Author Topic: Nicalis is publishing western release of Umihara Kawase Fresh! Coming July 9  (Read 716 times)

Offline sol-alpha

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Announcement Link: https://twitter.com/nicalis/status/1105892833045561350?s=19

Further details from Gematsu:
https://gematsu.com/2019/03/umihara-kawase-fresh-delayed-to-july-9-in-the-west

Release date, physical version for North America only outside Japan, $40:
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Although previously planned for a simultaneous western and Japanese release on April 25, Umihara Kawase Fresh! will now launch for Switch on July 9 both physically and digitally in North America, and digitally and Europe under the publishing arm of Nicalis. It will cost $39.99.

Game description:
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About

When a young traveling chef named Kawase arrives in the frontier town of Kingness, she finds it to be a perfect real-life replica of a town that she used to dream of as a child. Intrigued, she takes a job as a delivery person and occasional chef for a local restaurant. Through exploration and conversations with the locals, Kawase gradually learns the history of the town, the mysterious castle that floats above it, the dangerous cavern that lurks below it and the unspeakable demons who have terrorized its residents.

In Umihara Kawase Fresh!, Kawase carries a fishing lure with “rubber-band action.” The lure can be used as a grappling hook to swing from platforms, as a winch to raise or lower herself while suspended, as a bungee cord to slingshot herself in any direction and as a weapon to stun or defeat enemies. The lure can also capture enemies and items in the environment, pulling them in to be stored in the infinite space of Kawase’s seemingly magical backpack.

Key Features

- Large, explorable town expands in all directions as the story unfolds and you gain access to new areas.
- More than 75 unique quests, each replayable in Time Attack mode, plus unlockable Challenge quests.
- Collect dozens of unique ingredients and use them to prepare many different recipes, resulting in consumable items that can grant temporary power-ups.
- A whole town filled with charming, human-like animal characters, many of whom provide information, directions, advice, items, recipes and additional quests to undertake.
- More than 50 unique enemies, some of which can be captured and used as ingredients in special recipes, plus boss characters.
- Purchase ingredients from the Shop, or visit the Library to read about the items you’ve found and the enemies you’ve faced.
- Unlockable alternate playable characters.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 09:57:47 PM by sol-alpha »

Offline sol-alpha

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Personally, I would have preferred any publisher but Nicalis. Their handling of releasing games outside of North America is awful. I don't care that I can import the game from the US since Switch is region-free. The point is that since the Switch launched, there have been two publishers that have been awful at releasing Switch games physically worldwide, Capcom and Nicalis. Both of them have had multiple games not release physically in Europe and that cuts out potential sales since there is a lot more exposure in having your game on a shelf now since the Switch has many many more games on the eShop than in retail stores.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 09:39:42 PM by sol-alpha »

Offline CyanideBlizzard

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This is one of those situations that is just incredibly strange overall.  On one end, the fact that this will be given a proper release outside of Japan is exciting.  Further, at a reduced price tag than what will be sold in Japan means there's a higher probability that more hands will be on this title than any previous Umihara Kawase title.  That's really, really exciting.

The other, is since the Japanese release will also be in English, and be out several months prior, it makes for a hard justification to wait.  Even at a cheaper price, fans or people interested will just import the game.  Especially, as you mentioned sol-alpha, with Nicalis' mixed reputation for handling properties.  A digital only in EU also makes it even more likely anyone in Europe or Australia will just import the Japanese title, which means the overall sales will be rather divided. 

With the original release including English struck me as a move to encourage more people to import it, or for Studio Saizensen to possibly do something with it themselves.  However, this drastically changes things.  Not sure if they were approached later, or if this was the plan all along.  Very curious, to say the least.

Offline sol-alpha

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New information:

The Success Twitter account points out that the western release of Umihara Kawase Fresh! handled by Nicalis will not have Japanese language options.
https://twitter.com/success_g3/status/1105998869119131649?s=19

Remember that the official site for Umihara Kawase Fresh! from Success mentions the Japanese version of the game that Success is publishing will have Japanese, English and Chinese language options: https://swninfo.success-corp.co.jp/switch/umihara-fresh/index.html

Offline KawaseFan

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I'm not really surprised that Nicalis has picked up the publishing rights for the western release of Fresh, since they had worked with Studio Saizensen with Blade Strangers.  It's great that it will at least get a physical release in North America, and yeah, I wasn't really expecting a physical release in Europe/AU/NZ, regardless.  The delay is pretty disappointing, though; all I can say is I'm glad I was going to import it anyway.

The other, is since the Japanese release will also be in English, and be out several months prior, it makes for a hard justification to wait.  Even at a cheaper price, fans or people interested will just import the game.  Especially, as you mentioned sol-alpha, with Nicalis' mixed reputation for handling properties.  A digital only in EU also makes it even more likely anyone in Europe or Australia will just import the Japanese title, which means the overall sales will be rather divided. 

With the original release including English struck me as a move to encourage more people to import it, or for Studio Saizensen to possibly do something with it themselves.  However, this drastically changes things.  Not sure if they were approached later, or if this was the plan all along.  Very curious, to say the least.

Yeah, it's kind of bizarre.  The only actively interested English-speaking fans I can really see holding off for the western release (unless Nicalis do a special edition?) are those who specifically want to support their local release.

Offline sol-alpha

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What I'd definitely like to know is why did Success/Studio Saizensen let Nicalis have publishing duties for Europe?

If this was previous entries in the franchise then it doesn't matter because the other Umihara Kawase games have very little text.

But this new game is going to have a story with dialogue so it actually helps getting it translated to EFIGS in Europe. For example, NISA who releases games like Disgaea 5 Complete on Switch have made it a priority that their games have French language options because Japanese game sales in France skew much higher compared to other European countries. So with Nicalis handling publishing duties for Europe which gives only an eShop release and only English for language options kills whatever potential it had to sell in Europe.

Is it because Success wouldn't have enough money to fund localisation for other languages? Then yes, it's understandable. However, if you just focus on France like NISA does and only add in French? Then it will be much more beneficial to the sales you make than if you decided to cut costs and not localise it.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 04:58:49 AM by sol-alpha »

Offline Princess Rescuer

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so is there no demo outside of the japanese eshop?

Offline sol-alpha

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So in case no one has noticed.

Umihara Kawase Fresh! released on July 9th in North America under the publishing of Nicalis. They've released a physical version of the game but, there is no digital release of Umihara Kawase Fresh! on the eShop outside Japan.

There is confirmation from gaming journalists that Nicalis's PR said that Umihara Kawase Fresh! would be available digitally on the eShop in the US on launch day back when it was first announced. But it seems that gaming journalists assumed Europe would get an eShop  release.

Now it's been 2-3 days since the game launched in the US and there is no eShop version of Umihara Kawase Fresh! outside Japan. This is hilarious and expected of Nicalis. This is why I didn't want Studio Saizensen working with Nicalis because they are an awful publisher that leeches off other people's works, they are like Harmony Gold.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 01:55:47 PM by sol-alpha »

Offline KawaseFan

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Regarding the as-yet lack of eShop release in North America: I'll give them the benefit of the doubt there, and suggest that release has just been missed somehow and will appear before too long (hopefully).

Funny you posted this now, though -- I was just checking the Australian eShop to see if it had been released.  Then I checked the Australian Classification and PEGI websites to see if it'd been classified for release in Aus/Europe (spoilers: nope).  Pretty disappointing from Nicalis.

Offline sol-alpha

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I can confirm that Umihara Kawase Fresh! has just released on North American and European eShops.

The game got silently delayed from July 9th and released on July 18th. Nicalis never announced a delay.

Offline KawaseFan

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Oops!  Well, better late than never, I suppose.

I'll apologise for my comments regarding the lack of European or Australian ratings for Fresh, then; clearly it had been submitted for rating at that point.  Fresh does now appear on the Australian Classification website, but still doesn't seem to be listed on the PEGI website.

Offline Tooro

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Does Nicalis version has its own leaderboards? Or Nicalis' and Japanese version share the same leaderboards?

On my console located in Japan, the latter seems true, but I'm not sure it is not affected by the location or my language settings, etc.

Would someone who has Nicals version please check whether the leaderboards you can see are the same as the ones shown here?

  https://gori.sh/KawaseFresh/
  (This site shows data obtained by Japanese version)

Offline Princess Rescuer

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As far as I'm concerned, Sayonara is still the last game.

This game is TERRIBLE.

First off, the Western digital release has no demo, despite the demo existing for months and being translated. And this is in the regions less familiar with the series where you'd need a demo to ease them into it.

The game is very boring and unchallenging. Never mind the fact that you have a health meter as well as the ability to pause and eat healing items you will never run out of, the game just points you to the goal most of the time. None of the tricky tactics needed to beat the previous games. It's not even programmed right- on some collection challenges, the classic "go off the screen and re-enter it to respawn enemies/collectibles" used to beat Mega Man 1 works and shortens some of the levels. About the most challenge you will encounter is getting lost which is dispersed with a simple guide. You will explore the same levels and locations with different goals attached to them, and become very familiar with their obstacles. Not to mention the enemies are slow. This game borrows physics and music from Sayonara, and it's very clear this game wishes it were that game.

There's the challenge mode which you need to beat significant amounts of the boring quest mode to unlock, and never approaches the elite stages from previous games. You still have the health meter.

There are two other playable characters from small, but marginally more popular games/serieses: Cotton and Curly. Both of them are more popular and are more advantageous to use. Emiko and Nokko are nowhere to be seen. Why does this game even bear the name Umihara Kawase?

Using the control stick is annoying too. This is more of a Switch criticism than a criticism of the game. There are NO official controllers compatible with current Switch games (that aren't the old NES ones) used to control an Umihara game properly. I guess we'll have to wait for the inevitable PC and Playstation re-release.

And speaking of which, I would say this game is more damaging to the series than the PSP one or the 3DS one. At least those had a good template that could easily be polished up and corrected. What would a corrected version of this game, made to play more like what an Umihara Kawase game should be, look like?

And the general audience agrees with me here- guiding and streamlining the game hasn't worked. On a current (and relatively new) console with a large install base and a portable environment, sales are the lowest they've been since the Super Famicom installment, when Umihara was an unknown passion project being drowned out by Donkey Kong Country with little to no promotion or built-up presence. Fresh also came out directly AFTER the successful installment on the PS VITA.

This isn't as bad as it could be- I really don't care about the series anymore especially nobody took an interest in my challenges for the first game and I've played them so much I've had my fill. The others I quit because I got plenty of replay value out of them. This one I quit (before finishing one playthrough) because it was boring and bad.

The other Switch games starring Umihara have been a flop as well. During a golden opportunity too!

Offline KawaseFan

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you have a health meter as well as the ability to pause and eat healing items you will never run out of

I don't have an issue with the health bar at all; in fact, I'd say Fresh would be a far worse game without it.  Can you imagine having to do large quests (think some of the later-game quests, though it sounds like you didn't make it that far) where one hit kills you?  Maybe if you like the idea of a one-hit-kill mode -- I'm sure some people would -- but certainly not for regular play.  That said, the hunger bar was totally unnecessary.

Using the control stick is annoying too. This is more of a Switch criticism than a criticism of the game. There are NO official controllers compatible with current Switch games (that aren't the old NES ones) used to control an Umihara game properly.

I feel this is more a criticism of Studio Saizensen and/or Success for choosing to develop Fresh for the Switch.  I love the Switch as a game system, but the joy-con buttons and the pro controller's awful d-pad made it a bad choice for Fresh.  The Switch Lite might help, as long as its d-pad isn't based on the pro controller's, but that obviously doesn't help owners of the original Switch.

I would say this game is more damaging to the series than the PSP one

I dunno, I'd take an average but functioning game over a broken mess any day.

Offline Princess Rescuer

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I was hoping for a new installment that would hypercharge the formula. Maybe 100 fields this time, 6 bosses (2 puffer fish) and more of what we like. This game has elements of being decent, but it's just not what I want from Umihara. Maybe if it were called something different and were changed to fit that, it wouldn't be so bad. But as an Umihara game, it does not meet my expectations.

Offline Drifter

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lmao are you serious?

I could pick apart your complaints, but you clearly have a strong opinion about the game and that's fine. Just don't go around claiming stuff about what "we" and what "the general audience" wants. That's not a good way to argue because you can't claim that.

Offline Princess Rescuer

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If this new formula can consistently sell, I stand corrected. If Fresh is still being played years later, I stand corrected. Right now, I don't see people buying or playing it NOW, let alone years from now.

I'm not really a big fan of Umihara anymore, and it doesn't seem to be a trendy thing to discover anymore. These new games aren't helping. I doubt DLC classic stages with the changed formula will bring anyone back either.

Offline CyanideBlizzard

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But the thing is Umihara Kawase never was trending.  The series has always been very niche, with independently developed titles.  That's always been part of the charm of the series.  Watching this series survive from developer to developer and produce varied releases on numerous different consoles.  The history of Umihara Kawase and her survival in the game world is about as interesting as the games are.

With Umihara Kawase featured in more titles, titles with a global market, and getting a full release on a popular console I would suggest that she's probably the most well known she's been since the GameCenter CX episode featuring the Super Famicom title.  More eyes than ever before are getting a chance to discover a series that has managed to stay afloat for 20 years.

There's always been blips of people learning about the title with each release.  There was when Yumi's Odd Odyssey came out, there was when Sayonara Umihara Kawase+ came out on the PSVita, and there was when they released a trilogy of titles on Steam, and then re-released them after Agatsuma Entertainment folded.  There will always be blips of people learning about her, and falling in love with the titles and coming along for the ride or moving onto something else when they tire with it.