and hey even though we have thirty achievements, twenty more easier ones may have enticed people to keep playing some more perhaps?
Pawarumi is a short, straight to the point and very fun Shoot em up title. Whilst I am not overly sold on the new mechanics it tries to introduce in the way of tackling enemies. The fact they laid the groundwork for even further adaptation gives me excitement for the genre which is often deemed very samey from title to title.
Being able to earn back your shields or life I guess was a nice touch and it shows that one bad section of a stage isn’t potentially going to leave you doomed for the rest of the game as long as you are able to keep it together and mow down the incoming hordes.
The game looks good, plays great and at the price point fans of the genre should really give it a look, sure the game good easily have been longer. But the bosses are fun to take on and the various stages have many different enemies to learn and dodge. You can easily play far worse for more of that hard earned cash of yours.
Final Score 7/10