The Difficulties of Adolescence. The World Ends With You: Final Remix Review

Urban adventure

We all were sixteen once, remember? We were all angry at the world as teenagers, feeling alienated and escaping from the cruel society into our own isolated reality. We immersed ourselves in books and games, drowned our sorrows in the discography of Linkin Park, and contemplated where else we could grow a pink fringe as a sign of protest. Ah, those were wonderful times!

Thank God they will never come back.

The problem with the recently reissued The World Ends with You is that it is a personal appeal to every troubled teenager, an attempt to engage in a dialogue on equal terms. And well, how should I put it… We are not quite sixteen anymore. Therefore, the methods the game resorts to in order to achieve its noble goal often evoke nothing but irritation.

But let’s not go far, take the main character of this whole story, for example. Meet Neku – a Japanese schoolboy, misanthrope, and just a fool. He looks like a fool, dresses like a fool, and behaves like one too. Every first scene with him contains about 458 mentions that he doesn’t need friends, and when he interacts with other characters, he loves to bury his nose in his ridiculous vest and mutter about how stupid people are. A complete jerk, in short.

I hate Neku. Partly because he really reminds me of my teenage self, but mostly because of his extreme caricature. All his actions, lines, and overall image are taken to such absurd extremes that it is very difficult to sympathize with him if at all possible. At least, every time he opened his mouth to deliver another quote from the emo-public, I wanted to play as him less and less…

Friendships in The World Ends with You

But the plot had its firm “must”, so the character of our protagonist is like a Tokio Hotel poster: pompous, repulsive, and flat. The authors carefully emphasize how ugly Neku is at the beginning of his journey to show how much he is changed by kindness and friendship in the end. Yeah, the moral of this fantastic tale about deadly games in a parallel dimension is that people are cool, they befriend people.

Not that it’s a bad message, it’s just that the goal doesn’t quite justify the means. The World Ends with You clearly tries to pass as a light version of “Evangelion”, touching on the same themes of introversion, social phobia, teenage anxiety, and so on, which is commendable and right. Only if one work creates and explores precise psychological portraits, the other desperately lacks the credibility of these very portraits. The effect, to put it mildly, is blurred – the arc with the wonderful transformation of the hero looks ridiculously unnatural and banal, without the desired response.

However, in the time of youthful maximalism, this may well be enough. If I were a few years younger, Neku would surely appeal to me even in such hyperbolized form.

The game itself, though, wouldn’t have become more likable to me because of that.

Intense combat

Bypassing the beautiful PR formulations, The World Ends with You is a simple action game where you have to draw various shapes on the screen to perform combat moves. Drawing defensive circles, maneuvering around the arena like a fiery snake, slashing enemies with cross strokes, and so on. Active abilities depend on badges, which are bought, found, upgraded, and generally play the role of local Pokémon in between battles. You can even play with them in a separate mini-game.

Everything is great, but the main enemy here is the controls. On the Switch, it is presented in two versions: bad and terrible. The first involves drawing with your finger on the console’s touchscreen, which simply doesn’t match its size. No matter how you twist it, your hand will still cover part of the screen and hinder assessing the situation on the battlefield. My hands are hardly oversized, but I still often lost sight of one or two opponents just because I blocked my own view.

To be fair, I don’t really like touch controls and try to avoid them whenever possible – luckily, many games introduce them as optional. In the case of The World Ends with You, however, I had to grit my teeth and endure because the alternative turned out to be even worse. Don’t like smudging fingerprints on the display? The same drawing magic can be performed with Joy-Con strokes, which not only lag in speed and accuracy but also regularly glitch, dragging the virtual cursor to the edge of the screen. This can be fixed with a quick controller calibration, but going through this exciting ritual every 20-30 minutes is a dubious pleasure.

Overall, the control of abilities leaves much to be desired. Many of them use similar or even identical gestures, which constantly leads to confusion. Want to draw a chain across the arena – Neku headbutts the nearest enemy and loses half of his health. Trying to call a partner for help – the hero shoots all the fire projectiles you wanted to save for a stronger demon. Considering that abilities need time to recharge, such mistakes often turn out to be fatal in later stages.

Shopping and exploration in the city

In supermarkets, you can dress according to the local fashion calendar.

How and why The World Ends with You won universal love in 2007, I still don’t understand after a couple of evenings, so I suspected something was wrong and went to Google. The investigation led to a terrible revelation: the original release for Nintendo DS was played completely differently. In particular, there was no infamous mix of moves, as the action took place on two screens – one for Neku and his partner.

Furthermore, the characters were controlled separately and had to interact with each other, which is not even close to the new version. A bright example is the battle with a huge bat, during which on the DS you had to constantly fend off enemies on the top screen so that the light wouldn’t go out on the bottom screen. How is this implemented in Final Remix? Correctly – one at a time. We fought a little, the light went out, moved to another level, fought a little there, turned on the light… Completely different dynamics.

Of course, the Switch is not the DS, you can’t attach a second screen to it, but the adaptation was too painful. Deprived of the “dual” gameplay, the port turned into a pointless and unappetizing clicker, interest in which is lost long before all the content is exhausted. It’s doubly disappointing because there is even more content in the remaster than before.

Superpowered action
Confronting dark forces

Undoubtedly, the only pleasant aspect of all this was the design. The game endlessly delights with its daring graffiti style, and although there is little music here, it is so good that it becomes more enjoyable with each passing hour and does not become repetitive. You should definitely add this composition to your playlist right now:

But overall, as you may have already guessed, the diagnosis is sad. Even if you are still at that difficult age when you want to shut yourself off and distance yourself from the world around you, The World Ends with You is not your best companion. At least, definitely not in the Switch version.

It’s better to buy a more expensive copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” and don’t worry. Everything will be fine. People are cool, make friends with people.

The World Ends with You: Final Remix
Action, RPG
Square Enix
h.a.n.d., Jupiter, Square Enix
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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