Before I get started, I feel the need to ask everyone who arrives here to read the whole review. It’s not a long one, and I don’t want anyone to look at the score and dismiss this game. Just hang on tight, and I promise to make this review short and sweet.
WORLD END ECONOMiCA is a visual novel written by Isuna Hasekura, the author of Spice and Wolf. That said, of course there is a lot of economics in this visual novel, as well as intriguing characters and interesting happenings, collected in a unique setting. Here’s the back-of-book rundown of the story:
The visual novel takes place on the moon, after its colonization. It’s more capitalist than any city you’ll find on Earth—it doesn’t matter who you are, if you have money or the ability to make it, you’ll survive on the moon, and prosper.
Hal, our main character, runs away from home, and survives on his own by trading stocks, which he’s pretty good at. The story really begins when Hal gets mixed up with Lisa, the owner of a church on the Moon, and her tenant, Hagana. He ends up living in the church with them and involving himself in their lives, realizing that he can help them by trading stocks and making money.
That’s the basic gist. Now let’s discuss the game.
If only we could. Unfortunately, WORLD END ECONOMiCA is not a game. It’s a kinetic visual novel that doesn’t allow for player choices, or any real interaction from the player at all. This means that you are, essentially, reading a glorified picture book. It sounds bad, yes, but ultimately, WORLD END ECONOMiCA does deliver, just not as a game.
The whole story is fantastic. The writing is great, the characters are engaging, and their interactions are well-executed. The dialogue is reminiscent of Spice and Wolf‘s banter, playful and rife with meaning; in this respect, the translation holds up well. The writing is a fun and interesting read.
But that’s about it. The music, great when you’re playing, is forgettable. As I write this, I can’t recall a single melody from any of the BGMs, even though I know I was humming or whistling along to them when I was playing it. The CGs are more than passable, maintaining the distinct style threaded throughout the illustrations and character portraits, but they aren’t phenomenal.
A lot of great opportunities for CG were passed over in favor of—admittedly beautiful—still shots and portraits. (Above is one of my favorite shots.) There’s a dearth of CGs in general in WORLD END ECONOMiCA.
It goes without saying that there is no gameplay. The novel reads well, but it doesn’t feel like a visual novel. There’s no voice acting, either.
WORLD END ECONOMiCA would seem to me to have been served much, much better as a series of light novels, same as Spice and Wolf. The material here is great, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason for this to be a visual novel instead of a traditional novel.
WORLD END ECONOMiCA does succeed as a novel. As a novel, I would highly recommend it, give it an 8 or 9, but I simply cannot justify that score for a visual novel. It doesn’t doesn’t take advantage of the medium. This is a numerical score that I really don’t want to give but must. However, I do recommend this VN to people who would be interested in reading a great novel. Despite the low score, WORLD END ECONOMiCA is far from a bad novel.
WORLD END ECONOMiCA was reviewed on using a code provided by Sekai Project. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.