First of all, sorry for the silly header, since I think that this review isn't passionate enough.
Square has been known on the last years to keep milking their franchises and to make more remakes than anyone. But what happens when they drop their swords and the familiar settings of medieval-esque from their games and go for a present day location? Something completely different? The World Ends With You (or just TWEWY for short), brings more than just a change of settings, it's a RPG completely new, fresh, addicting, with style and unique. This is a game where Square-Enix and Jupiter are betting for all or nothing. Do they deliver another great RPG experience? Just keep reading.
The story is really different than other RPG's, since as I mentioned before, it takes place in a present location, that is the district of Shibuya, Tokyo. It centers on a boy named Neku Sakuraba
, a 15 year old whipper-snapper who thinks that people are below him and only cares for himself and doesn't like society. He finds himself in the middle of the scramble of Shibuya, without clue why he's there and suddenly realize that he has a weird pin with him and gives him the ability to read other peoples mind. He gets a mail at his cellphone, saying that he has 60 minutes to reach 104
or he will be deleted by the Reapers
. Trying to delete the message, he can't and gets a timer on the palm of his hand of 60 minutes, just to be attacked by monsters in that moment who are called Noise
. Trying to escape, Neku encounters with a girl named Shiki Misaki
where they make a "pact" so they can fight the Noise together. Without a clue of what is happening, Neku is told that he is a player of The Game
, where they have to complete missions in the 7 days limit, where failure means to get erased. Neku has a hard time to get along with Shiki, since he is really antisocial (and kinda emo), but trusting in his partner is the only way to survive this 7 days.
As you can see, it's a really different story. At the first moment you just the basis of what's happening but as you keep playing, the story gets deeper and deeper, with a lot of twists that will have your attention almost all the time. Of course there are some clichés here and there, and that the main character is kinda melodramatic, but he is the kind of character that learns form the experiences and grows as a human being, making Neku a interesting character. I won't spoil anything, but the story is a bang.
The Gameplay is really fun and addicting, since it uses all the DS's features. The battles are in real time, and kinda fast-paced since you use both screens when battling. You control Neku with the touch screen, you make him move with the stylus by first taping him and then drag the styuls to the spot where you want to be, or dash by doing a longer drag. His main attacks are his pins, which each one has different uses and there are a HUGE array of pins to use and collect. You can also evolve them to get stronger pins, depending by the points you get from battle or by just shutting down your DS. Anyway, back to the gameplay. The pins are used differently; some of them you have to drag on a empty space, like to create walls of flame, others you slash enemies, tap and/or hold on that spot, slashing Neku to a direction to fire bullets or shouting or blowing at the microphone (it feels gimmicky, but the good thing is that to use the pins are optional). You control your partner with the D-Pad (or the XYAB buttons if you're a lefty) in a DDR way. You tap the directional buttons where Shiki will attack, or trying to do combos by changing the directions. You have to do all this in the same time. Sounds complicated? It is at the beginning, specially when using the pins, but as most games, you get used to it. Also, it's better to concentrate more on the bottom screen since you have to move Neku. Also, Neku and Shiki must be in Sync
to do even more damage. Shiki can also get a special move with Neku if you get the right cards when doing combos. It isn't as random as it sounds, since you can choose which cards to get when doing the combos with Shiki.
The battles are really fun, and one thing I also liked is that the Noise doesn't appear randomly as most RPG's, you just scan the area when you want to fight the Noise. You can even chain battles up to 4, and if you get to higher levels, you can lower it. Why would you want to that you ask? Because you get better pins and more money from the Noise if you do this, you are rewarded for being risky.
The graphics aren't that impressive, but it gives that distinctive style that TWEWY has. All the characters are done in sprites, while the surroundings of Shibuya are done with different backgrounds, giving a surreal 3D effect while walking, that gives more life to the district. Sometimes the game looks like a GBA game, but sprites are really well detailed. The cut scenes has a vibrant look and with really fluid movements, it's really impressive this part because all is done with just the artwork, and not
with coded videos. Also, the artwork for the game is also really good, giving the "rad" and hip style for the characters with their silly outfits, but damn it looks good in the game. In battle, the Noise sprites are also really well done, specially for some bosses and the backgrounds works really well, even though they are kinda simple. Overall, the games looks really great on the DS, with a vibrant style.
The music is simply Amazing!
It has a great array of different artists and genres of music, from Hip-Hop to Rock, and a bit of J-Pop. Most of the songs are vocalized, it's incredible that so much music has been inserted on just one DS Card, besides that it is already a huge game. Another great thing is that you can buy every tune, and change the song from your menu screen to one that you like more. Also, when you walk around Shibuya, there will be a different song randomly every time you go to different sectors, the same with the songs in battle, it is always a different song in every battle, it changes depending also what kind of enemy are you fighting. Also incredible, is that the songs sounds in a impeccable quality, really impressive for a DS game. The sound effects are also great, although some attacks sounds like if it was from a GBA game, that sounds out of place. There are many voice samples, but most are used on battle, where they say more phrases than in the actual storyline, which is a bummer because it would have been even more epic.
There is so much to do in this game that is unimaginable. The first thing that probably you may notice are the trends. There are 13 different brands that really makes the difference in the gameplay. For example, in each area of Shibuya there is a brand that has more popularity than others. Using clothes and pins with the highest popularity in that area, you gain bonus stats during battle. Also, the opposite can happen, if a brand is really unpopular, the stats lower or the pins attacks would be lower. One thing though, if you start to use a brand that isn't that popular in a area, and fight many battles over there, that brand will start to gain more popularity, in other words, you can change the "hip" of that place if you want to. When buying clothes, you will obviously gain stats, as any RPG game, but, every clothing has a unique ability. To unlock these abilities, you must get to be friends with the right store clerk, by buying a lot of stuff in a shop, the friendship gets higher and you can do quests to get better items and they will unlock some abilities of your clothes. There is also a food system, where you buy food and give one per character to hold at the moment. They digest it while you are in battle, as it is counted by "bites". Each food has different amount of bites, the bigger they are, you have to battle more so the characters can digest it. The food gives you extra stats, and you have a maximum of 24 bites and if those bites are already used, you have to wait to the next day to give them more food, but, next day in real time.
Grinding here is also fun, since you can choose when to fight, you can even find secret bosses for a challenge and to get better pins. Though, if you want the better pins, you have to set the difficulty as you unlock them and can be changed whenever you want to. There is also a option to change your partner to have Auto Play, but it doesn't work that well.
The game has its problems of course. One thing that I really disliked was that the game only has one save file, so if you got everything in the game, and want to start to zero, you have to erase your file, which is a real bummer. Another thing is that the game can be extremely punishing ins some battles, specially in the boss battles, you must be really concentrated in both screens so you can win. Also, sometimes you will have problems to activate some pins, since if you have 2 that activates almost in a similar way, that gives some problem during the battle.
After all said, The World Ends With You is a exceptional game, it's unique approach of gameplay, setting and style gives the game high standards. It really immerse you into the plot, the game is really addictive and it's really long, you will really have a great time with this incredible title by Square-Enix and Jupiter. This will be a cult-classic, just wait and see.