Square Enix, one of the most prominent, and at one time most beloved production and development studios, was once known for taking several chances and releasing some of the most unique and interesting JRPG IPs the genre and gamers had ever known. One of the more unique games they worked on was the original “The World Ends With You”. Well known for an interesting take on the Action RPG genre coupled with an absolutely fantastic soundtrack. The game eventually got a smartphone re-release four years ago that added in extra content. “The World Ends With You: Final Remix” is basically a remaster of a re-release of an original game. And while the game is still very fun, some things were lost in translation.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 12
Players: 1-2 Players
As stated before, TWEWY:FR is a remaster of a re-release of the original game. Everything from the phone version is available in this final installment, along with an additional scenario for fans and newcomers alike to enjoy. The control scheme has been adapted to, supposedly, take advantage of the Joy-Con controllers. The control scheme alone is the major flaw in this release of the game.
First and foremost, let’s begin with the story as usual. TWEWY is a fairly unique ARPG from Square Enix, taking place in an alternate Shibuya district of Japan. There are two forms of Shibuya; the real Shibuya and the Shibuya in which the game takes place. At the start of the game, none of the characters know why they are there; they’re only told that they must take place in a competition of sorts.
Winners will be set free, as well as given back their “entry fee,” something that is most important to them. The losers? They are permanently destroyed. The main game takes place over the course of three weeks and follows the main character, Neku.
Each week, something new is taken from Neku, and something else is given back. At the start of the game, Neku has no memories of life before entering the alternate Shibuya; only to be given them back at the end of the first week, much against the standard rules of the competition that he finds himself in.
The player will take control during each day of the week, and each day Neku and his partner are given a new task. Most of the time you will just be more or less directed through different screens in the Shibuya district while having to talk to different NPCs on that screen.
Other times, you will be asked to “scan” an area, which reveal the thoughts of nearby NPCs, as well as show the enemies present. Since there are no random encounters in TWEWY, scanning an area is the only way to gain experience through combat. There are other ways to increase the levels of your attacks however.
While the story and the setting are fairly novel, due to the way the game is set up, the pacing of the game can become a bit off; going from fairly fast with a lot happening, to long lulls as you move from screen to screen to get to the point where the story picks up once again.
Speaking of lulls, each day is on a timer, but the timer is just there as a plot point, as it doesn’t actually track with real time or the actions the player takes on that day.
So, for instance, you can sit there for literal hours just grinding on noise monsters or playing the top game all the while the game tells you that Neku and his partner have an hour to reach a statue.
Mechanically, well, that’s where another major issue arises. See, the original game was on the Nintendo DS and took advantage of the top and bottom screen for the combat, which actually worked out fairly well.
Since the Switch doesn’t have the second screen, a different approach was required. You can play the game with either a single joy-con in both handheld and TV mode, or in handheld mode with no joy-con support.
The problem basically comes down to movement and the way that attacks are handled. Here’s the thing, there is no auto attack or basic attack option. All attacks are done via pins that you gain through the game, and those attacks are done by drawing an attack animation on the screen, either with your finger or with the joy-con.
Movement is easier with the joy-con, as you’re able to use the joy-con stick to move, but you must draw the attacks through the air. When I was playing through, my cursor would keep tracking way off screen and I was constantly hitting the realign button just to keep things centered.
While using the touch screen, you must manually track across the screen in order to move, but the upside is that you can now draw on the screen the attacks that you want to use. Again, during my playthrough, the big issue with this mode was that I would more than occasionally cause Neku to backtrack to a previous screen while trying to get him to move from a transition point on the current screen.
Attacks were easier, especially once I gained several different pins, but movement became more of a hassle, especially while in combat. I would find myself just standing in one spot during combat and just throwing out attacks as they came off cool down. There are pros and cons to each mode, but each is essentially just as annoying as the other.
Outside of combat and story, there actually is a true gem here with TWEWY. Graphically the game just looks good. Colors, enemies, the environment, attacks- all of it just pops. There is a very comic or animation like feel with this game, and while the story might get dark at times, the graphics are a very nice contrast to what should be an overall very dark and slightly depressing game.
Musically – well, if you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ll know that I’m fairly tone deaf and don’t appreciate music as much as I probably should.
If you haven’t read my previous reviews, I’m fairly tone deaf and don’t appreciate music as much as I should, but there is just something here with TWEWY that had me turning up the sound or plugging in my headset and just enjoying the music and the soundtrack that the game offered.
The main theme of the first week was one of the songs I enjoyed the most. Y’all have already gotten more than enough out of me, so don’t ask for a track title. Just don’t.
TWEWY has a lot to offer for fans of the JRPG and the ARPG genres, but there is just so much that holds it back in this iteration, mostly in terms of combat and controls. As much as I am generally all for remasters and remakes of older games, there are some that just need a lot more work than they receive and The World Ends With You is one of those games.
SE should have taken some advice from Atlus and probably just kept this game on the DS/3DS family of systems with as many upgrades and improvements they could fit in. The move from 2 screens to 1 while still trying to maintain the touch options of the original severely held this game back. While most of the issues became easier to manage the more I played, they were still issues and really shouldn’t have been present to begin with.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix is a decent enough ARPG and is probably a genre that the Switch really needs more of, but the fantastic soundtrack alone isn’t enough to warrant the new release price tag the game currently carries. Even fans of the original game would have a hard time rationalizing a pick up at this time. While it is probably worth a buy after a price drop, at this time, I just honestly can’t say that this game is worth it at the current price. Either hold off for a bit or just cherish your original copy if you still have it.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a review copy provided by Square Enix. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 6
- An absolutely amazing soundtrack that made someone who usually bypasses music sit up and listen
- Some good characters and the main character actually has some sort of growth
- Interesting attacks with a combat mechanic that makes the player pay attention and choose the right attack combinations for the right enemies
- Interesting art style and setting
- The move from a 2 screen system to a 1 screen system added in several very annoying mechanics that make the game more of a drudge to play than an enjoyable experience
- Having to choose between joy-con control or touch control is a choice between 2 annoying experiences with their own issues that take away from the game
- Many attacks early on use the same attack draw which can cause the player to use one attack when they wanted to use another