REVIEW: Pawarumi

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

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oprainfall | Pawarumi
Title Pawarumi
Developer Manufacture 43
Publisher Manufacture 43
Release Date July 24th, 2019
Genre SHMUP, Indie
Platform PC, Switch, Xbox One
Age Rating ESRB: E10+
Official Website

In the world of Pawarumi, the council maintains control of the empire by ruling with an iron fist. You are the empire’s best pilot, Axo. Along with Axo’s legendary ship, the Chukaru, you are on a mission to end this tyranny. Can you overcome all obstacles and harrowing odds to uncover a dark secret?

Pawarumi | Story

A quick story scene.

Pawarumi is a vertical-scrolling shmup, with a trinity weapon system similar to rock-paper-scissors. You are armed with an arsenal of three main weapons: Red Jaguar Missiles, Blue Condor Lasers, and the Green Serpent Gatling. Enemies also come in these three colors, each being weak to a certain weapon. Green enemies are weak to the blue lasers, for example. There are different effects depending on the weapon you use on a given enemy, though. The three colored areas at the bottom of the screen show the effects of hitting each enemy color with the weapon you are firing.

Pawarumi | It begins

Axo’s mission begins.

If you hit an enemy with a weapon that matches its color, this will slowly refill your boost shield (the bar on the lower left corner of the screen). If you take too much damage and your shield fails, you will die. Furthermore, death means game over, as you only have one life. When you beat a level for the first time, it unlocks the next mission in training mode, but only on the difficulty level you were playing on. This allows you to practice on certain missions before trying the whole campaign again.

In addition to recharging your shield, you can also recharge your super attack by using the right weapon based on the color of the enemies. This charge is shown on the lower right corner of the screen.

Pawarumi | Super weapon

Axo unleashes a blast of her super weapon, completely emptying its charge meter.

The super weapon can clear out a crowded screen, but it takes time for you to get it recharged. This means you will need to use it strategically. This, combined with the trinity weapon system, means there is a fair amount of strategy in the game. The rock-paper-scissors-style combat also keeps the gameplay more dynamic, as the best combat option will always be changing.

Pawarumi | Crushing foes

Axo crushes red foes with the Green Serpent Gatling.

Pawarumi also includes a scoring system and scoreboard. The amount of points you earn depends on the color of weapon you use on each foe. This isn’t the only consequence of your choices, though: when you try to recharge your shield, enemies will fire brighter, more dangerous projectiles that move faster. Because of that, trying to heal yourself can be a dangerous move depending on the situation.

Pawarumi | Ground foes

Some enemies on the ground attack Axo.

The gameplay is simple, but challenging to master. There are five different missions (four on the easiest difficulty mode), and a different ending depending on which difficulty level you play the game on. The order of missions is also different on different difficulty levels. After a few hours of gameplay, you’ll begin to feel like you have seen most of what the game has to offer (aside from harder versions of levels). The fact that death equals game over, and forces you to start over from the beginning of the game, also makes it quickly start to become a bit repetitive. The gameplay is fun on its own, though Pawarumi is also unforgiving, as getting hit just once deals a significant chunk of damage to your shield.

Pawarumi | Boss Fight

Axo takes on a boss battle at the end of a level. Here I try to recharge my shield, and in response the boss fires slightly larger, and faster projectiles to try to thwart me.

The soundtrack of Pawarumi is a fast-paced, high quality one that fits the hectic action very well. The sound effects are also well done. The sound track is also available as paid DLC for those getting the game on Steam.

Pawarumi | Blasting through foes

Axo blasts through a large group of green fighters.

Pawarumi has an interesting combat system that takes a little getting used to, but it’s fun once you do. Having to always restart from the beginning of the game upon death makes it certainly more repetitive, though. However, its greatest flaw may be that it handles difficulty in a much more punishing way than Rolling Gunner does. That game is a bullet hell, and yet much less grueling than Pawarumi. If you don’t like punishing difficulty, then you will likely want to pass on this game. If you’re a fan of the genre and harder games in general, then it may be a good fit for you. I’ve spent about 4-5 hours blasting through foes so far across two difficulty levels. The game is available on the Nintendo Switch, Steam, and Xbox One for $14.99. Do you have what it takes to get all three story endings, and uncover a dark secret?

Review Score

Review copy provided by publisher.

About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.