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 Post subject: Pawarumi (XBOX One - PlayStation 4 - Nintendo Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:17 am 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 334
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time for an unique shooter. Yeah, I'm talking Pawarumi.

Colorful Neo-Aztec Arcade Shoot-out!

The gameplay can be compared with Treasure's classic shmup Ikaruga, since its based on color polarity. Unlike Ikaruga where you only had black and white, Pawarumi uses the basic "Red, Green and Blue" or RGB color, not just for scoring, but for other capabilities like increasing the damage inflicted upon an enemy.

RED JAGUAR MISSILE: The RayStorm Lock-On Laser like weapon. Fires missiles that lock on enemies as long as they're within the targeting cone, pretty much like the Free Range from Thunder Force V.
GREEN SERPENT GATLING: This R-Type-ish spiraling beam is the standard machine gun weapon due to its rapid hits.
BLUE CONDOR LASER: The frontal laser beam that demolishes anything on its path.

Color Polarity plays three key factor in this game: Boost, Crush and Drain.
BOOST: Firing a specific colored weapon on the same colored enemy will replenish your shields (Example: Red Jaguar Missile against Red Jaguar Enemies). This also gives you an average score bonus.
CRUSH: Some colors can inflict great damages on others. The Green Serpent Gatling causes extra damage to the Red Jaguar (red colored) enemies, Red Jaguar Missiles will harm the Blue Condor Enemies, and Blue Condor Laser will inflict heavier damages to Green Serpent enemies. Destroying an enemy using the Crush grants you a larger score bonus.
DRAIN: is used to replenish the Super Attack, but here's the catch: grants you the lowest score bonus if you destroy an enemy while draining. To drain an enemy you must use the Red Jaguar Missile on green enemies, Green Serpent Gatling on blue ones, and Blue Condor Laser on red vehicles.

You have also a SUPER ATTACK, which is the bomb of this game. The Super Attack unleashes an 360° curtain of white bullets that will hit nearby enemies and make combos with those it destroys or hits, You can charge the Super Attack up to three levels, the higher the level, the more powerful and it becomes.

Pawarumi, while taking notes from Ikaruga, it makes a few twists to differ from any other "Clones" like Iro Hero. While Ikaruga uses color polarity as shielding/death evasion and bonus mechanic, Pawarumi becomes more tactical with the color polarity throughout the use of the Boost, Crush and Drain, as the game demands to use your abilities to recover or reload your Super Attack. Learning this is essential in this game as the difficulty curve will require you from shifting from your high scoring offensive tactic to a more defensive position.

You can select three difficulty levels. On Easy you can only play the first four stages, while in Normal and Hard will allow you to play with all 5. In an attempt to make each route unique with very limited levels, the order of stages is changed, in a way, this idea works quite well adding something new to the overall difficulty.

Oh, that classic "My friend's are trying to stop me" cliché.
I know that story since Princess Natsukitlapocatl tried that before.

Despite being called "Arcade" this game features Story Mode elements like dialogues during battles, which like Otomedius Excellent, Solar Shifter EX and Natsuki Chronicles, they don't interrupt the gameplay, adding some "lore" to the game and the world within it while you blast the enemy out of the skies.

*John Williams' "The Raiders March" plays in the background.*

In the Xibalba stage, you'll be pitted in an "Indiana Jones boulder scene" where do you have to shoot down enemies with the Crush to keep the boulder as far from possible.
If you always wanted to know how an Indiana Jones shmup would look like, this will be the closest thing to it.

Playing a guessing game with "El Esqueletor"...I always have bad luck on those games, so my chances of winning are below zero already.

Another thing to mention is that the boss battle in Xibalba is the worst of all. Because after destroying one of the boss parts, you'll be playing a guessing game based on the traditional "Dónde quedó la bolita?" (Where is the ball?) or "Shell Game" where do you have to use a specific weapon on the specific color. If you screw up, the boss will regenerate, and you have to destroy it again and hope the next time you get the right shot and color. Simply, this was a good idea, but wrongly executed (a 360° bullet hell curtain of bullets is already enough punishment if you make a mistake). Also, you can't screw up too much because if you take a lot of time during a boss battle (any boss), you'll see how 4 lasers will reduce your navigation space until they finally destroy you for failing to kill the boss in time, and in the Xibalba boss is one hell of a problem 'cos you'll be in a hurry and that pressure on the player will make him/her to make even more mistakes that will result in Game Over.

Well, here's a hint: Focus your eyes on following one color (blue for example), once Cholkuel says "Drain!", "Boost!" or "Crush", shoot the weapon used on that color.

*In Captain Maroon's voice* ¡¡¡KISAMAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Now we are talking [Expletive]. This game is plagued by unfair difficulty instances that kills the overall fun. First off, the sudden "pink bright" bullets that are faster, curve-making and worse, homing capable (Dune Ocean boss) puts you in a very bad situation due to its unpredictability, resulting in a "How familiar you are with the "Pause-Unpause-Move-Pause-Unpause-Move" trick?" situation in the Hard difficulty. And it gest worse and worse. The worst problems of this game are the unbalanced damage received, even on Easy, one bullet can drain almost 1/3 of your life bar, while recovering it requires you to destroy a lot of enemies. But the worst of all the problems is that you only have one life. One single life and you're done for. Even worse, there's no continues either. At first I thought it was like the Arcade Mode in Natsuki Chronicles where you can unlock continues by playing the game and progressing further on it, but unfortunately, its not the same case in Pawarumi. And don't even get me started with the Xibalba boss fight and the K-7ZA-COA7L cannon at the beginning of the stage, because the "Use the Super Attack against the cannon" trick is useless in Hard because it deploys a force field, resulting in a waste of time that will ultimately lead to instant death, not to mention the irritating laser-bullet maze that you have to navigate through, its pure "ragequit". Oh, I almost forgot, don't bother unleashing the Super Attack on the final boss, it is also immune to its attacks.

That Captain Maroon's voice yelling "KISAMAAAAA!!" you've heard after reading this was probably you. ¿Still thinking you're Top Gun enough for Pawarumi, or "The end is inevitable" for you and you'll die tryin'?

Also, to reach the complete ending you have to finish the game in Hard, just like in Contra III: The Alien Wars. The only difference was that Contra III was challening but fair and fun, and Pawarumi blows up the fun factor with insurmountable problems bringing any veteran player to its knees. Clearing the game on Easy and Normal only works to obtain achievements and unlock their stages in Training.

Praise them, praise their spirits at the end of the night, the dawn will surely come.
Grant them repose, grant their souls peace for new beginnings.

If you haven't finished the game in Hard, then don't bother trying 'cos I'm gonna tell you why. The ending of this game is another addition to the list of "Die for nothing" endings like Hovership Havoc and Boiling Bolt. After defeating your own tribe, and the aliens responsible of the tribe's downfall, your ship runs out of energy, drifting in space and worse, there's only 10 minutes of oxygen in the life support, so basically Axo is screwed since she has no way to return to Earth.

Even I couldn't say it better, Natsuki.

I wanna make a comment about this because this "Kill the female protagonist" premise just sucks. ¿Why does the game designers have to kill the girl?, ¿What's the point of make them commit a heart-breaking sacrifice to save the day?, ¿It was really necessary to go that far?. The worst examples of this: Kaoru Togo's sucide attack in Hellfire S: The Another Story and both Crueltear and Exelica's sacrifice in Triggerheart Exelica. I can tolerate the fact that they've get hurt like Terri/Ellinor in M.U.S.H.A./Musha Aleste because they're still alive and they will recover, but killing them off is just pissing off the fans.

Simple words to warm the cold truth: Your efforts went down the drain.

If the ending totally sucks, the epilogue is less motivating, 'cos there's not even a single scene to tell us about a brighter future for Axo's tribe survivors or something to bring you a slight feeling of victory and motivation.
The whole thing feels like "Yeah, yeah, yeah. You've finished our game, now get out of here." To put it simple, the ending of Pawarumi is like inviting your girlfriend for a drink and give her the finest, most expensive one, only to see her throwing the glass on your face with a face of disgust, calling you an idiot. But the "Congratulations!" screen is like if everyone in the bar suddenly throw the glasses, cups and even beer bottles at you for no reason like if it was a food fight where everyone is against you. It really, really, REALLY sucks to be you in this scenario again. Yeah, I'm trying to be fun again, but actually I'm trying to explain how atrocious and lame this is.

Along with the Tutorial and the Arcade Mode which is the main game, you have a Training mode where you can select one of the stages you've unlocked. If you die in Training you're given the option of restart the stage or quit, but instead of sending you back to the stage selection, it sends you all the way back to the "PAWARUMI!" screaming title screen.

Need a little help for break the "Programmers Score" in this game?
Here's three hints that might help you to get those "You Destroyed Thomas/Alex/Daniel!" achievements.

Give your heart, feel like a bird in the sky.
Flying on the wings of love. Come into my open arms.

On Itzamatul, you can take advantage of the green turrets using your Blue Condor Laser as they deploy infinitely, until you see two diagonal lasers getting closer because you're taking too much time to kill the sub-boss.

¿Enemies keeping you away from opening the lock?
No hay problema. Take'em down and get some good bonus points from them, amigo.

In Xibalba, you can take an advantage of the constant enemy spawning after breaking the first lock. Once again, use the "Crush" weapon to pick the highest bonuses from the enemies.
Keep in mind, two "beam walls" of energy will begin to get close to you after taking a lot of time to solve the Keylock puzzle.

Getting 600 Hits is like as easy as going to sleep.

Getting the 500 hits achievement is easy: You need to reach the K-7ZA-COA7L stage on Normal. Once the timer begins, unleash the Super Attack on the cannon to destroy it and get more than 600 hits, unlocking the "Sorry, My Brothers" achievement.

ONE FINAL WORD OF ADVICE: If you're on an "Achievement Hunt", just forget about "Vengeance is Bliss" (clearing K-7Z4-COA7L in Normal or Hard without getting hit) because it's completely impossible due to the stage length and worse, the laser-bullet labyrinth that will crush your patience beyond belief.

Chaos Queen: Techno-Mayan Edition.

In graphics, this game is a wonder. The first thing we've noticed is how they break with the military, traditional sci-fi or medieval fantasy, and makes a high tech version of the Aztec and Mayan cultures, just like Uchuu Densetsu Ulysses 31 (Ulysses 31) was a futuristic adaptation of the Greek mythology of Odysseus. As a Mexican gamer, I really appreciate this original take on our culture since Mesoamerican cultures were already advanced with all their knowledge.

Your ship, Chukaru, makes a transformation everytime you use a weapon. Using the Blue Condor Laser turns your ship into a bird-like thing shaped like the bird from the Nazca lines, Red Jaguar Missile into a jaguar's paw with claws, and the Green Serpent Gatling into a snake's head with its fangs extended. Firing the weapons also bring cool effects like the bird that opens its wings when the Condor Laser is fired or the snake opening its jaws when you fire the Green Serpent Gatling. The Xibalba stage reflects the concept of the mayan underworld perfectly with those skulls floating around in the spiraling river of energy seen during the boss battle, making a perfect combination of technology and mythology rarely seen in today's games.

Ancient Futurism, the perfect blend between two different timelines in one spectacular game.

The architecture of this game is truly extraordinary. Since the science-fiction blends with ancient aztec-mayan culture, it brings an incredible fusion of tribal architecture with futurism as we have these ancient stone-like pyramids and structures with energy lines running through them in the style of Transformers War For Cybertron, as if the ancient structures have pulsing energy running through them.

Enemy command ship within range. Distance 1,000. Confirming DPU.
Entering Attack Mode.

There's also room for shmup nostalgia, and that's during K-7ZA-COA7L, there's parts of the stage that reminds me A LOT of the battle with Hannibal, the giant battleship from RayStorm.
I swear, this stage sounds better with the song "Metaphar" instead of the game's original stage theme.

Behold Mumm-Tron: The Jaeger-Living

Being a Neo-Aztec shooter doesn't mean mecha is out of the game. Itzamatul's boss features a fight with a stone-made mecha that sometimes remds me of a mix between Big Fuzz from Contra III: The Alien Wars and Spartacus from RayStorm.
During the stage you can destroy the shoulder pads and the crown with the Super Attack before they're equipped on the robot. This grants you the "Get Naked" achievement.

If Cenes Crawford and Alex Heatburn had a daughter, this is how she would look.

Please, please, please. Don't even get me started with the "Why they didn't used anime styled girls?" topic again. I've already made fun of this a lot of times.
Anyway, here's the Pawarumi's cast roll call: Cenes Heatburn (Axo), a rip-off of Quan Chi from Mortal Kombat (T.I.C.A.L. Commander), Skeletor's mexican relative (Cholkuel), Cobra Baroness with an Evangelion plugsuit (Dune Ocean worm pilot), and Axo's brother (Itzamatul's mecha pilot).

Out of the joke, the character design breaks from the common anime style in favor of the western-realistic style aiming for a cross between Todd McFarlane (Spawn) and Jim Lee (Gen13, Neo Contra) blended with some manga-like influences like those from Ikaruga and Defenders of Ekron: Definitive Edition, which in my perspective they look quite good if you're looking for something different from the anime style, although there is a slight anime element in Axo's Alex Heatburn-esque haircut (YOSHAAAAAH!!). Also, the artwork breaks with the traditional pencil as they look more like brush paintings, for instance, on the T.I.C.A.L. Commander, we can see "traces" of used brushes on him. Although they're not anime styled, it's good to know they're not aberrant nightmare materials like Fission Superstar X, Straimium Immortaly or worse: Sine Mora EX.

CortésHawks: Los Conquistadores Galácticos.

Another interesting thing about this game is how they keep the Aztec references even on the alien faction. While they are metallic entities, they have a spanish "Conquistador" look, refering Hernán Cortés (who the Aztecs thought he was the return of Quetzalcoatl) and the downfall of Tenochtitlán.
If you wanted to know how a fusion between Hernán Cortés and the SilverHawks ("Los Halcones Galácticos" (The Galactic Hawks) as they're known in Mexico) would look like, this will be the closest thing to it.

The music of this game can be called "Thunder Force Aztlan Mix" because the soundtrack of this game does one specific thing: blend the "Tribal" style drums and flutes with some hard rocking, fitting perfectly with the Neo-Aztec-Mayan thematic of the game, just like Cusco's Apurimac II: Return to Ancient America referred the Mayas in New Age style and Apurimac III: Nature - Spirit - Pride was Native American themed, the soundtrack of Pawarumi could be nicknamed "Apurimac IV: Mayan Technology" even if it's not Cusco-composed. However, in the K-7Z4-COA7L stage, the game changes the pace for a more techno-like rhythm. The final battle changes the musical style again for a more sinister organ keyboard tune that would fit perfectly on a Castlevania or Bloodstained game.

Despite lacking voice acting, with the exception of the ominous "PAWARUMI!" at the title screen, the game music and on-screen script does the job, I guess for the sake of not ruining the musical experience of the game.

- The concept of Neo-Aztec/Mayas with flying machinery is very similar to the Precolumbian Quimbaya figurines, also known as the "Tolima Fighter Jets", which "Ancient Astronaut Theorists" suggest these renditions of birds, insects and fishes are ancient intepretations of alien aircraft. This ancient spaceship mystery also inspired pop culture with cartoons and games like Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom and the Centurions: Power Xtreme episode "Firebird".
- T.I.C.A.L. is a reference to Tikal, the ruin of an ancient city, which was likely to have been called Yax Mutal, found in a rainforest in Guatemala.
- Xibalba is is the name of the underworld (or Mitnal for the K'iche') in Maya mythology, ruled by the Maya death gods and their helpers. In 16th-century Verapaz, the entrance to Xibalba was traditionally held to be a cave in the vicinity of Cobán, Guatemala. Cave systems in nearby Belize have also been referred to as the entrance to Xibalba. In some Maya areas, the Milky Way galaxy is viewed as the road to Xibalba.
- The word Xibalba means "Place of Fear" in Mayan.
- Old Zealand's description as "still red and burning" implies that the area uses the geology as an industrial complex as they take the raw materials and use the 2,000°c tempearatures to forge directly from the magma that flows directly from the geological fault lines, most probably the Alpine Fault which is the limit between the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates where New Zealand's South Island is in between them.
- K-7Z4-COA7L refers Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind, air, and learning. Its name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "feathered serpent" or "Quetzal-feathered Serpent".
- The achievement name "It's over 9,000!" refers to the famous Vegeta meme from Dragon Ball Z.
- "Unlimited poweeeeeeer" is a reference to Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
- "Return of the Killer Cheeses" is a pun on the movie Return of the Killer Tomatoes.
- "Who controls spice..." comes from Baron Vladimir Harkonnen's quote "He who controls the spice controls the universe" from the film Dune.
- "Don't Stop Me Now" and "Cos I'm Having A Good Time" refers the song "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen.
- "Don't Stop Me Now" is also the name of a dance club song by Loft.

Pawarumi had a lot of potential with its incredible gameplay and its original premise, but in the end Manufacture 43 and Ebim Studio dropped the ball, badly. It's a crying shame since the game feels like the spiritual successor of Ikaruga. If Ikaruga is "Project Radiant Silvergun 2", then Pawarumi is "Project Radiant Silvergun 3" even if it wasn't developed by Treasure.

If you're tolerant, VERY TOLERANT with the unfair difficulty, you'll might love this game, 'cos anyone else will probably pull the plug on clearing the game in Hard.

To Manufacture 43 and Ebim Studio: Dudes, you have to rebalance the whole thing because the unfair damages and 1 life, no continues makes Hard difficulty unfair and almost unplayable.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

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