Update: March 27, 2008
-NCSX- Originally released on the Super Famicom back in 1994, Umihara Kawase was a platform action game where a little girl swung around the levels with the use of a rubbery grappling hook. Enemy goldfish would pop out of the water below and attack but the real adversity in the game was gauging the lift and distance of each swing to reach nearby platforms.
Fourteen years after its debut, Marvelous has announced preorders for a PSP version of the game which adds new levels and an illustrations gallery. New modes include a Practice Mode to test your skills and a Replay Theater Mode to watch your performance after a level has been completed.
Umihara begins her travels on the lower-right corner of the game screen. By pressing the "SQUARE" or "O" button, a hook is shot out and tethered to platforms which then allows Ms Kawase to gain air, leap from ledge to ledge, and even perform actions reminiscent of a vine swinging muscle man. The "TRIANGLE" and "X" buttons make Umihara jump but it's only a little jump that's primarily used in conjunction with her grappling swings.
To provide adversity, enemy goldfish, lizards and other animals normally found in water mindlessly walk back and forth on platforms but the real challenge is gauging the lift and distance of each swing to reach nearby platforms. Umihara Kawase never sold big numbers in Japan but the original designers likely never targeted the game at a wide audience. The controls are quirky until you discover the hook's tension system and the feats that it allows Umihara to accomplish. Only then will players marvel at the intelligent design that went into the game and sing its praises...
Japanese PSP games may be played on North American and European PSP handhelds. There is no region-coding on PSP game UMDs.
View the back cover and screenshots for this item on the main NCSX website.
NCS Game Notes
» The main game menu contains the following selections:
Play Game - Adopt the persona of Umihara Kawase and go swinging
Replay - View your own game play for any one of 90 stages
Practice - Test your skills on stages that you've already completed
Key Config - Adjust the face and trigger button assignments
» Control over Umihara Kawase is through the D-pad. The analog nub only shifts the screen left and right to check for critters or to map your path. To shoot the grappling hook diagonally upwards, press the "L" or "R" trigger.
» Once the grappling hook is attached to a platform or a beast, pushing down on the d-pad will tighten the tension on the rubbery tether. To slacken it up, push up on the d-pad. By using this principle of tension, Umihara can swing in versatile ways to clamber onto platforms that might not otherwise be reached. The tension system also allow Umihara to tether the hook to the edge of a platform and by simply adjusting the tension of the line, she'll be able to shoot herself up onto the platform.
» Umihara Kawase's jumps are small hops that don't scale much distance but that's exactly what the game's designers wanted. Instead of using jumps to traverse platforms, you're forced to use the grappling hook and master the art of swinging across the stages.
» A 5:00 minute time limit governs each level.
» Each level in Umihara Kawase is called a "Field."
This document is copyright NCSX 2008. All rights reserved. No reproduction in whole or in part of this document may be made without express written consent of National Console Support, Inc.