The Nintendo Switch has no shortage of quirky games, both from well known developers to smaller indie studios. There are tons of games too with a distinct Japanese flavour to them, such as ININ Games latest, Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! is a fast-paced action game where the goal is to clear the screem of enemies. Like previous games in the Umihara Kawase series, the game has a obvious fishing theme with each character making use of a fishing rod and a Bazooka to clear the screen of pesky enemy seas life.
For starters, Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! is similar to a platformer, but on a very small scale. In fact, the gameplay resembles that of another classic Japanese game, Bubble Bobble. Basically each level plays out on a one screen, multi-level arena of sorts.
The gameplay itself isn’t too difficult to figure out once you start playing. Enemies appear on the screen and you have to figure out how to destroy them. Easier enemies can be hooked with your fishing rod and sucked into your body to be used as ammunition for your Bazooka. More difficult enemies you’ll need to shoot with your Bazooka to destroy them as they can not be hooked with your fishing rod. You also have tiny pebbles that can throw at enemies to cause some minor damage. Some enemies require other sorts of ways to hurt them, suck as jumping on their heads like in more traditional platformers.
There are quite a few modes you can choose from in Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! There’s Challenge Mode and Battle Mode. Challenge Mode is where you’ll spend most of your time if you’re playing on your own while Battle Mode is for local and online multiplayer battles. Challenge Mode however also has multiplayer co-op as well as a rivals mode which is co-op but you can attack your friends as well.
There are 22 characters you can choose from and each is supposed to have its own characteristics and special moves. That’s true to some extent but there are characters that are just copies of each other. For most of the game, it really doesn’t matter who you choose as they’re all pretty similar to begin with.
There are some quirks with the game that sort of slow down the pacing of it. First up, the jumping in the game could be better. You can do double jumps, but they don’t fell very precise nor controllable mid-air. Another off quirk is what happens if you get hit by an enemy. Instead of just falling backwards or registering that you got hit, you instead bounce backwards several times, leaving yourself wide open and unable to defend or get up. It’s a bit annoying and really disrupts the flow of the game.
Aside from the gameplay, the art style in Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! isn’t too bad at all. It’s very bright and colorful and does certainly have that Japanese flair. The level designs are okay, but nothing to really write home about. Mainly it’s just four worlds with different platform designs.
Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! is an odd game. It’s a mix between a platformer and a 2D battle style game. The platform elements are okay, with the exception of a couple quirks we encountered and the battling elements probably make it more interesting. The game is fairly easy to get into and not too difficult to play in all honesty. Solo mode most likely will get kind of repetitive after a while, but having friends join in will make it more enjoyable.
So with that said, Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! will probably appeal more to those who have had some experience with the series and who are fans of it. Everyone else will have to decide if the gameplay is interesting enough to warrant a buy or not. I found the game to be fairly interesting, but better with a partner than on my own.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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