Umihara Kawase is a platform game where the player takes on the role of a young girl who must jump climb and...*fish* through a world of large sea creatures. It features an unusual physics model for using the girl's fishing pole as a grappling hook.
The game world of Umihara Kawase is constructed from a set of interconnected levels known as fields. Each field connects to one or more fields deeper within the game via doors.
Fields are enclosed areas containing a number of static and moving platforms, ladders, spikes, enemy sea-life and one or more exit doors. The doors are often positioned in hard to reach places and it is the player's goal to plan a safe route to one. Each exit door in a field takes the player to a different field.
One completes the game by finding a safe route through the fields and finding a door to exit the world. Each of the Umihara Kawase games contains multiple routes through the fields and multiple exits.
The Umihara Kawase games have simple controls, she is able to run, jump, climb onto ledges, climb ladders and most importantly throw her fishing line.
Her fishing line when thrown will hook onto nearly all surfaces within the games. When the line is firmly hooked onto a surface or an enemy fish the line is able to take her weight. From here Umihara is able to swing between platforms, lower herself down to other ledges and swing herself up to higher ledges. Due to the flexible nature of her line she can also catapult herself great distances by stretching the line to breaking point. The line can also be used to stun fish and reel them in, once reeled in Umihara will store them in her rucksack and score points in doing so.
While the controls are simple and responsive, an uncompromising physics model means that graceful control of the game's swinging techniques will not come immediately. Out of this, though, comes great scope for advanced techniques through full utilization of the physics. Perfect execution of techniques such as the one- and two-step rocket jump are required both in later fields and for those who intend to improve their field completion times.
The games contain 1ups in the shape of Umihara's pink rucksack but no other collectibles are present.
Umihara Kawase contains a total of 49 fields of which four are exit fields and six are boss fields. The game makes good use of the SFC's colour palette for digitized photographic backgrounds. The rope physics sometimes strain the Super Famicom's CPU, leading to slowdown, but this is rare. The game permits saving speedruns, establishing such play as a principle feature of the series.
Source: Wikipedia, "Umihara Kawase," available under the CC-BY-SA License.