The end of the year is synonymous with gifts, parties, and fat old elves doing a B&E on houses throughout the world. It’s also taken a hit in gaming as the time when licenses expire, leading to games falling out of marketplaces to never be seen again. Marvel vs Capcom 2, After Burner Climax, and this year’s entry- all three Umihara Kawase games. The story of a girl and her pink backpack zipping around fish-infested levels by means of the bouncy physics of her fishing pole disappeared due to publisher bankruptcy, but Degica is riding to the rescue and putting it back on Steam effective January 28.
For those keeping track at home, this is about the hundredth incarnation of Umihara Kawase. It started out on SNES, got a sequel in the form of Umihara Kawase Shun on PS1, the sequel’s port got butchered on PSP, and finally found a second round of redemption on DS when the original producer got involved again. The third and most recent game was Sayonara Umihara Kawase Plus, and all three games had gotten PC versions published in the US through Steam. When the games disappeared it looked like they’d be gone for good, but thankfully it only ended up being a short vacation rather than a complete loss. Customers who had bought the games already will still own the relisted versions, and those who never got a chance at swinging through one of the trickiest physics-based platformers now have a chance to correct the problem. It’s disturbing to see games simply disappear with no way for a new audience to access them legally, and it’s great to see this won’t be the case for at least one series.
[UPDATE 1/29] Umihara Kawase missed its scheduled Steam re-release date, but will still be coming to the platform.