[Review] Pew Paw – Nintendo Switch

Written by Brett Hill
  • Developer: Water X Melon
  • Publisher: Drageus Games
  • Price: $6.99 / £6.29
  • Release Date: 12/06/2020
  • Review code provided by Drageus Games

Introducing: Pew Paw Switch Review

Originally a free-to-play mobile game which has made its way over to the Switch, but does the casual zombie shooter deliver now it has been given the premium treatment?

Pew Paw is a zombie apocalypse survival boasting twin-stick top-down shooting action game with over 100 items to collect and weapons to craft. Work your way up the rankings to unlock new levels and modes. Each play through will have you battling through 5 waves of flesh eating zombies ending with a boss to defeat. As you fight and shoot through the hordes you will come across different types of enemy from undead soldiers wielding assault rifles to acidic bile spitting zombies that explode and takes out close bystanders. So make sure you are well away from the toxic areas if you want to survive!!

Pew-Paw Patrol

While jumping into and making your self acquainted with the main menu, straight away it feels like a ported mobile game with the simple layout, but it does looks clean and easy to navigate. Icons are listed across the top which you can scroll through by pressing L and R. Here you can upgrade your weapons, change armour, buy unlockables with coins earned in-game, check achievements and access settings. The settings menu is very limited. The available options are: change language between English and Russian, turn music and sounds FX on and off, auto aim on and off and to delete your data and start a fresh. The about button at the bottom is a weird addition as a window appears to the right once it is pressed. The window gives information about the game and shows the credits but it wouldn’t look out of place if the about section was present at all times in the settings section. Actually without it the setting screen looks slightly barren especially in docked mode on a 55″ TV.

When its ready to jump into your first game you will be welcomed with a short tutorial which explains the controls for the free to play mobile game using touchscreen. The Switch version doesn’t implement touchscreen control, from here it is obvious that Pew Paw is just a lazy port with no thought gone into it at all. There are 4 levels in total but when you are starting out level 1 is only accessible with the others requiring you to reach a certain rank to unlock. Due to the slow progression in ranking up, after 7 hours of game play I was only able to reach level 2 and it was more of a new skin of the first. Level 1 had a desert theme filled with houses, trees, fences and boxes with a sandy coloured floor, Level 2 named “Forest” was pretty much the same but the floor was replaced with Grass.

Luckily you are not saving humanity on your own, you have the help from your canine friend who acts as a GPS system and guides you to care packages. Above your Doggo’s head are arrows showing you the direction to extra health and ammo. Health is defined by a green arrow with ammo being orange, this was not explained anywhere so I had to work it out myself.

Heigh-Ho Of To Grind We Go….

Even though you now earn in-game coins and tickets to unlock content instead of in-app purchases, you are still required to spend the money on loot boxes or cases as they are called in Pew-Paw to collect weapon parts and armour. Then to add more frustration you are then required to reach a certain rank to use the upgrade.

Pew Paw was not designed to play for long lengths of time and is more of a pick up and play for 10-15 minutes then leave it alone again which is perfectly fine for casual mobile gamer’s but due to the repetitive game play and slow advancement in ranking up there is little to no motivation to return to this title after the first couple of hours on the Switch. It pained me to carry on and rack up 7 hours.

The publisher boasts twin-stick action which baffles me why they would add an auto-aim option, this renders one of the 2 sticks useless and can be played with one hand. The game is not all bad, it looks clean and polished with vibrant colours and highly detailed sprites. The levels are procedurally created with trees, fences and houses located differently on each run. It can feel overcrowded in places but there is an odd border around the level leaving huge open spaces making it easier to takeout the enemies especially bosses.

Conclusion

Pew Paw has some great ideas but I feel they are poorly executed. The game was designed from the ground up to be a free-to-play with in-app purchases making it feel like a grind to advance through the game if you don’t want to part with your hard earned cash but if you are paying a premium, it shouldn’t feel the same receiving no reward. After the first hour of playing the repetitive game play had kicked in and felt like a real chore to grind away and earn XP. Maybe if Pew Paw let you use the weapons and parts you bought from the loot boxes from in-game currency straight away rather than making you rank up, it would add fun to the game letting you rank up and unlock the other levels quicker keeping you engaged before you lose complete interest.

Pros

  • High quality sprites and vibrant artwork
  • Controls are easy to pick up and master
  • 100s of weapon parts and armour to unlock

Cons

  • Repetitive game play.
  • Ranking up and progression is slow.
  • Lazy mobile port.
  • Combination of loot boxes and ranking up to a certain level to use the item feels unnecessary.

Verdict
Pew Paw has the potential to be a great top down shooter but is unfortunately held back by the slow progression and repetitive game play caused by the constant grind.

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