Welcome to UmiharaWiki: the definitive English-language Umihara Kawase resource!
What is Umihara Kawase?
Umihara Kawase is a Japanese video game series, the first game of which was released in 1994; however, no games in the series were released outside of Japan until 2014. It's a series of puzzle-platforming games, in which you play as a young 19-year-old woman named Umihara Kawase, who has with her a rubber fishing line and a pink backpack, and your goal is to guide Kawase through the levels (known as 'fields', or as 'stages' in most Western releases in the series) using her rubber fishing line to move from platform to platform and remove the various sea creatures in her way, with the goal of reaching a door at the end of the stage, which leads to another stage, with the ultimate goal of reaching one of the game's endings. Some stages have more than one door, though, which lead to different stages and potentially different endings. Getting Kawase to every door, completing every stage and reaching every ending will require a mastery of the physics of her fishing line.
There are five games in the series:
- Umihara Kawase (originally released for the Super Famicom in 1994)
- Umihara Kawase Shun (originally released for the PlayStation in 1997)
- Sayonara Umihara Kawase (originally released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2013)
- Umihara Kawase Fresh! (originally released for the Nintendo Switch in 2019)
- Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! (originally released for the Nintendo Switch in 2020)
In addition, Umihara Kawase Shun was updated and re-released as Umihara Kawase Shun ~Second Edition~ in 2000, also on PlayStation, featuring added content, and as Umihara Kawase Shun ~Second Edition~ Kanzenban on the Nintendo DS in 2009 with further added content including the original Umihara Kawase. In 2015, Sayonara Umihara Kawase was updated and re-released as Sayonara Umihara Kawase Chirari (known as Sayonara Umihara Kawase + in the west) on the PlayStation Vita, also including the original Umihara Kawase in what was its first western release, and in late 2015, Umihara Kawase, Shun and Sayonara were released for Windows PC through Steam, in what was Shun's first western release. Umihara Kawase Shun has also been released on the PlayStation Portable with the name Umihara Kawase Portable (though this version is not recommended due to bad physics and being buggy), and Umihara Kawase Shun ~Second Edition~ was released for purchase and download on the Japanese PlayStation Network, playable on PSP, PS3 and PS Vita.
One important feature throughout the first three games in the series has been the ability to save replays of your plays through fields. If you have an amazing run through a field which you'd like to show to anyone who'll pay attention, you can! This has encouraged Umihara Kawase players to replay fields, looking for the fastest possible path through the field, and the fastest route to an ending, which gives the games a high level of replayability.
If you're new to the series, don't be discouraged if you're having trouble! Learning how to use the physics to your advantage takes a lot of practise, and with time, you'll get the hang of it.