The World Ends With You: Final Remix
The World Ends With You: Final Remix
Game Reviewed: The World Ends With You: Final Remix
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Jupiter, Square Enix
Reviewer: Samuel Gronseth II
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (other versions on DS and iPhone)
Category: Japanese RPG
ESRB Rating: T
The World Ends With You originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2007, and is beloved to this day as one of the best games on the system (and the DS had a LOT of exceptional games). Its jazzy art style, rockin’ soundtrack, and ceaselessly affirming story captured a lot of people’s hearts: enough people that it was eventually re-released on iOS devices, and is now getting a re-release on the Nintendo Switch.The World Ends With You plays out in two formats; events in the story take place with a simple interface showing the characters speaking and their dialogue in thought bubbles. Between the events of the story, players will navigate the streets of Shibuya (a busy commercial district in Tokyo) and fight creatures called Noise using a variety of supernatural abilities. The game can be played with a few different controllers, so whether the player is using buttons or motion controls depends on their preferred style.Final Remix is making a few upgrades and changes to the original game; the biggest is that the battle system is changing to accomodate the new system, and it’s getting a co-op mode so two players can play through the story together. It’s also adding an extra chapter of the story: since this review is being written as the game releases, it will be updated later if this new chapter includes any content worth mentioning, but it’s unlikely it will include any more offensive content than the base game.So what does this beloved RPG have to offer you and/or your child? Let’s take a look.
What Parents Need to Know
The player primarily fights strange creatures called Noise, which are modeled after real-life animals. Neku has many abilities at his disposal, so the player can burn enemies with fire, slash them with a weapon, throw objects at them, electrocute them, punch them, throw orbs of energy at them, all sorts of things. There is no blood, and when erased, the Noise simply dissipates.
On the rare occasions Neku finds himself battling more human enemies, there is still no blood.
The dialogue sometimes includes terms such as “damn,” “ass,” “hell,” and other such mild vulgarity.
One of the game’s songs includes some suggestive lyrics (e.g. “touch me when you want me, anytime”).
The entire game takes place in a fictional afterlife, in which all the characters have died and are now being put through this series of challenges to determine which deserve either a second chance at life, or the opportunity to move up in the ranks of the afterlife. The setting includes hierarchies of “reapers,” a Composer who fills a fairly godlike role, and “angels” that are even higher in authority (little is known about them). Like much Japanese media, it utilizes elements of Christian supernatural belief, but not in a way that much resembles it.
The characters are able to use a variety of powers using pins, such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, lightning, etc. Players are also able to interact with the real world in various ways, including the maniplation of a game board called “Reaper Creeper,” which people in the real world play to answer questions; it’s similar in concept to a ouija board.
The protagonist begins the game as a legitimately terrible person, even to the point of trying to kill his partner when he’s led to believe it will benefit him. However…
…the entire game is not only dedicated to developing Neku into a better person, but building a complex and cohesive philosophy around it. Specifically, the idea that we must expand our world by connecting with people and trying to understand the world from other perspectives in order to better our lives, others’ lives, and ultimately, the world.
Along the way, it addresses a number of other difficulties that teenagers tend to face, from self-worth issues to dealing with grief to trying to find your place in the world. In the end, I have very rarely seen a game with the sheer breadth and depth of positive messages as The World Ends With You.
A Child’s Perspective:
I was a teenager when I first played this game, and I absolutely loved it. It would certainly connect with that demographic first and foremost, but I imagine it should be pretty enjoyable to just about any age group that doesn’t mind reading (as the game relies on a lot of text for tutorials and storytelling).
The World Ends With You immediately became one of my favorite games when I played it in 2007, and replaying it today, it holds up shockingly well. It’s always been visually striking, and the upgrade to HD on the Switch serves it well. The soundtrack is a delight, with a genre-hopping mix of distinctly J-pop tunes that perfectly compliment the game’s atmosphere and stick in your head long after you’ve switched the console off.
The game’s unique battle system is simplified for the Switch, compared to the frantic two-screen combat on DS, but the core experience is intact and as fun as ever. The game plays more smoothly in handheld mode, using the touch screen to control Neku in single-player mode, but using the Joy-cons, while less precise, allows two people to play through the story together, which I would recommend for one very important reason:
This is a game to talk about with your child. This is a game you should play with them, pay attention to, and use as a springboard for discussion. Very few games tackle the kinds of issues The World Ends With You does, and even fewer address as many with as much depth and cohesion. It’s hard not to come away with this game having learned something valuable, and if your kid can handle the T-rated content, there are few better opportunities to grow with them over a video game.
Samuel Gronseth II
Samuel Gronseth II is an avid video game enthusiast who manages Video Game Reviews at TheSource4Parents.com. He has experience teaching about video games, and is passionate about their storytelling potential. Sam's favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back, and his favorite video game is Persona 4. Sam lives in Knoxville, TN with his wife, Jimi. To see more of Samuel, check out his Youtube series Games as Lit. 101, where he examines the stories of beloved video games to see what we can learn from them: https://www.youtube.com/gamesasliterature.