The World Ends With You has been re-released on Nintendo Switch, in a ‘Final Remix’ version. How does the classic action RPG hold up on this new portable port, and is it worth a purchase? Here’s our full review.
If you have even vague interest in Japanese RPGs, chances are The World Ends With You has crossed your radar. This action-focused title is one of the more accessible JRPGs, with a fast and frantic battle system and a focus on real-world locations and characters, albeit in a mysterious sci-fi style predicament. This Final Remix version is the same game, except with a new chapter, new tracks and the ability to play with a friend in local coop (which I didn’t get the chance to test).
The World Ends With You: Surreal shenanigans
The bonkers plot is worthy of any anime, with plenty of mystery, surprises and WTF moments thrown in. You play as Neku, a rather mopey and introverted teen who finds himself inadvertently trapped in a deadly game. His hosts, the shadowy Reapers, are forcing Neku and a bunch of other unfortunates to figure out riddles and complete dangerous objectives, to a strict time limit. The penalty for failure? Erasure.
To boost his odds of survival, Neku teams up with another player called Shiki (and is generally mean to her as well, which doesn’t exactly give him much appeal). You’ll also encounter other pairs of players as you battle through the game, each with their own hilarious personalities.
The World Ends With You: Slick presentation
As befitting the game’s setting, The World Ends With You delivers bright, vibrant and energetic-to-the-point-of-hyperactive presentation. Those colourful graphics look fantastic on the Switch’s dinky screen, both crisp and punchy. And while animation is limited (most cutscenes are presented in a slideshow fashion), the cast are great to look at. Emotive expressions and crazy attire? Check and most definitely check.
Like many Japanese games, these cutscenes crop up constantly and on occasion they go on for quite a while. Thankfully they’re for the most part entertaining, but don’t be surprised if you spend an entire commute with the game and only manage a single battle.
The World Ends With You: Losing control
This is an action RPG, so you’ll spend a lot of your time either running about Shibuya and getting into real-time scraps with various foes. You gain new powers by collecting metal pins, which give you special powers. Some are close-range attacks, others allow you to launch missiles at your enemies. It’s a cool way of allowing you to switch about your abilities, to suit your personal playing style.
I never played the Nintendo DS version of The World Ends With You, but those touch controls have apparently been directly ported to this Switch release. Unfortunately I found myself struggling with this method on occasion.
It’s the lack of precision which is most bothering: you have to swipe the screen to move Neku around, and also swipe or tap to attack enemies. But it’s all too easy for the game to confuse your attempts to get out of the way as a desire to knock ten bells out of a nearby foe, which can result in panic and four-letter outbursts when you’re dangerously low on health. The inability to properly move and attack at the same time feels quite cumbersome too.
When the Switch is docked, you can use the joycons to aim at the screen and direct Neku instead. This also feel imprecise however, with the cursor often drifting during battles.
The World Ends With You: Eclectic soundtrack
A lot is often made of the music in The World Ends With You, and it certainly seems to divide critics. Many enjoy the eclectic blend of synth-heavy poppy dance and laid-back hip hop. I’m unfortunately not one of them. Most of it is forgettable or mildly annoying fluff, while the rap is often painful to listen to (spoken as a lifelong hip hop fan). Even the occasional slice of rock can’t really lift proceedings.
Still, I appear to be in the minority on this one, so I’ll shut up.
The World Ends With You: Verdict
If you’re new to The World Ends With You, a fresh and interesting experience awaits – although I’m still not sold on the controls, certainly in portable form.