Update: Lots of changes recently. Too many to list, but overall, changed several Weapon/Buddy behaviors, added more Weapon power levels and alternate fire modes. Working on adding special attacks in addition to all that. You can also switch your main Weapon at will!
Your life will be easier if you actually do take advantage of switching your main Weapon and enabling the alternate fire modes (in addition to pairing it with a complementary Buddy). The level enemy spawns will now be aggressively tailored to take advantage of your new capabilities. In other words, yes, switching your Weapon/Buddy combo will actually be useful AND necessary in some cases! This makes everything more tactical and strategic in that you now have to think about what Buddy to keep for later or discard for another, as well as when to switch to your main Weapon, in addition to activating your alternate fire mode to get out of a given "situation"! Whew!
Due to the Weapon and Buddy changes, there are now 336 unique Weapon/Buddy Combos. My math may off on that (it's really, really late), but even so, there's a lot. Forgetting the technicalities, there are 8 main Weapon/Buddy combos, plus adding bombs and special attacks to the mix give you a lot of options. Remember, these numbers are not for show - the level spawns/patterns are being redone to take advantage of that! The combinations will be key to making your job easier, but you always have the option to just use your default Weapon and leave it not powered-up if you want... Good luck with that!
The bad news: adding and tweaking these features may delay the release date, but its ok because it will make the game better in the end! (maybe...)
Oh, how about a screenshot of the newly maxed-out Magma beam (and "City" level):