The World Ends With You
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Mobile.
- Suggested Platform: Either (See below).
- Developer: Square Enix
- Genre: Action RPG.
- Release Date: 04/22/08 (NA)
- Why Play It?: Great story, relatable characters, stylish presentation, unique ideas, and a great soundtrack.
- Why Skip It?: It’s kind of an angsty game, especially in the beginning. The combat system takes some serious getting used to (and serious multitasking).
The World Ends With You is a game that really resonated with me, especially when I first played it as an angsty teen. I was able to really relate to the main character, Neku, and the other characters’ troubles very easily. I played the crap out of this game, to the point of collecting all of the collectibles, and completing everything in the game, even the super tough hidden final boss. I even imported the fantastic soundtrack from Japan. The World Ends With You now sits on my shelf, having done it’s time, yet every now and again, I’ll pick it up and whip through the great story.
The World Ends With You follows the story of Neku, an antisocial teenager who doesn’t want anything to do with anyone. All he wants is to be left alone, listen to his music, and enjoy his own perspective on the world. He claims that he doesn’t understand people and never will. “All the world needs is me… I got my values… So you can keep yours, alright?” The World Ends With You takes place in a fictionalized version of Japan’s Shibuya district in Tokyo. One day, Neku randomly wakes up laying in the middle of the scramble crossing, and discovers that no one can see or hear him. He’s not sure why or how he got there and he now has a mysterious pin that enables him to read the minds of people around him. Suddenly, monsters start attacking him and he’s forced to run away (signaling the cool opening cutscenes) and eventually team up with a bubbly, hip, girl named Shiki. Shiki tells him that they’re stuck together playing something called the Reaper’s Game for 7 days. Neku, of course, hates that he has to socialize and be around this girl, but he needs a partner to survive in this upside down version of Shibuya. The story takes many turns and keeps you guessing until the very end. Every time things seem to calm down, the story takes another turn. Each character you’ll run into is very relatable and you’ll learn the stories, trials and tribulations behind all of them, which is all very well done.
The World Ends With You is an action RPG. The battles take place on the top screen and bottom screen at the same time. Neku is always on the bottom screen and performs all of his movements and attacks with the touch screen. Your partner character is always on the top screen and are stationary, only attacking and dodging; you don’t have to worry about moving them. Using the D-pad (or the face buttons if you’re a lefty) you can attack the enemies on the top screen. Both of your characters share HP, so if you die on one screen, it’s game over. That being said, so do the enemies. As you perform combos, a puck of light will be passed back and forth between the two screens. Whoever has the puck gets a multiplier to outgoing damage. If you’re able successfully combo back and forth between the two screens, you’ll be able to put some big damage on enemies and eventually be able to pull off a powerful sync attack. Getting a hang of the battle system can be tough, but you can set the top screen character to auto-play if you find you’re leaving them alone too long. Just take things at your own pace.
The partner characters are set in their ways; they have specific styles of attacking. Neku on the other hand equips pins which enable him to use psyches, or powers. There are many many different powers, so you’ll have to experiment and try them all to find out which pins you like the best. Dragging on screen to create fire, slashing enemies for a close-range combo, telekinesis using objects on screen, and firing energy bullets from your hands are just a few of the possible abilities Neku can possess. As you use a pin, it gains experience, or Pin Points (PP), and levels up until it reaches its maximum level. Some pins can even evolve once they’ve reached enough PP. There are three different kinds of PP for pins, battle PP, gained through fighting, trade PP, by trading with other players or playing the mini-game you’ll discover later, and shut-down PP, obtained when you’ve shut the game down. You receive shut-down PP up to 7 days of inactivity, giving you an incentive to come back and play after you’ve put it down for a while.
The music of TWEWY is fantastic. It’s a bunch of (mostly) high energy Japanese tunes that easily gets stuck in your head. The presentation is pretty heavy on graffiti, and everything looks pretty cool and streamlined. As a matter of fact, I’m seeing a few parallels to Jet Set Radio here, huh? Maybe I have a “type” when it comes to game’s presentations.
In August of 2012, they released The World Ends With You -Solo Remix- for iOS and eventually for Android. This (obviously) removed the whole playing on both screens at once thing and tweaked it so you can use both characters on one screen. While this makes the battles a little less hectic in your head, it just means you’ll have twice as many touch commands to utilize. The game looks beautiful though. All of the graphics and cutscenes are upscaled up to HD quality. It looks gorgeous. They also added a store for use with real money micro-transactions, but nothing else is changed, so there is no need to actually use the store unless you want to get access to some items sooner than normal or want to avoid grinding. It’s up to you which version you’d rather play, I personally prefer the original DS release, though.
The World Ends With You will always hold a special place in my heart and on my shelf. From the relatable characters, fantastic story, great gameplay, awesome soundtrack, and dynamic setting, TWEWY will always have me expanding my own world.
After all, the world ends with you.