This post is in regards to the Nintendo DS version by the way; Couldn’t quite bring myself to spend $20 on an iPhone app. I find it difficult to sustain long term gameplay on my phone for multiple reasons, not limited to it being not the most comfortable gaming medium and somewhat distracting, given that a text, Facebook, email, or other miscellaneous notification will appear kind of often. I think ideally, games that consist of 5 to 10 minute sessions are ideal. Anyway, this tangent is better suited in another post.
I have been playing this game on-and-off as time permits and have come to enjoy it immensely. The World Ends with You is an action role-playing Nintendo DS (and iOS) game developed by Square Enix and Jupiter. It’s fairly non-traditional in that it is very stylized and takes place in modern day Shibuya. It’s a game that is saturated and obviously influence by Japanese youth culture, but not to an overwhelming extent. It’s an awesome and unique combination of style, music, and gameplay.
The combat occurs across both screens: Your partner on top and Neku on the bottom. In essence, you control both characters simultaneously. Neku is controlled by activating pins that you collect and level throughout the game. These pins are activated by tapping, slashing, drawing a circle, and so forth. Your partner is controlled by the d-pad as well as the face buttons. The combat kind of takes a while to get used to and is much easier as more pins are unlocks about an hour or so into the game. It’s a system that’s fairly easy to get into on a basic level but difficult to master. I am not sure I get the dual screen combat to be honest.
For the most part, you can leave your partner alone and let the AI control her while you focus on Neku, but her health (shared health bar) will drop rapidly if you do so. What usually works for me is to spam left or right (depending on which way she needs to face) on the d-pad while focusing on Neku, occasionally executing a combo on the top screen when Neku doesn’t need to dodge or avoid anything. It probably doesn’t help that some of the pin mechanics also seem finicky, especially if you pair pins with similar actions (it is difficult to determine what the game considers an upwards flick versus and upwards slash for example). Overall, it is an odd mish mash of novelty mechanics but it is unique feeling, fun, and to be honest, probably one of the only games that actually makes good use of the touch screen.