Review: The World Ends with You

After being told countless times, by fellow MoarPowah writer Kaushik, to play the game, I’ve finally gone around to beating the well-known and much-acclaimed The World Ends with You, or TWEWY.

At first glance, I figured I’d hate it. There’s no other reason I’d hate something at first glance other than the fact that the art doesn’t agree with me. TWEWY has the same art style as Kingdom Hearts, and yes, if I needed a solid reason to dislike Kingdom Hearts, it’d be that I can’t stand the character designs. And I’ll go ahead and explain more later on, but as for now, let’s see if TWEWY managed to change my mind and prove to me that it’s not just all hype. Let’s dig in, itadakimasu~

I’m actually going to start out with a character run-through. To skip right to commentary, click here. There’s Sakuraba Neku, the only playable character. So basically, you. Neku, when you first meet him, is this typical — dare I say it — emo fag. Neku is utterly impossible to like unless you too are currently stuck in the angsty adolescent emo phase of your life, during which you think you don’t care about anything, and everyone should just leave you alone, when in fact you just want attention.

Leave me alone.

Thankfully, Neku gets quite a lot of character development as the game progresses. Like any game aimed for the teen age-group, Neku is obligated to learn the value of friendship and the value of life in general. So he does, via the hardships and struggles the Reaper Game puts him through, and his personality makes a complete 180, turning him into a successful functional part of society. And the person responsible for this is ultimately…

Misaki Shiki. Shiki, when you first meet her, is this poser/hipster/fashionista chick who’s cheerful and kind to a fault. Another unbearable character. She just doesn’t know when to give up when it pertains to Neku’s antisocial mindset, and is constantly trying to get him to get along and work together with others. Oh, and she’s constantly trying to understand Neku. Shiki is what Relena Peacecraft was to Gundam. Gameplay-wise, she’s one of the partners you’ll have to work with in order to fight. But enough of her, let’s move on to…

Kiryuu Yoshiya, or as most people know it, Joshua. Joshua is this snooty pretty boy who basically stalks you down and scouts you out for a partnership pact. Other than being snooty, Joshua seems to enjoy leading people around by the nose and doing things at his own pace. And what seems to frustrate Neku the most is how Joshua’s tendency to never tell the whole truth. However, Joshua was my favorite partner to work with, probably because his conversations with Neku were most interesting. Plus, he’s a pretty big part of the plot, but sit tight. The spoilers come after I introduce your final battle partner…

Bitou Daisukenojou, otherwise known as just Beat. He hates his full name and freaks out whenever someone uses it. He’s the run-of-the-mill idiot, and seems to be utterly useless at life without, Bitou Raimu, or just Rhyme. Beat and Rhyme are first introduced as a pair, and they are as different as they could be. Beat is this hulkin’ guy while Rhyme is this tiny little girl (I couldn’t tell she was a girl first). Where Beat is rash and impatient, Rhyme is calm and collected. Unfortunately, our brains-and-muscle combo are torn apart when Rhyme gets killed trying to save Beat.

And this is where the tie-in to the plot is! Yay. So, basically Neku&Co. are trapped in an alternate dimension Shibuya, and in order to get out, as “players” they have to beat what’s called the Reaper’s Game. It’s a game that lasts a week, and the only requirement for beating the game is for one set of players to fulfill the daily mission, which is decided by the Game Master (as for who chooses the Game Master each week, that’s for the big boss Composer to decide). Sound easy enough? Well, this is where Reapers come in.

All Reapers have wings.

The Reapers’ job is to kill off as many teams as possible by chucking Noise at them. The Noise basically look like random demonic animals, and they’re your random monster battles. You fight them with your set of pins/buttons, which basically give you elemental/physical spells/abilities. You can choose to battle the small fry whenever you want by toggling your special Skull pin and tapping on the Noise sigils. So basically, there is no random monster encounter system. The Skull pin also lets you read and imprint ideas into people’s minds.

You need to fully utilize your special Skull pin’s abilities in order to move forward in the game. Sometimes, you’ll need to find special Noise sigils, and other times you’ll need to imprint ideas into people’s minds in order to make them go certain places. The semi-mind control is actually something I found pretty interesting and unique in terms of gameplay in TWEWY.

Gameplay and controls for actual battles are a little tricky for people who don’t game often (like me). You use your stylus to fight, by making lines, flicking the screen, etc… depending on what your battle pins you have equipped. You can also choose to control your partner as you flick away; their attack mode is something like those arcade dancing games where you press the directional buttons (or A/B/X/Y for lefties) in the combination that shows up on the top screen. There are also little mini-games you can earn extra points for in your partner’s battle, but frankly I couldn’t figure out how they worked at all. In any case, if you leave the buttons alone and just flick away, your partner will go on auto-pilot.

You also need the stylus to move around and dodge during a battle, which makes certain battles slightly hectic. I wish they would let you just move around using the directional pad, but of course then you wouldn’t be able to control your partner. Thankfully, for moving around outside of battles, it’s up to you if you want to use your stylus or directional pad.

In TWEWY, there’s also a mini-game that will be an important aspect of one of your missions. It’s called Tin Pin Slammer, and it’s basically like a game of marbles, with pins. I didn’t particularly like it, but it might be fun for some people.

One thing that really ticked me off was the fact that you couldn’t sell back your equipment. Realistically, it makes sense; you can sell back clothes you’ve already worn. But in games, it’s really strange, because you can always sell back equipment to either make room in your inventory or to amass some money when you’re poor. However, this brings up the point that TWEWY has a huge inventory limit, and making money is easy as pie. So although this aspect of the game didn’t actually hinder gameplay, it was just really strange.

What that did actually hinder gameplay a little is that you didn’t get money from battles, you got money pins, and you had to trade them in for money. Except you have to trade them in one by one. For those of us who just forget about the money pins we’ve amassed, we end up spending a good minute dragging and dropping 37 1-yen pins one at a time into the trash button to get 37 yen in usable money.

Upping your stats was pretty easy, although a little tedious. You can get points added to your stats by eating food, but you can only eat a certain number of bytes of food a day. Basically, people get full. TWEWY is realistic in the strangest ways.

Dat anorexic waist.

And now it’s time to get down to Graphics. I still hate the character designs. It’s the style, I say! It’s the trying-too-hard-to-be-hip theme that’s just all over the game. There’s Neku’s emo headphones, his overly spiky Sora-hair, the super thin waist and baggy pants paired with big shoes. As for Shiki, what is with her humongous hat? And why is her skirt almost falling down her butt? Her exposed area below her chest just makes her look freakishly anorexic. These aspects of the style, I can never agree with.


But, not everyone looks awful. Proportion-wise, the older characters look decent enough, with my favorite designs belonging to that of Game Master #2, Minamimoto Shou. Personality-wise, he’s my second favorite. As you can see, he’s batshit insane.

As for graphics in general, TWEWY is fairly detailed with its background art. It uses a lot of vibrant colors, there’s graffiti on the walls and there are always plenty of NPC’s walking around.

I guess it’s finally time for the sound section. The ending credits song, “A Lullaby for You,” by Jyongri, is pretty good, and is quite emotional when you first hear it after beating the game. The TWEWY OST kind of gives the same feel that the art does; it’s try-hard hip and trendy. Some of the tracks weren’t as obviously try-hard as others, but my final verdict has to be that the OST, to me, feels kind of forced. Not to say I don’t like it, but it’s obviously not perfect.

Thus concludes the review of TWEWY. I’m sorry it was so long, I didn’t mean to ramble so much…

Well, I’ll just get this over with. Over and out, gochisousama deshita!

Rating Breakdown
It actually has a pretty interesting and detailed plot, although I can't say more without spoiling. Character development was good, although characters were not necessarily likable, although a little rushed for Neku's first week. Tries to convey a pretty generic message: to trust your friends and to live life to the fullest.
Battling is a little weird, but you get used to it. You can choose to control your partner as well if you're up for the challenge. Moving around in battles gets a little tricky depending on what pins you have equipped.
Pretty unique. Doesn't use the random encounter system, you get to choose when and what monsters you want to battle. Storyline has one linear route, but you have to utilize all the functions of your special Skull pin to progress the story. Slight annoyances here and there, such as not being able to sell back equipment and having to drag-and-drop money pins one by one.
I hate the art style, and the stylistic aspects show the most in Neku and Shiku. For the older characters, it shows less, hence they look better. Background graphics are very vibrant and detailed.
Ending credits song is really great, but the rest of the OST sounds like it's trying too hard to be hip and trendy.
Final verdict? It was a fun game, especially the gameplay aspect. I may have enjoyed this more when I was younger though, since I don't particularly appreciate the trendy-themed art/music, and the characters' personalities are hard to relate to at this age.
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Just someone who was born with mugibrows.


Just someone who was born with mugibrows.

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