Pawarumi (Switch, Xbox One, PC)

Pawarumi is a 2-D vertically scrolling shooter that uses themes from Mayan and South American culture, although if I didn’t read that in the press release, I probably wouldn’t have known.  Use three different kinds of weapons to fire at colored enemies to boost your shields, power up your special weapon, and take out enemies quickly in this downloadable game for Switch, Xbox One, and PC (reviewed on Switch here).

Pilot your craft through stages set in areas like the Alaskan pipeline, futuristic pyramids in the jungle, etc.  The enemies you face will come in three different colors: red, blue, and green.  You can also fire weapons of those colors, too.  There is the straightforward always on laser called the Blue Serpent, the rapid fire Green Condor, and the homing Red Jaguar.  Depending on which weapon you use against each colored enemy, different things will happen.  If you shoot enemies of the same color, that powers up your shield, which lets you take extra hits.  That’s easy to remember.  But what isn’t easy to remember is what colors are strong against certain enemies, and which other color combination will fill your screen clearing special attack meter.  And it’s also hard to remember which button fires what weapon at first.  At least you know to always avoid pink bullets.

Aside from the main Arcade Mode, there is a tutorial mode that explains all this, as well as a Training Mode that lets you tackle individual stages you’ve unlocked.  The only problems that I had with this one is that it’s very hard, and if you lose in Arcade Mode, you must start over at the beginning.  The game does tell you which colors will fill up which meter, but it was still hard for me to keep up with and remember.  The color gameplay mechanic kind of reminds me of a more complicated version of Ikaruga.  Also the game could’ve used a two player co-op mode and vertically scrolling on a rectangular TV can make the pink bullets kind of hard to avoid sometimes.  But if you want a 2-D shooter with a somewhat unique theme and gimmick, then you may want to check this one out.

Kid Factor:

Pawarumi is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You shoot all sorts of futuristic craft that explode when defeated, but that’s about as violent as it gets.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

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