With the release of the PS1 installment today, all three of the Umihara Kawase games- platformers built around swinging about on a fishing line- are available in English on Steam in a bundle-pack. Experience the agony of bungee-based defeat today!
Released in 1995 on the SNES but only in Japan, Umihara Kawase is the highly-relateable tale of the eponymous Umihara, a back-packing sushi chef who’s trapped in a strange dreamlike world populared by walking fish. Fortunately, she’s packed a rubber fishing line with her, which she can use to hook onto platforms, and use its elasticity by tightening or loosening the rope to swing around and launch herself across the map. All three games in the series (the SNES original, the PS1 sequel Umihara Kawase Shun, and the 3DS/Vita conclusion Sayonara Umihara Kawase) have a ‘just one more go’ appeal to them- they’re seriously tough, but with multiple exits and routes throughout each game and shortcuts to be taken if you’re daring enough with your tope, you’ll keep giving ’em another go because you know you’ll make it this time!
It’s taken a long time for Umihara Kawase to make it over to the West- after a cancelled localisation of the PSP version of the PS1 game (which may have been for the best, as the PSP conversion was quite glitchy and had wonky physics), Sayonara was released as Yumi’s Odd Odyssey for the 3DS in the US (Europe kept the Umihara name), then later came to the Vita as Sayonara Umihara Kawase +. When Agatsuma Entertainment annoucned a Steam port of Sayonara, it also said that the previous games were on their way too. With Shun released today- the first time it’s every been available outside Japan- you can now buy all three in a bundle for a reduced price.
These Steam versions of the game all come with leaderboards, trading cards and various other extras- the SNES game comes with a Practice mode not in the SNES original, Shun adds in stages from the DS rerelease, and Sayonara includes the extra levels and content of the Vita port (minus the inclusion of the SNES game- you’ll have to buy it separately now). It’s particualarly nice that the SNES and PS1 games haven’t just been emulated straight with no extras- the SNES game’s leaderboards are even in the style of the original game, like you had an internet connection hooked up to your old console!
Gameplay Trailer (Sayonara Umihara Kawase)
Whether you’re completely nwe to the series, or picked up the English release of Sayonara and are curious about the earlier instalments, the trilogy is absolutely worth a look into. Just don’t blame me if you end up with a slightly worse-for-wear controller afterwards- these are tough cookies!