I won't rehash all that has been said previously about this game in the other reviews. Simply put: This is the best game I've ever played on the DS. It ranks right up in the Top 3 I've ever played.
I am mainly writing this review for all you casual gamers out there. This game walks you through the steps and actually teaches you what to do PLUS you get practice time. One of my big issues with games is the frustration level since you don't know what to do or where to do it. I bought a DS and a Wii as a way to play more with my kids, since they prefer video over board games (board games are what I grew up with). In an effort to spend some more time with them doing things *they* like to do I started playing the DS. We have found a few Wii games but the majority are only so-so. I was very worried that the DS would have the same problem but we've found quite a few excellent games that really are varied. I have to say this 40+ year old mom has a new love.
Back to the game: I cannot express how awesome this game is. As a FIRST TIME RPG/Action player I have had no problem picking up all the skills needed to play. It is varied and has many options for difficulty. In fact (much to my surprise!) I have been doing much of the game at all 3 levels in order to collect the most pins and level them up. EDA: There is an Ultimate level you get to after beating the game--I've played it as well and it is far more challenging but quite fun!
For any type of gamer I highly recommend TWEWY. I can only hope they make a sequel.
Edited in 2010: This game remains on my top 5 DS games. Since I wrote this review I've played many games for the DS and become much more of a gamer with a particular focus on RPG, SRPG, and Puzzle games. TWEWY's music, characters, unique battle system and storyline are still amongst the best I've ever experienced on the DS. It really is the package that puts this game above so many others--individual games may have strengths in one thing or another but I have found few that can put it all together and provide you a memorable game experience. There are so many little things in this game that make a difference--from the catchy unique music to the way you can aquire experience by taking a break from the game. This title retains its place of honor amongst my games. If someone is looking for an RPG that's not like the others this is still my top recommendation!
The first thing that struck me about `The World Ends With You' is the high quality of the production values. This is a one slick looking game. The next thing that hit me was how complicated the game is. I tend to prefer simpler RPG's like Paper Mario and the fantastic Mario and Luigi games but once you get past the moderate learning curve this is an awesome game. It's also a game the devilishly hard to put down.
As with just about every RPG ever created the meat of the game involves battles and leveling up. The action takes place on both the top and bottom screens. The top screen is managed using the directional pad while the lower requires the stylus. Players are given the choice as to which screen to control while the action in the opposite screen is taken care of by the system. I would generally switch back and forth in mid battle. The stylus attacks are more fun and powerful but the directional pad attacks can allow for devastating synced attacks. It all works very well and has yet to grow tedious. As a player gets more confident in fighting she can chain battles to fight multiple enemies in a row for greater rewards.
The rewards for battles include the standard experience points, cash and treasure but you also get experience points for the pins you bring to the fight. Pins? Pins are a way to customize your attacks. By attaching one or more pins you can employ various attacks including flames, ice, bullets using motions of the stylus. Most pins are upgradable through experience and some even evolve into more powerful pins.
The game I'm most reminded of playing TWEWY is the classic River City Ransom and that is high praise indeed. The game involves traveling around a city, fighting battles and purchasing clothes, foods and pins to increase your fighting abilities. River City Ransom was one of the all time great games and I always wondered why its formula wasn't emulated more. I'm not sure that the developers of The World had River City Ransom in mind when they created this game but it certainly was on mine while I played it.
This is one of the best handheld RPG's I've ever played. The story is very good if a bit more verbose than I usually like. The best thing I can say about this game is I never got bored and that's not always the case with RPG's. There is so much character building in the game whether it be upgrading your pins, creating relationships with salespeople or just increasing your attack and defense stats. I would have to put this game in the must get category for RPG fans.
on June 7, 2008
I just wanna tell everyone about an EXCEPTIONAL game. From beginning to end, in every way, I found it to be a true work of art... in fact, the elements come together to make it one simple thing; a masterpiece.
It is called The World Ends With You, by Square-Enix for the Nintendo DS. I won't go into details about exactly what happens... but just know, the plot, storyline twists, and character development are some of the best in any game I have ever played. They are on par with the best movies I have ever seen.
The game takes you through a journey questioning what it means to be alive, and what the point of living truly is. It keeps you on your toes trying to guess the end, and in the final moments still leaves you absolutely shocked, and even leaves many points unresolved (but luckily you can go back after you beat it and complete tasks which answer these ideas which were vaguely laid out for you). It does so in a mind-twisting way that is so distinctively Japanese its brilliance is astounding.
On top of all of that, it features an exceptionally unique art style, with an innovative and fun battle system. In fact, every system or menu in the game is extremely original, yet simple and easy to get a hang of. The music is also top notch (all sorts of j-pop & rock), and theres lots to collect and play with.
Its rare I will praise ANYTHING this much... but this game rekindles that majesty Square used to be known for; the ability to touch the player with a story told not in a couple hours, but through a course of dozens of hours and countless interactive experiences. The ending, as well as several moments in the game, struck a cord with me and what I am dealing with in my own life. Almost never has a game been so inspirational and therapeutic, while completely avoiding sounding like a self-help book.
The World Ends With You mixes fun and an incredibly powerful narrative into one interactive masterpiece. Its games like these that make me remember why I consider video games to be the most potent art form in our world today.
on November 20, 2009
I used to play a lot of RPG but quit for a long time because most RPG games are just repetitive. Most RPG games you just proceed through a linear storyline and a lot of battles are turned base. There's really no fun in most of the gameplay because of the lack of action, but they're cool with special effects from battles. The World Ends With You however is ENTIRELY UNIQUE; there is no close substitute to this game.
- Really fluid motion and great colors to the game.
- The cutscene with the anime characters look smooth and fit into the mood of the game.
- Really catchy with the mood of the storyline.
- Some are in English and some are in Japanese ;)
- It's a hack and slash with REALLY REALLY good concept. It doesn't get repetitive at all.
- Each slash you do is automatically determined by how you slashed the DS stick and depending on the pin you have, your attacks and the effects will be different. Ex. if you slash across a Noise (the monsters) you do a physical slash on the Noise, but if you gently hold down to DS stick and move it across the screen, your character will create a wall of fire.
- Pins give you different attacks & there are so many pins you can customize (plus they level up)
- Clothing is really nice because you can customize 4 for each character.
- Food enables you to gain permanent stats (don't worry about messing up the stats because there's a fixed maximum for all the stats anyways).
- The ability for you to change the difficulty to gain more experience and better drop rate deserves a noble prize.
- The dual screen lets your partner character help you fight the Noise (they are the same enemy you fight just on different screen).
- You can choose to control your partner by using the arrow pad while you control the main character with the DS stick. If you choose not to, you can set in the option to have the computer play your partner's character 100%. If you control your partner and go inactive for a few seconds, they will automatically take over for you.
- The accuracy and smoothness of the DS stick is VERY VERY sharp.
- Wow it has a really nice twist.
- Things are NOT as what they appear.
- The story is one of the better ones out there - entirely unique and new plot not seen before in other RPG.
- Even though the first thing you might notice about this game are the fantastic graphics and music. The REAL revolutionizing factor is the gameplay. That's what you're looking for in the game.
on May 30, 2008
First off, I will have to state for the record that The World Ends With You is the game that broke me into buying a Nintendo DS. I'd seen the previews when the game first was announced in Japan, and eagerly awaited its debut there and eventual port into English. I was not disappointed at all, and this game was well worth the wait.
The World Ends With You is truly innovative gameplay from Square Enix, and I'd say it's one of THE games for a Nintendo DS. The controls are intuitive and work well with the touchscreen (slash for 'slashing' attacks, tap for 'bullet' attacks, etc.), but the top screen is not ignored. It takes some time to get used to watching both screens at once, but thankfully the game has Autoplay settings that allow the game to take over for you.
Aside from the gameplay itself, TWEWY is full of fresh and appropriate music (you're in Shibuya, so of course there will be Jpop/Jrock). There is also tons of customization to be had, from the Pins you use (over 300) to the clothes you wear (laugh at the gothic loli dresses all you want, but they provide great stat boosts). There's even the Squeenix staple of a minigame -- Tin Pin Slammer -- that you can have fun with when you don't feel like slaughtering Noise.
The 'time limit' of 7 days makes the whole game seem like it's going fast, though you can really take it at your own pace. Aside from the plot-related fights, all battles are controlled by the player, so there's no random encounters or turn-based combat. Even in these "7 days", the characters themselves are engaging and much more than they seem on the surface -- even the Reapers are different from each other and have their own quirks, and the NPCs you encounter are quite fabulous. While the main character of Neku Sakuraba starts off as a misanthrope, you can't help but get captured by his changes through the game; he's definitely not a static, cookie-cutter character.
The World Ends With You is a great game, and I recommend that anyone with a DS buy it and enjoy it as well.
on August 25, 2008
I'm a big fan of dungeon crawls and RPGs in general. Some of my recent favorites are Rune Factory, Shiren the Wanderer, and the Zelda series. I love games with lots of secrets and long "checklists" of difficult goals to accomplish. I review from this perspective.
TWEWY is quite different than the usual fantasy RPG dungeon crawl I enjoy. The action takes place entirely within an alternate reality version of downtown Tokyo (Shibuya). Despite that fact, I've played over 30 hours now and there are several things about the game that I like. My favorite aspect is the intriguing plot. It reminds me of The Matrix: completely arbitrary, inconsistent, and absurd, and yet somehow the story works so well that you ignore how ridiculous it is. The combat system is innovative, making excellent use of the DS hardware (touch screen, wireless features, etc.). Left-handers will appreciate that fact that TWEWY controls are (nearly) perfectly symmetrical. You are rarely forced into battle without warning -- combat is avoidable, optional, and you can see it coming in most cases. The game has a wide variety of "pins" (weapons) and monsters, both of which break up the monotony of combat somewhat. Also, there's a decent wireless minigame for 1-4 players. Some players will enjoy the "street punk anime" design ethic; I'm neutral on this particular aspect.
But on the downside, the game is highly, highly repetitive, the epitome of a "grind". In many checklist-type games where you "have to have them all", I enjoy finding all the secrets and mastering all the possibilities. Not so in TWEWY. In order to get all the secrets, you would need to grind and grind and grind the same basic combat approximately 5,000 times (no exaggeration) -- and that's if you're good at the combat and know how to maximize the experience you get from it. Yes, the weapons and enemies do change over time, but I'm well past sick of the combat system after 1,000 battles and have given up any notion of "getting them all" and am just focusing on finishing the plot. Moreover, it is simply inconceivable that anyone could find most secrets on their own. For example, "pin evolution" (e.g. creating rare and hidden weapons by evolving them from lower forms) is so convoluted you'd have to be insanely dedicated to explore the evolutionary possibilities on your own, or, do the only sane thing and "cheat" with a hint book or online guide. I looked at an online guide and was glad I did, because it completely disabused me of the notion that I'd enjoy mastering all pins. Many secrets cannot be obtained unless you play via the DS wireless system. Even more secrets cannot be obtained except by *not* playing the game for days or even months on end. (Dozens of secrets only unlock if you leave the game shut down in specific states, and you have to leave it shut down for a *long* time. See my comment on this review below for a spoiler secret which can greatly help ease this frustration.) In short, 99.99% of all gamers simply aren't hard-core enough to enjoy getting all the secrets, and I say this as someone who enjoyed spending 300+ hours unlocking all the arcane secrets from the very difficult Shiren the Wanderer.
My biggest complaint is harder to quantify, which is that I just don't enjoy TWEWY as much as other RPGs. In another RPG, I might enjoy teasing open a long chain of puzzles to unlock a final mystery; but in TWEWY, the inter-twined pins/brands/items system feels very flat and arbitrary. I imagine this is what a good RPG must seem like to someone who doesn't like RPGs. Maybe it's the weird setting, or maybe its the unabashedly massive grind, but for whatever the reason, I plan to finish this game for the plot but don't plan to recommend it to any of my friends.
on June 3, 2008
The game stars a young teenager, Neku, a kid sick and tired of the world and the people in it, who wakes up in a strange version of his hometown with all his memories gone. It turns out to be a game organized by a strange group that calls themselves "Reapers" where he has to work with this strange preppy stalker girl, Shiki, to win the game in 7 days or face "erasure"!
The game play takes a little time to get use to, but feels extremely satisfying when you do get good at it. You control Neku at the bottom screen with the stylus and control Shiki at the top with the buttons, at the same time. This sounds a little confusing, at first but you quickly do get the hang of it, the game also features many ways to adjust the difficulty to your liking. You equip pins to modify Neku's psychic powers, most pins also have brands that get enhancements depending on the trends in your location. In fact, even the clothing that your characters equip get bonuses based off of the trends.
The game even takes the ideas of trends and fashions and applies it to the art and music. It's soundtrack features a trendy mix of Hip-hop, Rock, Techno and JPop reminding some of other artistic games with trendy music such as Jet Set Radio. The art as well is hard and edgy, with many sharp edges and strange proportions, it definitely takes style and cranks it past 11.
The only thing I can say where it lacks is the lack of a multiple player battle mode or co-op, (It features multiple player in the forum of a fun mini-game) and that it has only one save file. However with the intriguing story (with it's surprising plot twists), addictive gameplay, quantity of things to explore, collect, and customize, and killer sound track and art, The World Ends With You is a game you do not want to miss! (And with the game being hard to find you should check back as often as possible to see when it is available)
A WARNING TO PARENTS: This game is rated T for Teen. Some games rated T are more okay for children than others, (with content matching what is often in children's cartoon shows despite being rated T) . This game however, is not the case, despite the kid-friendly design of the characters this game this game features a lot of STRONG LANGUAGE and ADULT CONTENT, and I strongly suggest this for ONLY AGES 13 AND UP.
on May 1, 2008
It's kind of difficult to be a gamer in the next-gen era since there's just so many games that it is kind of difficult to invest the kind of hours a game requires since there is so many games that interest you and with work, school etc taking up time as well, it can be tricky trying to play everything that comes down the pipe. Strange as it is, I haven't played much DS games but not for lack of games but just lack of funds. I thought I'd give The World Ends With You a shot and while I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite games on the DS, it's sure quite fun to play anyway.
Story: You play as Neku, a kid who is more comfortable being by himself and doesn't want to rely on anyone (a kid after my own heart, it seems). He awakens in the Shibuya District in Tokyo with amnesia and no clue of how we arrived. Soon, he receives a message to be somewhere in 60 minutes or face erasure. With the ability to read minds and teaming up with a young girl, Shiki, Neku has to complete various tasks and take on numerous creatures lest he face being erased.
Graphics: The game's graphics go for more a presentation rather than really going all-out in terms of the visuals. With character designs from Tetsuya Nomura who worked on various Final Fantasy games and the movie, the game takes on a comic-book feel mixed with 2D graphics to create the world which is quite inviting and certainly never boring.
Sound/Music: The voice acting is kind of scattered with voice clips and sentences now and then as well as the occasional "huh?" when a character's confused or surprised. It works well within the game though too bad it wasn't voice acting the entire game. As for the music, it's a good mix of J-Pop and Rock and even though I wouldn't really call it a buy or even download-worthy but it works quite well and I never felt like I had to put on my own music.
Gameplay: Most DS games use either screen as a map or extra gameplay features such as accessing special attacks or character stats. This game however requires both to fight as Neku and his partner have to battle the creatures on both screens in a sort-of tag team as Neku battles with the stylus on the bottom while the partner takes on the same enemy with the D-Pad or the face buttons on the top. Beat an enemy on one screen and it disappears from both screen so coordination and combos are extremely helpful. In fact they're kind of a necessity since successful attacks will pass a "puck" to the other player and keep it going long enough and better attacks will form. I will admit at first it was hard to keep track of both screens but while I still got hit quite a bit, I became a lot better and with the game's adjustable difficulty menu (the "harder" you make it, the better items and EXP you get) so it's best to start slow.
Neku uses attacks based on "pins" which are basically equippable moves that can level up the more you use them. One requires a vertical slash with the stylus to cut enemies while another can allow you to nab cars and other objects and fling them at enemies. Tap repeatedly for bullets, drag to create a fire trail or slash vertically to create ice columns are just some of the special attacks that you can utilize. If you don't have a screen protector yet, buy one since the action can get quite scratch-heavy and a protector will help. Another is that it's very easy to miss your enemy and with a usage timer that has to recharge before you can use it again, you'll probably rely on a certain set of pins for best in battle.
Other things can be used such as shops where you can buy clothing and wearing certain clothing in certain areas will give you bonuses since you're more "with it". It is isn't like say San Andreas where you can make your guy super muscular or ridiculously fat but it gives more options for strategy and gameplay changes. Other things like eating food which takes time to digest which will also give you stats help with playing the game and the customizing and new game+ features help the game feel more fresh the more you play. A word of caution though: this game can easily kick your *** if you're not careful and I often found myself being attacked from all sides on both screens because my eyes or fingers weren't fast enough but not to dissuade gamers from picking it up since it is fun and certainly different than "press X" gameplay but it took some getting used to.
There's games that are a bit more niche audience and more for a certain kind of gamer but I'd say everyone needs to at least play The World Ends With You at least once. Not just for the uniqueness of it but the possibility after all the weirdness that you just might end up loving it.
on April 25, 2008
The best thing about this game is the combat. It is excellent, if you don't mind working fast with both of your hands at the same time (one on the stylus, one on the keys). The depth is very impressive for a DS game. Furthermore, you can really challenge your skills by reducing your level and increasing the difficulty (yielding better drops). Monster behavior is quite diverse, and if you want to excel at combat, it will take you a lot longer than just finishing the storyline.
That said, if you can't stand button mashing, you might be frustrated at times. Also, ultimately you are still bound by the rules of RPG -- regardless of how good your skills are, you can always achieve all the game's objectives by simply putting enough time into the game.
The storyline is very good, but the characters are barely decent (or worse, depending on your taste).
The game has a lot of unique features that are just fun to learn about.
Music is excellent if you like j-pop. Overall feel and quality of the game is also excellent, despite being set in a modern Tokyo (which is kinda less fun than middle-earth dungeons and dragons, IMO).
Overall, I consider it one of the top DS games.
You can read more about this game at the general and gameplay wiki:
on December 27, 2012
This game is a very different experience. If you are thinking about this game because you're a fan of other Square Enix RPG's, you need to be aware that this game is a very different animal. The setting being a real place, trendy clothes instead of armor, delayed effect single-use items, and "random" encounters completely under your control make this a unique game. Character personalities are fairly typical, but they each have an interesting back-story to them.
The actual gameplay is as different as the backdrop. The map is big enough that it doesn't feel small, but not so big that you won't have a vague sense of how to get where you want to be. Armor and weapons are replaced by clothes and pins (think flair) and their relative effectiveness is dictated by their brands. Certain sections of town like certain brands, depending on what shops are in and around there and how much you use certain brands in that area. There are a ton of items, plenty to do after you beat the game, and it has decent replay value.
On the subject of uniqueness, the combat is bizarre. In combat, you control the main character and his partner simultaneously, but they appear to be fighting in different spaces on different screens. The main character is controlled by the stylus on the lower screen, and the partner character is controlled on the top screen with the directional pad. The main character uses the pins. Each one does a slightly different thing and is controlled in a slightly different way. Again, you control both simultaneously. This is not as difficult as it sounds, as a key combat mechanic is to complete a combo with one character and then complete a combo with the other character.
In summation, this is a very fun game an you won't play anything else like it. This is the best use of the two screen system I've ever seen. The combat is odd, but sounds much harder than it actually is.