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Natsume Brings Japanese Cult Classic Platformer to North American 3DS Owners

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Posted on October 29, 2013 AT 11:52am

If there’s a list of the most famous Japanese gaming cult classics that you’ve probably never heard of, then Umihara Kawase would be near the top of that list.

Originally released on the Super Nintendo—and later brought to systems such as the PS1, DS, and PSP—Umihara Kawase is the tale of a schoolgirl who finds herself having to traverse through a strange dreamworld filled with fish. Given the theme, it’s then unsurprising that the main character’s tool for survival is a fish hook attached to a fishing line. Using it as a grappling hook, she must make her way through each stage by climbing, swinging, and otherwise overcoming obstacles via heavily physics-based gameplay.

When the first Umihara Kawase was released, it was a charming mix of traditional platforming and unique physics elements that went on to find a faithful following among gamers in Japan. It also found an audience in the West, a feat it accomplished in spite of never having one of its chapters officially released in English.

Thankfully, that day has finally come. Natsume has announced that they’ll be bringing over the latest iteration of the series—Sayonara Umihara Kawase—to the 3DS eShop in North America. Retitled Yumi’s Odd Odyssey, the game will now get the long-awaited Western debut that its always deserved.

“We have been interested in releasing this unique title for awhile now,” Natsume president and CEO Hiro Maekawa said in the company’s announcement.  “We are working very closely with Agatsuma Entertainment to bring this game to our fans, who we know appreciate games that are a little different, and also have lovable characters.”

I’ve included a preview video for the game below, but it’s all in Japanese. Still, you’ll be able to get the full gist of what the game’s about (and get a hint of the two additional characters this version features).

Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is slated for an early 2014 release. No official price has yet to be announced at this time.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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