Thanks to ININ Games for the review code
Title: Umihara Kawaze BAZOOKA
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 10/30/2020
In this multiplayer game, characters from the Umihara and Cotton universes, along with a bunch of other characters, band together for multiplayer mayhem! Noting in terms of a story here, but this is a pretty notable game, coming off the heels of Umihara Fresh.
Similar to Umihara Fresh, Bazooka goes for a chibi look, with a pleasing artstyle and cute designs for both the player characters and enemies. Some asset reuse can be expected as a result, but I found it a fitting usage and done in a way that still make the visuals clean and stand out.
The overall OST of Bazooka is absolutely spectacular, in such a way that completely surpassed what I thought this soundtrack would be like. Rather than a generic actiony soundtrack, each song in the game is filled with energy and great instrumentation, providing a great assortment of songs! While I couldn’t seem to find any remixes of tracks from past games in Bazooka, all the new stuff here is absolutely superb and easily the highlight of the whole package.
Umihara Bazooka is a multiplayer action game, where you choose from a roster of characters and set out to conquer four worlds of stages, or beat up friends in multiplayer. Per the series tradition, your main weapon is a grappling hook that can be used to hook onto platforms and sway yourself around to gain height or do cool tricks, but now you have some other combative options too.
Besides the returning hook and the ability to stuff away enemies, you can now use a bazooka to turn contained objects into projectiles, which is the main way you deal damage to enemies now. You also have two special moves you can pull off without needing anyone contained, and they instead use up a blue energy meter under your character’s icon. These don’t really do nearly as much as the bazooka, but they can help in a pinch, especially if your character is able to fly as one of their special moves. Likewise, you can use up an entire section of the meter to pull off a super move, which can be a lifesaver.
Generally, each stage consists of several waves of enemies, where you have to take them all out as fast as possible, clearing each wave until you get to the final ones, where you have to collect their dropped coin in order to properly clear the level. It should be noted that your stored enemy also counts as one of the enemies you need to eliminate, so if your stored enemy is the last one remaining, you won’t be able to progress until you fire the bazooka and have it explode. If you run out of time or lives, then it’s game over and you’ll have to retry.
So for four worlds with around ten levels each, Umihara Bazooka is a rather short game, focusing more on these levels being multiplayer-encouraged enemy rushes than the crazy platforming mayhem of the main series, so while you can play these levels alone, it’s way, way more fun with a friend, and the game honestly feels more balanced with one. Having one IRL friend over, the local co-op in this mode was a lot of fun and had a competitive aspect to it, making this a very enjoyable co-op experience I definitely want to finish until the very end.
But Bazooka also has another part of the game, and that’s the multiplayer battle mode! Here, you play either for stars, or to eliminate your foes before they do the same to you. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to get this to work with the CPU, making me believe that this is local/online multiplayer only and thus you need real people to play this with. I couldn’t find anyone else online during my attempts at setting up a game, but I was able to get a IRL friend over to play these modes, so thus I’m able to note it here.
In a way, these battle modes are pretty hectic, and your special moves that were noted a while back come even more into play here, since while they usually didn’t do much to enemies, they can do quite a bit to your opponent, especially if it’s bumping them into foes that’ll do more damage. Some stages even have minibosses of sort that require a lot of hits to defeat, and of course you can use these enemies as bazooka ammo for maximum damage. So when Bazooka is in a free-for all mode, chaos will erupt, and the elimination mode was by far the best part of the entire game, feeling like a nicher, weirder take on Super Smash Bros. It’s not at all balanced, and some characters have better super moves than others, but the game is incredibly, insanely fun in this mode that I really wish I was able to set up a four player match to see the full mayhem, but I wasn’t gonna risk my health to do that as of now. The online mode does have ranked and private matching options available, but again, I wasn’t able to set up a single room at all, even after launch. I hope that may be mitigated when the physical editions start showing up, but as it stands, it sadly seems this may be a game you’ll have to Discord for the mayhem, which shouldn’t be a thing you need to do to experience a game’s full fun factor.
In conclusion, 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.
Yet, when it comes to the single player content and the game’s overall value, Bazooka is a lot more limiting, since there are only a few worlds and the stages associated with them, which you can also do in local co-op if you desire. The mechanics at here are super fun, don’t get me wrong, and this is a must-own for multiplayer madness, but unfortunately if you were hoping for some sort of lengthy single player diversion to follow up Fresh, then you’ll find this game’s light on content in that regard. Still worth the pickup, but Bazooka is definitely meant for Multiplayer, and only multiplayer, and if you’re willing to forgive the game’s single player length and content being traded off for a polished multiplayer experience, then you’ll find an outstanding time in this package!
I give Umihara Kawaze Bazooka a 7 out of 10.