Its the last day of Nemontemi; end of the 3rd calabtun, Axo, the Empires best pilot vows to avenge all the fallen because of what the council have done, the ones who have been tainted and destroyed. This is Pawarumi, a top down shooter with some really cool features and fast paced game play. If you’re a fan of spaceships and explosions then this is one for you.
Pawarumi isn’t your everyday run of the mill top down arcade shooter, oh no. This game has a few extra brain testing features that confused me at first, but overall work really well. Manufacture43 are the team behind the game, and this French team have hit the nail on the head when it comes to making a game stand out both visually and easy to play – but not so easy it gets boring.
The game features two main modes – a tutorial to help you learn the ropes, with the main focus being the arcade mode. Unlike most top down shooters this game has some rather unique abilities in place so I would recommend playing the tutorial first – this will teach you the basics of the game and ease you into the arcade mode. Once you feel comfortable enough its time to get stuck in. Now, you have three difficulty settings to choose from – easy, normal and hard, each offering you a different amount of challenge in the way the arcade mode is played out to you. If you start out with easy mode you can expect only four levels, each with its own boss. Once you have defeated them you will get your first ending, whereas normal mode is five levels with a different ending. Finally, hard mode shuffles the levels around and increases difficulty on all enemies and boss’s.
You play as Axo, a kick ass women who’s set her sights on destroying the council – the group who control most of the nations. At Axo’s disposal is her ship the Chukaru – a ship like no other, with three types of powerful gun, a special ability and a strong shield. Making use of this effectively is the only way to rid the nation of the council and its puppets.
Upon choosing your difficulty level you set out to fight your way through plenty of enemies, in true Shoot-em-up fashion. But there’s a strong old school vibe to the game. What I mean is the fact you have no lives and no continues. When you die, that’s it. You will need to go back to the beginning and start from scratch. This gives you extra determination to try harder each time you play. Unlike more modern rogue-lites (and in keeping with the old school feel)enemies and stages always follow the same pattern, so if you play this for long enough you can start to rely on muscle memory and have a slightly easier time of things.
On to the weapons, and this is where the game got a little confusing for me. During the tutorial, your ship is armed with three weapons (for arguments sake we will just call them red laser, blue laser and green laser). Now, these lasers are linked to a specific button on the control so green is linked to A, blue is X and red is B (in keeping with the buttons colourisation). You will notice that when you are fighting enemies they too will come in three different colours and this is where it started to confuse me. When you shoot green enemies with the green laser you will gain shield. This also works for blue laser and enemies as well as the red. This is known as Boost in the game, and it works great when there’s more enemies on the screen and you’re getting hit hard, helping you keep yourself alive that bit longer.
The next combo is known as Drain and this is the way you will fill up your special bar to unleash a powerful attack. To fill it, you will need to know that blue is weak against green, red is weak against blue and green is weak against red. It’s worth the effort though, as when you power the special up you will be able to clear the screen or do loads of damage to a boss in no time.
The last combo is known as Crush. This allows you to kill enemies quicker and is the complete opposite of Drain, so for instance instead of blue being weak to green its now green weak to blue and so on and so forth, so no matter the way you kill the enemies you will be working towards something on your ship.
As for enemies, they will consistently bombard you with purple orbs and they will come at you from all angles. On the one hand, yes there are a load of enemies. But there will always be a spot to chuck your ship into to hide, as long as you keep moving you will be safe.
As far as the visuals go on the game they are some of the best I’ve seen in an Indy for a while. The colour palette is great – nice and vibrant, with the cut scenes in a hand painted style that looks great. The audio is also top notch – nothing breath-taking but it’s upbeat and keeps the game moving along.
Pawarumi isn’t going to change the game industry, but it will be there to set a president for other top-down shooters, with its complex and appealing style and great controls this game may be short in longevity but it could last a while for true fans of the genre.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.