Can This Elastic Fishing Rod Platformer Hook You?
Originally released on the Super Famicom in 1994 as the Umihara Kawase series, Yumi’s Odd Odyssey stays true to its name as there really is nothing normal about this 3DS eShop downloadable title.
Starring a 20 year old anime girl, the goal is to reach Point A to Point B with the help of a mutli-tool fishing pole. Besides attacking enemies, the main purpose behind the fishing pole is aid in platforming somewhat similar to the grapple arm in the Bionic Commando series. The main difference, however, is that the fishing pole works like an elastic slingshot as opposed to building up back-and-forth momentum like the grapple arm in Capcom’s famous series. Because of this, Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is an extremely difficult game that requires dedication and pixel perfect platforming with a gimmick that has none.
From screenshots, it might be easy to assume that a colorful anime platformer will be an easy going and carefree experience but this could not be further from the truth. Putting things in perspective, I died over 30 times on Level 4 before I was actually able to pass it and the boss on Level 9 required double this failure rate before I even knew how to damage it. Only suckers for punishment and that have patience will find joy in this title; everyone else will rage quit by the fourth stage. Making matter worse, there is no instant restart as the game boots back to the map screen instead of just instantly starting over. Pros can finish most stages in well under a minute but getting to this skill level is no easy task.
The fishing hook and play control have a very high learning curve. Building tension to create a slingshot effect is random at best and the game never really explains the ins-and-outs to the player. It wasn’t until I started messing around the options and menu screens before I learned it was possible to play as different characters that each have a unique ability and activate circle pad control. But in a way, this fulfills this title’s namesake as the player is constantly faced with weird content. Attacking walking fish, fighting strutting eels, and navigating environments built out of blocks, ice, bottles, vegetables, and pencils are the norm here. Describing this game as “creative” is an understatement.
Level progression is also unique thanks to branching paths with different endings. However, finding secret exits is a challenge in itself let alone actually reaching these hidden doors. Each stage also has optional, super hard to collect collectables. There is actually quite a bit of content found in this $30 download; too bad most players will not overcome the challenge to experience it all.
Graphically, there is a jarring difference between the in-game polygonal characters and environments to the 2D anime high res art. The anime art depicts the young 20 year old girl and a busty attractive female but the polygonal in-game model is this small blocky blurb that looks nothing like the character on the digital box art. Environmental assets also repeat although they retain a smooth look despite having some frame rate issues in some circumstances; in summary, it isn’t anything special to look at outside of the bizarre aesthetic. The music is also very friendly and casual which ties into the visual appearance of the game but will grow in annoyance as each track seems to mock the player with each frustrating death.
Even though this high challenge and goofy take on platforming isn’t for everyone I am still glad to see this series finally reach US shores even though the price tag is higher than most eShop titles. If you have exhausted Super Meat Boy and Demon Souls then the unique fishing line grappling aspect of the complex platforming and challenge of Yumi’s Odd Odyssey could have the potential to hook some. But either way, this title will probably sadly fade into obscurity from both a presentation and gameplay point of view.
Not As Good As: Bionic Commando Rearmed
Harder Than: Harvest Moon
Also Try: Weapon Shop de Omasse
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com