This review is going to be short and sweet. For the really abbreviated version of it, here it is: save your time and money.
Still want to know more? Okay, so now for the extended version: Umihara Kawase Bazooka is a unique little game that didn’t leave much of an impression on me, but I also don’t think that’s the point of this release. There is no narrative to speak of here. Instead, Umihara Kawase Bazooka opts to give players more of an arcade-like experience, but it is one that doesn’t last too long.
To be honest, I’m not familiar with the franchise. It will likely be my only experience with it unless my editor asks me to review another game set in this world in the future. I did do a little digging though to see what kind of tie-ins there were. From what I’ve gathered, the series follows Umihara Kawase as she infiltrates dreams that are home to strange creatures, as she navigates a labyrinth in an attempt to escape. She uses a fishing line to platform around these worlds. It seems like it’s a very niche franchise and one I have no interest in exploring.
In Umihara Kawase Bazooka, things take place over four main stages. Each stage is broken up into ten arenas, so there are forty levels total. You’ll take down waves of enemies to earn gold coins until you hit a certain number of them to move on. There are over twenty playable characters here and each has a unique special ability to help defeat foes. That special ability is the main thing that differentiates the characters from each other. There are small differences, like speed or platforming capabilities that set them apart very slightly, but it is almost imperceptible.
All of them do share a main form of attack where they hook enemies with a fishing line and turn them into ammo for their bazookas. This can then be shot out in multiple directions and will even keep going through enemies to help rack up higher scores. Scores can be posted to leaderboards, but I doubt anyone on my friends list will ever play this. If they do it’ll be for the easy platinum trophy.
The longer you go without seeing a game over screen, the higher your score. But you don’t ever lose progress through those ten arenas if you do lose all your lives. You can pick right back up where you left off to try to beat a stage.
I was at least hoping that the bosses at the end of each stage would be a bit more interesting, but they’re all pretty bland, save for the last one. Boss encounters are a little different from enemy encounters because you have to snag them with your fishing line for a few seconds to stun them before you deal any real damage.
Other than that, there really wasn’t a lot of other content. I live alone so I couldn’t do any of the local multiplayer, not that I would even want to outside of doing it for this review. I couldn’t get into a single online multiplayer match, as it seems like a desolate wasteland, even if the modes seemed far more interesting than the main challenge mode.
To top it all off, other than being bright and colorful, players won’t see much in the way of enemy variation in each stage. There are a handful of enemies unique to each world, but you’ll end up fighting the same enemies over and over again. I guess some of them look okay, but it’s a rather uninspired title, even if it is unique.
After I earned the platinum trophy, I deleted the title. It’s a game I’ll probably never think about again. I had brief snippets of fun early on, but by the time I was at the end of world four, I was ready to free up the hard drive space. I don’t understand how this is a thirty dollar title. Not even the most hardcore Umihara Kawase fans will get their money’s worth.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.