[Review] Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! – Nintendo Switch

  • Developer: Success
  • Publisher: ININ Games
  • Price: £26.99 / $29.99 
  • Release Date: 29/09/2020
  • Review code provided by ININ Games

Introducing Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! Switch Review

Umihara Kawase Bazooka is a cutesy high octane single screen platformer where the objective is simple, destroy all enemies using your trusty bazooka. Offering a plethora of playable characters each with their own special ability plus it boasts 40 levels including 4 boss stages. To add to the madness you can share the fun with 4 players in offline co-op. If you and your friends are feeling competitive there is also rival mode.

Bazooka! is the latest game in the Umihara Kawase series with Success choosing a different approach from last years entry Fresh! It leaves the traditional platformer formula and opts for a battle stage layout. Bazooka! does feel familiar though complete with a world full of aquatic creatures. The art style is instantly recognizable to fans of the Umihara franchise offering a bright and colourful anime experience.

You Don’t Have To Be A Brain Sturgeon To Jump Into Bazooka!

Picking up the Joy-Con and jumping into the world of Umihara is quick and easy thanks to the clean and simple menu layout. The character selection screen felt familiar and instantly reminded me of a popular fighting game made by Nintendo. Thinking about it further, the level design is also very reminiscent of said fighting game. The controls are pretty straight forward as well, with only having to master the bazooka and using your special ability. So don’t worry, you will be shooting Krill in no time.

All playable characters are unlocked from the get go with the obligatory random option if you are unsure who you want to fight with. Each character has 4 colour options offering a sense of personalization especially when playing multiplayer. You can also choose the difficulty setting for each match so if you are up for a challenge you can step up the heat by picking 1 of 3 options beginner, semi-auto and technical. Honestly I couldn’t tell the difference between the 3 options as they all felt the same and extremely easy. The main issue is the special ability, the bar holds 3 uses which you can activate when you want but it regenerates pretty much instantly letting you have infinite uses. This makes boss battles a walk in the park and offers no sense of achievement.

Bazooka! Has No Sole

The Japanese anime art style is probably the best thing about Umihara. The game looks polished making it a visual treat when playing in both docked and handheld modes, the vibrant colours make it standout. The game play on the other hand lets Bazooka! down. With the repetitiveness and clunky mechanics it can become boring very quickly, If you are a fan of the Umihara series I would recommend playing in short bursts. When you are in the zone, the game can be fun but when you are hit by an enemy it can break your groove due to your character bouncing around the screen and clambering to get back on your feet. It can take about 5 seconds before you are ready to fight again. I know this doesn’t sound like a long time but when the clock is against you it can be the difference between winning and losing.

The soundtrack is instantly forgettable, even though it complements the game very well, it doesn’t do enough to stand out or create emotion. The cutesy Japanese sound effects break up the game, adding depth to the characters. Umihara Kawase Bazooka! boasts online multiplayer but unfortunately on many occasions I was unable to find an opponent to test it out. When looking at the leaderboard it looks like there aren’t many people playing just yet either. When playing the main campaign there are 4 worlds to explore each containing 10 levels and a boss. Each world offers a slightly different environment but the layout is pretty much the same. The bosses are a suped up version of an enemy seen in the main levels but again, as mentioned previously with the generous special ability they pose no threat.

Conclusion

Umihara Kawase Bazooka! is a fun, cute action platformer that would be more suited as an arcade game offering short bursts of enjoyable entertainment especially with friends. The overzealous special ability bar makes the game too easy regardless of what difficulty setting you are on, offering no sense of achievement or challenge. Maybe they could slow down the regeneration time down or limit the user to 3 uses per round. I feel the price point is way too high and could potentially leave players with a sour taste in their mouth due to the limited and repetitive game play. Bazooka! is a great concept but unfortunately falls short of being a good game even for Umihara fans.

Pros

  • Fun & chaotic multiplayer
  • 40 levels and over 20 playable characters
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Special ability makes the game too easy
  • Game play is repetitive
  • Online community is none existent

Verdict
Umihara Kawase Bazooka! is a vibrant and colourful action platformer that can be fun in short bursts but with the repetitive game play it can outstay it’s welcome pretty quickly.

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