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Japanese platformer cult hit Umihara Kawase getting 3DS sequel

This week's issue of Famitsu magazine brought gamers the first word on Sayonara Umihara Kawase, a brand-new Nintendo 3DS platform game whose name will probably ring some bells among import enthusiasts.

The original Umihara Kawase, released in Japan for the Super NES in 1994, featured a young girl navigating a surreal landscape of block formations and foes modeled after underwater creatures. Her only weapon: a fishing line and hook that she could attach to walls and swing around with, like Bionic Commando but with a lot more accuracy. A cult hit in Japan, the game was followed by a sequel, Umihara Kawase Shun, for the PlayStation in 1997. (Neither one was released outside of Japan.)

Both titles have been remade for portable platforms, but Sayonara Umihara Kawase is the first original game in the series since Shun. It stars a slightly older female hero (a 20-year-old version of the kid from the SNES game) and also reunites the staff from the first title, including designer Kiyoshi Sakai and character designer Toshinobu Kondo.

The 3DS game is due out in Japan this summer at a retail price of 4980 yen.