Back in 2008 when square was still willing to take risks and hedge its bets on new IPs, a game called The World Ends With You was released and at least when it came out it languished in relative obscurity. For those who are unaware of this little gem, it was brought to the Nintendo ds first and later ported to IOS and Android.
The world ends with you is an exquisite game and, If you have the time and resources you should definitely go and play it. The game centers around a teen who has supposedly died recently called Neku Sakuraba and to have another chance at life he must team up with someone and take part in the reapers game, and its also set in the most stylish district of japan ‘Shibuya’ or at least thats what the game told me. The story is not necessarily extremely gruesome or meant for very mature audiences but there is a fair amount that can be considered disturbing although most importantly its engaging and keeps you wanting to find out more almost to the point of sometimes being frustrating. The story and more specifically the main character is most relatable to a teenager who is new to being a teenager.
What i mean is that Neku embodies the emotions of a child outgrowing his childishness pretty well. I assume for everyone there comes a time when they face the reality of the world and see all the bad and ugly thats hidden from them so long as they are a child, some handle this well and can learn to live with this pretty quickly while others take longer preferring to wallow in solitude like Neku(what would essentially be a mild goth syndrome) tries to in the beginning of the game. The game is a journey for this young boy to come to terms with the world and himself. Along the way we certainly see other insecurities kids his age have from image problems to duties towards their family and much more. By the end of the game you come to love these idiots and are cheering for all of them. But its highest point has to be its title card that changes after you beat the game, its not that hard to guess what it says but getting there after beating the game is an amazing feeling.
Another point for The world ends with you or TWEWY as some call it is its. Unique battle system, the story requires for two individuals to be in a pact/group at all times so each battle always has two characters fighting. On the DS this translates to one on the upper screen and one on the lower screen, you use the D-pad to control the character on the upper screen and using the stylus on the touch screen lets you handle the one on the lower screen. It sounds clunky and difficult to manage but after about an hour into the game it feels pretty natural. And come on, in the past decade or so there have been fewer than a handful of games who have taken a bold approach when it comes to controls and battle mechanics, this is a game that implemented something unique and innovative that was pretty good in execution.
Although I think I have tooted its horn enough, I would be remiss if I did not mention its sound track. The sound track is absolutely the strongest point of this game. Each battle has a random track and they are all extremely fitting for the theme of the game, whats more is that there are several remixed versions in the game file including ones in different languages (English and Japanese) so you never get tired of the battle music getting too repetitive. I find myself going back to the game and playing a few battles just to listen to the music.
And if being able to grab a physical DS is not possible than at least try the game out on android or IOS, its around $17.99 but its definitely worth it. It retains most of the charm of the original except for the unique control system which is a shame but don’t let that stop you from experiencing a masterpiece.
Although it is arguably the best the Nintendo DS has to offer, Square never decided to release a sequel, we were teased something at the end of the Android and IOS version with this graphic
And many took this as an indication of the return of the series as the character portrayed is all but confirmed to be the daughter of the two main characters from the world ends with you. But its over 5 years since we last saw that image revealed and we have heard nothing since. The last we saw of Neku and his friends was in Kingdom hearts Dream Drop Distance as guest characters, here’s to hoping that their world hasn’t ended