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Umihara Kawase Review

Developer: Xing Publisher: Xing
Release Date: December 23, 1994 Also On: PS and SNES

Umihara Kawase is another platform game. There are many of them on the SNES so why is this one worth checking out? It features physics-based gameplay. Well, even Mario has a sort of physics that makes him fall down all the time but Umihara Kawase is more complex than that.

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In Umihara Kawase you can walk around the level and climb ladders. Where it gets interesting is when you start using your rope. This rope is equipped with a hook on the end. You can shoot it in all directions and the end will stick to the next solid part of the level it hits. Now you can wind the rope up or off and swing around the level. The physics of the rope are so good that you can actually pull off some pretty nice tricks. It takes some time to get used to this way of movement but it is worth it.

Of course you don’t just move around. There are enemies too. For some strange reason they are huge walking fish and other animals from the sea. You can catch them with your rope and then pull them into your backpack to get rid of them. If you only hit them they get unconscious for a while and then start walking around again.

What might put you off the game is the difficulty. Handling the rope is difficult at first and there are many enemies. What makes it worse is that they keep reappearing from nowhere. They just appear in a cloud of dust and while this is seldom unfair, it can be pretty annoying. If you don’t like a huge challenge and want to have success fast it would be a good idea to play this game on an emulator with save state functionality.

The graphics in the game are not really impressive but the dynamic rope and the weird art style (walking fish) make it look good. Your character is a pretty ordinary girl but something about the design makes it a character to love that is easy to identify with. The music and sound effects do the job but they are nothing to remember.

All in all Umihara Kawase is a fun and different game of great quality. I was surprised to find something as innovative as this on the SNES. Play this game! There is a successor available for the PlayStation that has slightly better graphics so you might like to check that one out too.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 9.5
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.8
Written by Ortwin Review Guide