The World Ends With You

While I’m a massive fan of the Final Fantasy series it’s refreshing to see Square-Enix come out with something different every once in a while that proves they are no one-trick pony. From the same team that brought us Kingdom Hearts, The World Ends With You is something of a brilliant rarity – it radiates charisma and a daring visual style that makes many other RPGs seem a bit cut n’ paste.

Before I start rattling through the reasons why this game works on so many levels, I have to point out that the story, while interesting, requires a wee bit of attention from the player at the risk of missing what’s going on, so eyes up you in the back!

Set loosely within the real-world Tokyo, moody young protagonist (well, I guess some Square-Enix habits can’t be broken that easily) Neku is moping around the shopping district when all of a sudden he finds himself knocked to the ground only to find a mysterious looking pin badge with a skull on it. In a flash he is transported to an alternate Tokyo, invisible to the pedestrians going about their business.

This alternate reality is where a dangerous band of demons trap innocent kids and force them to participate in ‘The Reapers Game’. The rules are simple, survive seven days on the streets or be erased from existence. If you have ever seen the movie Battle Royale, think of it like the game in that, only with shinier hair, magic and experience points.

In this dimension, ferocious creatures known as ‘The Noise’ roam around, eager to knock ten shades out of you. There are no random battles here, however, as you must scan each area with your new found senses and tap on floating symbols with the stylus to initiate a fight.

This is the game’s first masterstroke. The combat is responsive and well-paced, proving to be a likable flip side to turn-based RPGS. As you progress, Neku acquires new pin badges with different effects, fire spells, telekinesis and standard punches and kicks. All are controlled via stylus. Punching for example, is a simple case of slashing the stylus through enemies while fire asks you to rub the area where a Noise is standing to ignite it.

The same goes for movement, simply drag Neku to make him dodge attacks or tap a spot in the playing field to make him run there. Things get more interesting lately, however, as Neku meets Shiki, the stereotypical ‘quirky’ girl no RPG can do without. Always happy, even when death is staring her right in the face. Once she joins your party she stands on the top screen during battles.

Shiki is controlled via the d-pad and if you are really clever, you can control both characters at once, making for some really devastating tag attacks. It’s tough, and even the game admits this by asking you to take your time and use the auto-control for Shiki if it gets too much. No pressure mind, it’s meant to be fun.

The game’s second major draw is its style. The soundtrack alone is stylish and insanely infectious while the art style is manga-riffic and reminded me a lot of the Viewtiful Joe series, although this isn’t cel-shaded, it’s purely sprite based and has a glint of 16-bit about it during battles. But this is not to its detriment as the whole thing is a feast for the eyes.

Finally, the equipment settings are rather neat. Because the game is focused on style, there is no armour here for boosting defense. Instead you can travel to any of Tokyo’s clothing emporiums and buy items of clothing. These all bear stat boosts but you have to be careful to check what’s in style in that area and at that time or any boosts will decrease. It’s a simple element, but one that asks you to think about how you act.







One response to “The World Ends With You”

  1. Bottles avatar

    Great job on the blog, it looks outstanding. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to check weekly

Leave a Reply