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

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Stylus action! (it's good)

   The World Ends with you is from the famous RPG developer, Square Enix most well-known for their Final Fantasy series.  However Squeenix (as I like to call them) took a risk with this new IP and it paid off for them.

    Style.  That’s all that needs to be said about the visuals but I’ll delve deeper.  The World Ends with you is heavily influenced by anime art styles.  Each character looks refreshingly unique and what they wear really tells you a lot about their personality.  The enemies also look unique as well.  Technically the game is solid with no real frame rate hitches even when there are multiple enemies on screen.

    Where The World Ends With You (which will henceforth be known as TWEWY) really shines and what sets it apart from Squeenix’s other games is the combat system.  In the game you collect pins which have offensive (and sometimes defensive) capabilities.  For example an early pin that you receive is one that allows you to make an icicle spring from the ground and hit the enemy.  Here is where the fun part comes in, all combat is done with the DS Stylus.  So for the icicle pin you simply slash upward on the screen under the enemy you want to attack.  It is super intuitive and fun to use.  The game has a ton of pins and with each one comes a new gesture you have to use to activate it.  The gameplay is without a question a breath of fresh air into the genre.  Another aspect to the combat is that you control two characters at the same time, one on the top screen and one on the bottom screen.  If you are like me and cannot handle controlling two characters at the same time, luckily you can set the second character on the top screen to auto.  Unfortunately auto doesn’t work very well so if you can get away from the enemies on the bottom screen input a command or two to the top.

    The story of TWEWY is solid.  Without giving anything away, the game takes place in the real life fashion district, Shibuya, in Japan.  A kind of Matrix vibe is going on because the character you play as (Neku) has to take part in the Reaper’s Game and complete tasks every day.  It sounds odd but it turns out to be very good.

    As far as multiplayer would have been better if Squeenix would have just left it out.  The only real multiplayer mode is called Pin Slammer which is only a minigame in the main game.  You basically are controlling a pin and are trying to knock the other person’s pin out of the ring.  Think kind of like Beyblade but with pins (terrible reference).  There is also the kind of bark mode thing from Nintendogs...ya...

    While the multiplayer may be lacking, TWEWY’s soundtrack is anything but. There is an assortment of hip-hop, rock and of course some J-Pop.  This is the kind of music that will stick in your head for weeks.  The kind of main area of the game called Scramble Crossing is still stuck in my head to this day (Calling by Leah).  The soundtrack was so good that I actually went and bought it.

    After you finish the game you can go back and try to max out stats and collect every piece of enemy data.  I’m not a super collector, or completionist and this game didn’t convert me over to it either.  But it is good for those who do like to collect everything.

    The World Ends With You (had to use the whole name here) is a great start to a new franchise.  The melding of gameplay, story, and audio coalesce perfectly into one of the best DS games ever.

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