REVIEW: ‘Pawarumi’ is an Inventive Aztec Spaceship Shooter (Switch)

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Pawarumi - But Why Tho (1)

Pawarumi is a new and exciting spaceship shooter for the Nintendo Switch, brought to us by Manufacture 43 and PR Hound. While spaceships shooters are finding a newfound resurgence on the Nintendo Switch, developers are experimenting with ways to change the established formula and provide something new for players.

With Pawarumi, the team at Manufacture 43 have succeeded in providing something tremendous and new by giving us what is described as ” Rock, Papers, Scissors, Shoot, but with lasers.” This game takes the mysterious and technologically advanced mythos of the Aztecs and use that for the basis of an action sci-fi experience that is epic and large and scope.

Captured, brainwashed, and transformed into a weapon, the lone female warrior, Aos, seeks revenge against her captors. Used as a weapon to destroy her own Empire, she seeks revenge against those that used her for endless destruction. Aos will stop at nothing to gain payback, willing to destroy entire worlds in the process. She will have to push herself beyond her limits to not just achieve vengeance but to find peace. Pawarumi is a spaceship shooter, where the player will fight across several levels, facing waves upon waves of enemies, with each level finishing in a climactic boss fight.

The player pilots an advanced starship, wielding three powerful weapons: the red missiles, the green crusher, and the blue drain. The color of these weapons is important as it plays into the core mechanics of the game. Pawarumi features unique shooting mechanics that are easy-to-learn but hard-to-master. It all boils down to not just the color of the weapons but the colors of the enemies.

Players have two gauges appear on their screen. The shield gauge is their health indicator. The special gauge is the gauge that unleashes a powerful special attack. As usual, the shield gauge will deplete if players take damage. The special gauge will also deplete when a special attack is used. In most spaceship shooters, the player can only take one but before being destroyed and have to use unerring flying skills to find health and survive.

That same applies to special attacks, as using a special attack at the wrong time can be a huge disadvantage to players. Pawarumi completely changes these traditional mechanics by allowing players to regenerate their health and special attack energy by attacking enemies. In Pawarumi, players can regenerate health by shooting enemies to their matching color. For example, enemies that are colored red should be shot down with red missiles.

Green enemies should be shot down with the green crusher. Blue enemies should be shot down with the blue drain. Doing so will recharge the shield slowly and incrementally, giving players a chance to stay alive. Recharging the special attack gauge is different, as players will need to attack enemies with a color that is different from the color of the enemy.Attacking red enemies with the blue beam will recharge the special attack gauge.

The gauge can be charged to three tiers for maximum effect. Using the special attack unleashes a “Death Blossom” style of attack upon enemies, becoming extraordinarily destructive. This gameplay mechanic takes getting used to, but the more players play Pawarumi, the better the gameplay mechanics get. There are three difficulty modes for players to adjust to Pawarumi gameplay mechanics, and I recommend starting on Easy mode. The experience in playing Pawarumi is absolutely tremendous, and the deeper I got into the game, the more I didn’t want to end. The use of drums and tribal instruments and the great Aztec-inspired artistic inspirations immerse the player in an epic battle of Gods and Goddesses.

Pawarumi - But Why Tho

Each battle feels grand in scale and scope, and the bosses the player will fight are also well imagined. Spaceships that represent faces and mechs that don the look of an ancient golem are just some of the bosses the players will face. Each boss is well-designed and will put up quite a fight. From the hollow, ice-cold tunnels of the underworld to a wide desert with flying pyramids, players will find plenty to see and to experience during the frantic shooting of Pawarumi. It’s a remarkable achievement, especially compared to other spaceship shooters.

Perhaps the only complaint I can give Pawarumi is the length of the game. There are three difficulty modes that arrange the levels differently. While there is a training mode to practice playing the harder levels, that is the extent of what Pawarumi offers. Given the price of Pawarumi, $14.99, more content could have been added for the Nintendo Switch release. However, that is the only complaint that can be made for such a sharp and well-imagined spaceship shooter. Whereas most spaceship shooters are military-themed or sci-fi themed, Pawarumi dares to be different and greatly succeeds.

Sharp, polished, and enjoyable, Pawarumi is an excitingly different and refreshing title that should be encouraged more often within games. It’s excitingly different and intriguing to play, and the inspirations from an ancient civilization are artistically breathtaking. While the overall experience is on the short side, it’s a tremendous thrill ride that anyone with a penchant for action games or artistically creative titles shouldn’t miss. Pawarumi is grand and epic. You can buy it now on the Nintendo Switch.

  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10


Pawarumi is an excitingly different and refreshing title that should be encouraged more often within games. It’s excitingly different and intriguing to play, and the inspirations from an ancient civilization are artistically breathtaking.

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