Songbird Symphony hasn’t uncovered some magical gameplay combination by crossing platforming with rhythm action. However, if you think you’d like to play a good, easy game in that unique space, with some headroom for more advanced music gaming, Joysteak has delivered with style and humour.
If you're new to visual novels, and curious, then go somewhere else first; Root Letter: Last Answer could put you off the genre for life. But if you're a visual novel fan, you've played all the other interesting ones on the Switch and you absolutely cannot wait for another – and if you've considered maybe just going outside or watching TV or lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling and you still can't wait for another – then you could take a look at Root Letter and just hope you find it so bad it's good.
All in all, Umihara Kawase Fresh! is presented smartly, if quite bizarrely. Its movement system is fiendish, sometimes frustrating, sometimes free-flowing. Unfortunately, it asks a lot of the player and manages to hide its best bits. The level and boss design are unlikely to inspire anyone, especially when already taken to wit's end by the stuttering difficulty, but that's not enough to undo the game's unique charm. If you're already an Umihara fan then Umihara Kawase Fresh! will give you your fix like nothing else. For anyone else, it's harder to love – but not impossible.
So, throw away the dud story, the awful presentation and the violence-and-shame-based soft porn and haven't we got a great little shoot-em-up here? The fact is that this mechanically competent shooter in a classic style from a proven team comes with all those crummy decorations attached. It's up to you if it's worth overlooking all the ugliness for the sake of a good game that isn't particularly world-changing.