UmiharaKawase Shun (PC) Review
- Swinging and grappling with your fishing rod adds an extra dimension to the platform game standard
Not so much?
- Hardcore levels of difficulty will alienate most players
Umihara Kawase is a sushi chef on a mission. Join her as she swings and grapples with her trusty fishing rod over up to fifty different fields, filling her backpack with delicious – and often dangerous to collect – fishy delights.
mihara Kawase is a sushi chef on a mission. Join her as she swings and grapples with her trusty fishing rod over up to fifty different fields, filling her backpack with delicious – and often dangerous to collect – fishy delights.
Originally released in Japan for Playstation way back in 1997, UmiharaKawase Shun is the second in a trilogy of obscure platform games, all three of which are now available on Steam. As befits its venerable status, this game is no walk in the park – its simple looks belie a world of painful difficulty.
In addition to the usual platform staples of running, jumping and trying not to get killed by enemies who can take your life in a single hit, UmiharaKawase Shun has its own gimmick – the protagonist’s trusty fishing rod. You can use your fishing rod to reel in enemies and swing from platforms, and mastering the physics of it is key to your survival.
This may be an old game, but you’ll want to play it with a decent, responsive, controller – anything less and you won’t be able to deploy the fishing rod to its full extent. And deploy it you must, because anything less than impeccable positioning and timing will lead you to a watery grave.
The game is laid out in a series of fields, each one a short yet often tricky series of enemies and platforms that must be traversed within a time limit in order to find an exit. Although there are about fifty fields in total, some of them have multiple exits, and these branching paths mean that you can finish the game by clearing anything from 15 to 30 fields. Be warned, though, this is real old-school gaming – you get a finite number of lives with which to clear the entire game, and when they’re gone, it’s back to the title screen for you.
It would have been nice if the Steam version enabled save states for the less hardcore or accomplished gamer, but this option is sadly lacking. Instead, there’s a practice mode for levels you’ve already reached, letting you perfect your technique on particularly difficult levels without having to play all the way through the game to reach them.
Since the Steam version is pretty much a direct port of the original, the game looks and sounds exactly as it did back in 1997. The cute, simple graphics and upbeat music only serve to disguise the true difficulties awaiting you as you play.
A platform game with a unique twist, UmiharaKawase Shun wrings every inch out of its fishing rod mechanic, making for an experience that will challenge the hardiest of gamers. Fans of difficult platformers and niche Japanese classics will no doubt rejoice at the chance to add this to their Steam library, but it seems a little too obscure and inaccessible for the average gamer.