Review | UmiharaKawase Shun Steam Edition

UmiharaKawase Shun is a SNES styled game which is, simply, about a girl with a fishing rod which can be used as a grappling hook, and also to battle, or avoid, gigantic, floaty land-fish before the timers out.

Back in 1994 the Super Famicon (SNES) introduced the world to, UmiharaKawase Shun, the story of a little 19 year old Japanese school girl, who finds herself lost in a world of floaty, mutated fish. Armed only with her fishing rod, that also happens to make an amazing grappling hook, she rushes through each level trying to escape and find the quickest and best way to freedom.

1997 and 2000 were the years the game was reintroduced to the Sony Playstation, and then 2015 comes forth, and we have the Steam edition available for our PC’s!

You’re a girl, although you look like a boy.
You’re a girl, although you look like a boy.

I don’t really know how to describe the games story really…I mean…it is very surreal as are most Japanese things. Once again though, a story based around a school girl in a high skirt. Why is this always the way? And why are there weird fish on the land? Why are they flying? Why did that Goldfish vanish and then reappear over there? How can my fishing rod withstand the weight of a 19 year old girl?

As for the gameplay, the Steam edition uses the weird emulator style keyboard controls, so “Z” would be jump, “A” would be grapple, the arrow keys would be reeling in and out. It reminds me of when I was in high school and sneakily installed emulators on the computers, then played them instead of working hard on my scientific equations. It is easy to pick up and play, and the game does have a well managed timer system in it which keeps you moving, and keeps the game challenging with that rush of panic as you try to finish the level in time.

Graphically, if we go all the way back to the first game, the graphics were limited due to the console capabilities at that time, but in the new Steam edition, it still keeps that style, with a higher bitrate and three dimensional platforms, only noticeable when you venture left to right and the platforms rotate ever so slightly. The only thing I find, is that the original games graphics looked nicer. The Steam edition looks too flashy and oversaturated, and the girl, Umihara looks like a boy.

Complete each level by rushing to the doorway located in an awkward place.
Complete each level by rushing to the doorway located in an awkward place.

I think this game is nothing more than a dutiful nod to the past edition, reminding older gamers of it’s existence, and introducing the new generation to what we were subjected to years ago. Despite it being easy to pick up and play, and it’s challenge levels, it doesn’t hold a replay value for me, it’s fun for a few levels but after a while I personally found it to become too repetitive as the levels, enemies and mechanics never seemed to innovate.

It’s a well made platformer from a time when there were lots of well-made platformers, relaunched at a time where there are lots of well-made platformers who are innovating, and taking the genre resurgence and trying to drive it forward, and for the price it’s a nice bit of history to add to your modern collection.

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