Today we are going to talk about Umihara Kawase, or, as it will soon be known to American audiences, Yumi’s Odd Odyssey. This popular cult-series has never seen a release outside of Japan, but Natsume has taken the step for the latest Nintendo 3DS game to be localized in America.

Umihara Kawase is the story of a Japanese high school girl, her grappling hook, and her pink backpack. She journeys through a world decorated by traditional Japanese fish, birds, and other beings via conveniently placed conveyor belts. Each self contained level has a time limit in which Yumi must use her hook to swing or drag herself to otherwise inaccessible points.

Physics platformers at heart, the Umihara Kawase games can best be described as Bionic Commando dipped in delicious candy and superb level design. Don’t let the adorable approach fool you into thinking these are simple cheap games. Its “easy-to-learn/difficult-to-master” controls have turned it into one of the great unsung gaming series in history.

Sayonara Umihara Kawase was released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan back in June, but Natsume’s localization will make it the first available to Western audiences. The game stars Yumi as both a 20 year old woman and as a schoolgirl in a bit of a time travel twist, and two new faces will join her.

If you want to prepare for the upcoming release, the best and most convenient way to play the other games is to import the DS versions, which both come on a single cartridge. The PlayStation game is a decent little playthrough, but the true gem of the series lies in the Super Famicom original.

It’s hands down one of the best platformers you will ever play, and that’s a statement I don’t make lightly.

Yumi’s Odd Odyssey was also the title planned for the PSP version to be released over shores, but that never panned out.