Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! Reviews
At $29.99, Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! isn’t a bad game per se, however, it’s one that I feel is going to struggle to find an audience. I understand that they are trying to take the series into a new direction, however, Umihara Kawase is niche enough as is, and I can’t imagine too many people are going to look at this game and be willing to pick it up. There is a huge learning curve to Umihara Kawase in general, and the game doesn’t do enough to make itself inviting to new players either. Again, a more fleshed out single player experience and proper training mode could have gone a long way in making this one feel more approachable. It also doesn’t help that many players are going to recognize very few, if any, characters outside of Kawase, and that’s assuming they even knew Kawase to begin with. There is online play complete with leaderboards, ranked, casual and private matchmaking, but I have never been able to find a match, and I don’t think I’ll be finding many in the future. So really, your mileage with Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! is going to depend on whether or not you can convince your friends to come over and play this game with you. If you can manage that, you’ll probably have some fun. I can’t help but feel like this could have been a nice bonus DLC mode for Fresh! instead of a whole new release. I’m not opposed to them exploring multiplayer options in future Umihawa Kawase games, but I’d rather see the series stick to its single player roots.
Umihara Kawase: BaZooKa! is a spin-off of the Umihara Kawase series. This series has actually been floating around in the gaming ether for quite some time all the way back to the Super Famicon. In the main series, it’s a colourful little platformer where you use a fishing hook to navigate around platforms and defeat various fishy enemies. If you want to look into the series further the easiest way to play the old games is on Steam but there was also a recent title Umihara Kawase: Fresh released on Nintendo Switch in 2019. BaZooKa takes many of the ideas of this series and turns it into more of an arcade title. Let’s explore in more detail.
Umihara Kawase Bazooka is a unique, weird little game that manages to overstay its welcome even with the light content included. How this game got priced at $30 is beyond me.
Umihara Kawase BaZooka! is an arcade fighting game that's best to play with friends. The enemies and levels are diverse enough, but the overall gameplay falls short.
If you enjoy classic single-screen arcade games and want to play one with a few friends then you'll dig Umihara Kawase BaZooKa!
There are some opportunities for local multiplayer score-chasing, thanks to multiple modes, characters, and online leaderboards, but the core action is insufficient to keep players hooked.
Umihara Kawase Bazooka! is a niche title in a niche genre featuring a niche franchise. As arcade-style single-screen action-platformers go, this is a good one with a unique gameplay so fans of that sort of thing should go for it if they can swallow the steep launch price. Anyone else though, including fans of said franchise may have reason enough to be on the fence as this is definitely way different from the rest of the series. This is a rather unique game that will appeal most to score chasers and not the core speedrunning fanbase of the series, although one could imagine speedrunning this all the same of course. There is a demo available but, at time of writing, only on the Japanese eShop for some reason. Players still on the fence with a Japanese eShop account may check it out and decide for themselves.
Umihara Bazooka is an incredibly fun multiplayer game, one that I couldn’t help but have mountains of laughs produced while my friend was over! The multiplayer focused modes are sparse in number, but they’re very solid and get the job done exceptionally well, and I really wish that the online community was more active so that I could recommend the online too, since if it’s even half as fun as the local experience, multiplayer fans are in for an exceptional party brawler with a fun mechanic.
Umihara Kawase BaZooka! feels like the type of game that can be enjoyed leisurely rather than something to spend long periods of time on.
A fun arcade-like party game in the Umihara Kawase series, the fishing rod and lure are back, but crazy knockback animations and underwhelming boss battles make the game drag in parts.
All in all, Umihara Kawase BaZooka! being built from Fresh!’s charming revolutionary base is a tale of two halves. Developer Success inverting the Umihara Kawase formula post-Fresh! for a second time wasn’t asked for. Yet the creative team aimed for popular untested franchise waters. Understanding BaZooka!’s real hook is the spiritual to the Umihara Kawase core series Challenge Mode for 1-4 players when buying the game. The less refined Battle Royale half, er, not so much. Look, I’m just ecstatic two Umihara Kawase games are on the mainstream console Nintendo Switch when I feared the series would sink into the depths of obscurity!
Is Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! fun to play? Sure, a little. It's inoffensive, but it never grabbed us. Even though it's a short game, we never felt that burning desire to get to the end that is typically present in other titles. There are many characters, but none of them was really interesting. Cute, yeah. But not enough to mitigate the central problem that this isn't an interesting game. We're not sure why this is the direction the series has gone in, but could it go back to the lovingly-crafted, intricate rope courses, please? Far be it for us to call for a regression, but sometimes going back to the well is a good idea.