Umihara Kawase

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Umihara Kawase

Publisher(s) TNN (Super Famicom)
Sunsoft (i-mode)
Agatsuma Entertainment (Windows, 2015)
Degica (Windows, 2016-present)
Studio Saizensen (Nintendo Switch Online, 2022-present)[1]
Platform(s) Super Famicom
Nintendo Switch Online[1]
Release date(s) Super Famicom
Japan: 23rd December, 1994
Japan: 20th December, 2011
All regions: 2nd November, 2015
Nintendo Switch Online
Japan: 27th May, 2022[1]

Umihara Kawase is the first game in the Umihara Kawase series of games, originally released in 1994 for the Super Famicom.


Umihara Kawase has a total of 49 fields, despite the highest field number being field 57; the field numbering starts from 0, and nine field numbers (9, 13, 19, 27, 32, 39, 44, 53, 54) are not used. Series designer Toshinobu Kondo has explained that the reason for omitting these field numbers "was that, even though you could complete the full game, we wanted to give players the sense that you hadn’t conquered the entire world of Umihara Kawase."[2]

Fields in Umihara Kawase have a time limit, which is usually around four or five minutes, but can sometimes be different. If the time limit is reached without clearing the field, a life will be lost and the field will need to be retried from the beginning.

Umihara Kawase also has a time limit of 30 minutes on the overall playthrough, which is known as the 30 minute rule. If this time limit is reached without clearing an ending, the next exit cleared will lead to a field which leads straight to an ending, rather than the field that exit would normally lead to. There is one field (28) that can only be reached in this manner. The 30 minute timer can be shortened to five minutes by pressing the select button 100 times at the title screen.

An Umihara Kawase playthrough starts with ten extra lives. 1-ups can be found in some of the fields, in the form of Kawase's pink backpack, though these are sometimes found in hard-to-reach places, where the player risks losing a life to gain an extra one. Once a 1-up backpack is collected, if a life is lost before the field is cleared, the collected backpack will not reappear.

During play, the replay and options menus can be accessed by pressing start to pause, then pressing select. The pause menu can also be used to exit to the title screen.


Nintendo DS (Umihara Kawase Shun ~Second Edition~ Kanzenban)

In 2009, Umihara Kawase was included in Umihara Kawase Shun ~Second Edition~ Kanzenban, the Nintendo DS version of Umihara Kawase Shun, therefore making Umihara Kawase legitimately playable on a portable system for the first time.

PlayStation Vita (Sayonara Umihara Kawase +)

In April 2015, Umihara Kawase was included in Sayonara Umihara Kawase +, the enhanced PlayStation Vita version of Sayonara Umihara Kawase, and for the first time included a practice mode.

Windows PC version

In November 2015, Umihara Kawase was released for Windows through Steam. Not long after its release, it was temporarily removed from the Steam store, following the closure of publisher Agatsuma Entertainment in December 2015[3]. It was once again made available for purchase under new publisher Degica on 5th February, 2016; this had been planned for 28th January, but was delayed slightly while the transfer of rights was completed[4].

The Windows version is based on the PS Vita version included in Sayonara Umihara Kawase +, but also includes online rankings for each door and each ending, accessible through practice mode. The practice mode field select screen also keeps track of which fields' backpacks have been collected.

Rather than having options for replays or any settings on the main menu, these are now sub-menu options of a new 'Menu' section. Within this section, in addition to replays and settings, play records can be viewed, showing the total number of fields, doors and endings reached, the number of backpacks found, the number of types of enemies defeated, and the total time played.

New options added to the replay sub-menu allow uploading saved replays to Steam Workshop for other players to subscribe and download, and watching other people's replays which have been subscribed to through Steam Workshop. The settings include volume controls for music and sound effects, video options for fullscreen, width, size and filter, and options for the preferred shot/jump button combination, language (English or Japanese) and the confirm button.

Save data location

The save data for Umihara Kawase is stored in the following location:

C:\Users\<your Windows username>\AppData\Local\UmiharaKawase

The file UmiFst00.bin contains the main game progression data, while the repfst folder contains any saved replays.

i-mode version

In 2011, Umihara Kawase was also made available in episodic format on Sunsoft's 'Shanghai i-Puzzle' site, through Japanese mobile/cell phone service provider DoCoMo's i-mode service[5].

Nintendo Switch Online version

In May 2022, Umihara Kawase was made available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers with a Japanese Nintendo Account[1].

Level editing

The Riverback level editor can be used to create Umihara Kawase ROM hacks. Notable Umihara Kawase ROM hacks include Uku and Umihara Kawase Christmas Community Challenge.


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