Review by MasterSword1994

Reviewed: 08/29/08

Hopefully, the series doesn't end with one game.

The World Ends With You, or TWEWY for short, is a JRPG created by Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts team and Jupiter. Development for this game was inspired in some parts by certain parts of Chain of Memories, and this game has some small resemblances to it.

The World Ends With You takes place in the busy Shibuya shopping district, located in Tokyo. It is a big place filled with many people, and many clashing desires.

The main character is Neku Sakuraba, a teenager who goes with two common RPG elements; spiky hair and some sort of grudge against humanity. While this may seem like a major turnoff for most players, this actually goes along with the theme of this game; trust your partner. Neku learns this along the way through the story.

Gameplay: 8/10
The gameplay receives a solid 8 here. The battle system is rather original; the main character, Neku, fights on the bottom screen, while your partner (Explained below) will fight on the top. The enemies share both screens and health; defeating one enemy on one screen will kill it on the other. This works both ways; if your partner runs out of health, Neku will die as well. If he dies, your partner snuffs it, earning you a game over.

Attacking is done through the use of pins; different pins have different psychs, or abilities. These psychs are activated through many different Touch Screen movements: Slash Neku, Tap Empty Space, etc. This is where the battling can get rather frustrating; certain commands may be confused for others. One particular case would be in which you are trying to move away from an enemy; this is done by dragging Neku to the location you'd like to move to. However, one slight mistake and you'll end up creating a burst of flames rather than running, causing the poor angst-filled protagonist to promptly receive the beating of his life.

Your partner fights using the Control Pad: Merely press left or right and he/she will attack in that direction. At that point, you can use any direction to navigate through the combo map. Rather simple. The only problem here is that your partners cannot move, leaving them little chance of avoiding. Pressing down will cause your partner to either block or dodge (Depending on the partner), solving this problem.

My only gripe about the gameplay is the touch screen issues; however, this game makes up for it with its original battle system. The game will seem difficult near the beginning, but will grow moderately easier as you go along, and as you get used to the battle system.

Story: 10/10
The storyline is original and well thought, full of unexpected moments and interesting characters.

It all starts when Neku, the protagonist, wakes up in the middle of the scramble crossing of Shibuya, with no idea how he got there, or why. Shortly after getting up, he notices that there is a black pin in his hand. Flipping it, he realizes that the pin allows him to read the minds of those around him. He then receives a text message ordering him to reach 104, a popular store in Shibuya, signed by "The Reapers." A timer appears on Neku's hand, and he is thrown into the Reaper's Game, a seven day survival test.

This game follows a deep and interesting story, full of surprises. The game doesn't get too repetitive or boring, and the developers did a rather nice job with character development. The World Ends With You's characters are all greatly thought of, with differing personalities, all of which play an important role in Neku's quest for survival, in one way or another. The storyline also has great humor, mixing it in well with the serious side of the story.

All in all, this is the kind of storyline that, in my opinion, seems to start out simple, yet quickly grows into something huge. A perfect 10 out of 10.

Graphics and Sound: 9/10
TWEWY's art style was heavily influenced by Shibuya's youth. Most of Shibuya's many areas are based off of real areas; 104is based off of the department store 109, for example. The developers did a great job with this game's graphics; a lot of the areas Neku can move to are viewed through angled views, offering a unique look at Shibuya's many locations.

The soundtrack is amazing as well; several fitting songs that go quite well in the areas they play in. The Japanese and English soundtracks are slightly different, however. TWEWY's soundtrack covers several different genres; rock, hip hop, etc. Almost all of the songs are worth spending some time on the pause menu to listen to.

Overall, the graphics and sounds together get an exceptional 9/10.

Play Time and Replayablility: 9/10
At the most, this game may take about one week to finish; it all depends on how you play. There are a few secrets to find during the course of the game, but after the ending is where this area shines.

After completing the main storyline, several things are unlocked; a new bonus chapter and several bonus items come to mind. Mastering all the pins will take a while, and completing the item log means that you'll be playing this game for a while in order to completely finish it.

The play time is rather short, but all it's secrets after the game make this a 9/10.

Final Recommendation
This game is a definite buy, for various reasons. Some say it's because of the great plot. Others because of the innovative battle system. Still some say it's the characters that make TWEWY so worth it. As for me, I think it's a mixture of the three, but that's just me.

If deep plots, great humor, and even greater characters are what you prefer in most games, The World Ends With You is up there as one of the top choices out right now.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: The World Ends with You (US, 04/22/08)

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