Our Rating: 8.5/10
A new game from The World Ends With You, a cult classic that was long “lost” on the Nintendo DS, was something no one could have predicted. Less than a year after its announcement, we already have a release date! Additionally, they also have an anime adaptation of the first game. And now, a demo to show what NEO: The World Ends With You will be like. This is without a doubt the strangest reality to be in!
Presentation and Style
First and foremost, two aspects of the game stand out. The first is how densely packed the dialog and cutscenes are. The majority of the cutscenes are presented in the style of a Visual Novel. The character portraits and speech bubbles dubbed and presented in a dynamic manner. It manages to imitate a comic book feel at times. As well as more special cutscenes with the 3D models of the flawless characters on occasion.
The game begins with the protagonist, Laughing Kanade, and his best friend, Fret, meeting in Shibuya. There was a constant dialogue between the two throughout the demo’s two hours. Their personalities aren’t particularly striking at first, and they appear to be one-dimensional.
However, this is more forgivable since it’s early in the game. There’s a lot of dialogue to help the player and introduce game situations. On the other hand, one of the most appealing aspects of their conversation is how well it flows. It is never boring to listen to them speak.
What Stands Out
The game’s style, which encompasses everything from character design to menus to set, is the second major feature that stands out early on. It’s no secret that some of the game’s creators are fashionistas. Urban fashion is an integral part of who they are and, as a result, what they do. All of the characters in The World Ends With You are extremely fashionable. Each new character gave me the impression that I was playing a video game version of a fashion magazine.
The style is reflected in the way the player interacts with the game; all scenarios feature a fixed camera and slightly surreal architecture, such as curved buildings, which allows for very specific presentation angles. This, combined with the game’s use of vibrant colors, gives the impression that the developers want to take me by the hand and show me around Shibuya.
Gameplay + Music
In terms of gameplay, the game has an unusual combat system, with each character’s attack being triggered by a dedicated button that the player can customize, and combat taking place by switching between each member of your team in real-time, without allowing too many openings to the enemy.
The game’s challenge eventually becomes determining how much each member can attack without becoming exhausted, as well as switching the order of attackers without missing a beat.
The soundtrack also includes songs, each of which has its own distinct and non-video game vibe, adding to the sense of immersion in a modern Japanese city, as I can easily imagine these songs being played on a radio station. They lose the impact that singing songs would normally have on a game because they are all present at the same time, but that doesn’t take away from the positive impression they all leave. I’m looking forward to hearing the entire soundtrack when the game launches.