Developer: Jupiter Corp
Release Date: 4/21/2008
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The Good: Another amazing Square Enix story, interesting combat design, twists cliche RPG elements, very memorable characters
The Bad: Dual screen combat just doesn’t work, can be extremely hard sometimes, a bit long winded for a portable game
I first have to mention that this game was made by the extremely talented Square Enix and Tetsuya Nomura was behind this (Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts). The World Ends With You is an RPG like no other. They took the cliche elements of RPGs and twisted them around so much it’s an enjoyable new welcome. First off, the story is the strong point here. You wake up in Shibuya without your memory and all you have is a Player Pin and you have to stop the Noise and find your way back to the Real Ground. The combat in here is great but is the most flawed part of the game. You use the stylus to fight with Neku by using Player Pins. Think of these pins as weapons with different attributes. You can tap empty space to send sparks flying, shout in the mic to create a shockwave, slack up on Neku to hit enemies, healing pins, some pins have you drawing circles to send meteors crashing, some pins use telekinesis to send signs, cones, and even cars flying into your enemies. On the top screen, you control your partner (there are three throughout the game) by using the D-pad or the face buttons.
This is where it’s flawed; controlling two screens at a time does not work. You either have to focus on one or the other, but what makes it harder is you have a combo tree when you hit the button and you have too much up certain cards to make a fusion pin appear for a super powerful attack. This is really difficult and annoying because some fights make you control both. You can, however, have the game do it on its own, but the AI seems to be flawed since if you don’t you’ll lose health really fast.
With that aside everything else is great. While you run around Shibuya you can visit stores and buy clothes (think armor) to increase attack and defense etc. What’s neat about this is each section of Shibuya has a “brand chart” and if you wear those clothes or pins you get an attack or stat bonuses. This is also the other flaw in the game, each section is a tiny little area so you’re not going to stop through every section and change your layout out so you just have to use what you like and try to make it popular by fighting the Noise. While we’re on that the Noise is the enemies in the game. You can scan the area with your Player Pin and they all show up as red symbols. Tap these (or more than one for a chain battle) to level up and fight them. When each day of the Game starts you have missions you have to complete via your phone and you have to get past walls that the Reapers put up. To get past these you have to meet objectives such as defeat this many Noise, buy me this or that, take this quiz etc. This tosses things around and makes you want to keep playing. You can add to your attributes as well without leveling up by eating food. These food have to be digested through battles and after so many bites you’ll get the start. You can also change your level to drop more pins as well if you need some good ones.
Of course, this is a Square Enix game so it is dialog heavy and there are text based cut scenes every five minutes. This adds to the incredible story though so it’s all ok. The graphics are all 2D but they have the same art style as Kingdom Hearts, it looks like, thanks to Tetsuya Nomura. The sounds is a bunch of swishing and bleeping but the music is pretty nice. There are dozens of tracks you can buy in stores. Overall if you can stomach to odd combat design and you want a great story driven game then go for this. This is too complicated for a portable game, but for some odd reason, it still works. I think Square tried to take advantage of the hardware a little too much but this game will sit in our hearts along with Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts because I know it has for me.