Umihara Kawase

Action 1994 Nintendo Xing Platformer Indie

Go fish!

If Mario and Sonic are a bit too tame or mainstream for you, but you still fancy a nice bit of nineties platforming action, then this obscure title should be right up your alley. It's deliciously bonkers in a very Japanese way but is also a thoroughly well designed and enjoyable game that offers heaps of entertainment. The frankly incomprehensible storyline finds a young girl trapped in a nightmare which finds her in a bizarre world populated by walking fish. What follows is a sort of mix of things like Bionic Commando and other classics of the genre, as you're equipped with a fishing line which you can use to swing from platform to platform in stylish fashion. Perhaps the game's biggest draw is its sophisticated physics system which allows you to pull off lots of fancy tricks as you fly around. Another interesting element is the open-ended nature of things, with multiple paths through each of the fifty levels, while you can also record gameplay to upload for posterity. Although this is a Japanese game, there's actually next to no text in it so it's very accessible and which means it's even more worth finding. The gameplay is excellent, displaying some supremely clever level design and with the core conceit being extremely well implemented. The physics aspect is a lot of fun to experiment with and although the game is very difficult, it's certainly worth persevering with. You've also got some slick nineties visuals to enjoy, with some lovely environments and characters, so really, there's no excuse not to check this out.

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