starfoxa's The World Ends With You (Nintendo DS) review

Stylish, Upbeat, Fun

The cast.
I heard a lot about The World Ends With You when it was called It's A Wonderful World. After reading several articles, my interest was piqued. While my brain could still not comprehend the insane dual screen battles by just reading articles, I knew I had to get my hands on this. Well, I finally did, and it has gone beyond and above my expectations. The World Ends With You is definitely one of the best games on the Nintendo DS; its music, style, gameplay, and story all draw you into the living and breathing world of Shibuya. Despite it being incredibly Japanese, which may ward some potential players off, it would be their loss, as this is not a game to miss.

In the game, one player is controlled using the D-pad or A, B, X, and Y buttons, while the other is controlled using the touch screen, and sometimes the microphone. The catch? These battles are played out simultaneously. Each character that is controlled with the buttons also has a unique combo ability as well, starting as just a "shape matching" game, but progressing into a complex poker-like card system. Thankfully, if you're just learning the system, your partner can "auto-play," allowing you to focus on one screen. Throughout the game, Pins can be collected for Neku (the character controlled with the touch screen) which unlock new abilities for Neku to utilize (attack directly, using magic attacks, etc).

The dual-screen battles do take some time to get used to.
It doesn't stop there, either. Each Pin has a certain brand, such as Jupiter of the Monkey or D+B. Each location in Shibuya has a brand chart, and some brands give boosts in stats while others cut stats in half. By fighting Noise (the enemies of the game) in an area, whatever Neku and his partner are wearing affects the brand chart of the location. Clothing is also of certain branding, affecting stats and brand charts. On the topic of items, food can be eaten and digested by fighting, giving Neku and hs partner stat boosts.

While all of this seems incredibly complicated to grasp at one time, the game does a fantastic job of presenting it all, progressively unveiling new concepts, so you don't have to learn it all at once. In the end, all of these concepts alone are simple and unique. The game does an excellent job of putting all of thfese different concepts together, forming an intricate experience. Even though all of this does sound like an incredible amount, there is a lot more to do: side quests, item creation, friendship with shopkeepers, and more.

The Reapers' Game
The World Ends With You tells the story of Neku Sakuraba, an amnesiac teenager who finds himself in Shibuya with a mysterious pin. He quickly learns that he is in the Reapers' Game, a week-long game that takes place in an otherworldly Shibuya where Reapers and Noise run rampant. Each day presents a new mission, and failure of the mission provokes erasure (essentially, losing the right to exist). To be in the Game, each Player has to give up something (what they hold most dear), whether it is their memories, appearance, or love. By the end of the story (which, I can tell you, does not last one week), there were many twists that I definitely did not expect. The story and dialogue is well-written, with each character's personality growing on you, from the laid-back apathetic Neku, to the hot-tempered street-smart Beat.

The story and style of the game are woven well into the modern-day Shibuya setting. The graffiti-style menus, with heavy Japanese icons and calligraphy, mixed with variety of the music made the game much more fun to play. The game is relatively colorful, with large walls covered in graffiti art, most of it from the famed CAT. The music selection is very good--and very Japanese. From the fast-paced, rapid-fire rhythms of Twister, to the "neurotic over a leisurely tempo" of It's So Wonderful, most every tune fits the situation perfectly. The soundtrack is also available on iTunes, which is awesome.

The World Ends With You shines in a sea of shovelware Nintendo DS games. It is a fresh and upbeat romp through the city of Shibuya. The story pulls you in, the gameplay is involving, and the style fits the setting perfectly. If you own a DS, and you don't have this game, go buy it now. Just get up and go buy it. Seriously.
0 Comments

Other reviews for The World Ends With You (Nintendo DS)

    A breath of fresh air in every sense. 0

    The World Ends With You is an incredible game. It is in fact the best JRPG in a long, long, long time. The World Ends With You is a fantastic RPG because it manages to deliver a catchy soundtrack, beautiful visuals, masterfully stylish presentation, fresh combat and an incredible story.The World Ends With You puts you in control of Neku, an emo kid that follows many emo philosophies. He is suddenly cast into a game where he must complete a challenge given to him. The story follows along giving y...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

    Full circle 0

    Square Enix has been making RPGs for pretty much ever, and the whole spiky-haired, teen angst phenomenon is most likely their fault. Needless to say, the whole thing has been overplayed, and in many situations just feels wrong or unnecessary. Fortunately, The World Ends With You is here to set the record straight, and show us that the "teen angst" vibe doesn't need to be a narrative cop out. Square Enix has finally brought their own story-telling mechanics full circle, and the result is a game t...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.