30th Nov2020

Digital Shorts: ‘Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!’ Review (Switch)

by Phil Wheat

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!, the latest in a long running franchise, out now on the Nintendo eShop.

Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! is the latest game in a franchise that started way back in the 16-bit era on the Super Famicom and has appeared on a number of other consoles, including handhelds, over the intervening years. Unfortunately I’ve never played any of the previous entries… But what I have played is PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and, more importantly, Super Smash Bros. And those two single-screen melee games are essentially the [older] brethren of Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!

A bright and colourful single screen brawler, Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! sees you play as one of a number of characters each with their own melee weapons but all of whom use the same fishing hook mechanic to capture/drag enemies into weapons range – turning said enemies into cannonballs via use of the titular bazooka. So far so familiar.

The aim of the game is to turn an enemy into a projectile and use that projectile to take out other enemies. Not to clear the screen (which would be TOO obvious) instead turning enemies in coins – and collecting the required number of coins completes the level and allows you to move on to the next screen. Again more familiarity raises it head.

And that’s the thing with Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!… it’s all TOO familiar. From the Smash Bros. style melee combat and single-screen gameplay to the use of enemies as weapons – seemingly taken directly from the likes of Bubble Bobble and the myriad of clones it inspired, this is one game that doesn’t really stand out from the crowd. Not even the graphics make Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! look individual – the anime-style chibi-esque characters looking like dozens of other indie games on the Nintendo eShop. Though to be fair the graphics are at least clean and colourful, if a little basic, and look much more polished than other aforementioned indie games.

Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! is available on the Nintendo eShop now. The game gets a physical release on December 25th.

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