The World Ends With You is a cult classic in the gaming world. While it may not be a household name, it has a very loyal fan base known for touting its merits whenever a conversation of the greatest Japanese RPG’s pops up. Originally a 2008 Nintendo DS release, The World Ends With You: Final Remix is now available for the Nintendo Switch.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix Details
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Square Enix, Jupiter, h.a.n.d.
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing game
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Amazing art style
One of the biggest draws for The World Ends With You: Final Remix is its incredible art style. The game takes place in the trendy Tokyo district of Shibuya. Its blend of manga and graffiti-like inspiration borrows heavily from the regional culture.
Given that so many gamers take root in Japanese culture—especially those who favour Japanese RPG’s—it’s not surprising that a game that so beautifully captures the mood of a hub like Shibuya would be held in such regard. Another JRPG that would later receive much acclaim for its similarly stylish depiction of Shibuya is Persona 5. While that tile went on to gain even more traction in the mainstream, The World Ends With You was truly the first to give such a stunning artistic rendering of modern Tokyo.
Not to be outdone by its visual elements, The World Ends With You: Final Remix also features an incredible soundtrack. Once again the elements of game design here intend to capture the mood of Shibuya and its youthful culture. The soundtrack contains catchy blends of electronic, rock and hip-hop music put together by longtime Square Enix composer Takeharu Ishimoto.
The audio components of The World Ends With You are integral to its overall experience. Sacrifices to other aspects of the game were even made during its initial development to allow for greater achievements to be made in sound design. This is ultimately for the greater good however.
The incredible audio makes The World Ends With You: Final Remix a game well-worth playing with the volume way up. The Nintendo Switch version of the game even includes brand new remixes of some of its classic tracks.
A twisted tale
For those who may be new to The World Ends With You: Final Remix, the story follows Neku, a moderately disgruntled young adult suffering a bout of amnesia. A mysterious group known only as the Reapers transforms Shibuya into a modern labyrinth. Neku and others then find themselves forced to play the Reaper’s sinister game.
The plot resembles elements of dystopian competitions not unlike The Hunger Games, or perhaps even more aptly even the Saw franchise. Neku isn’t sure why he’s been put in the position he is in order to survive. He learns very quickly though that he must bend to the Reaper’s will if he hopes to survive and uncover some truth behind whatever is going on around him.
The definitive Nintendo Switch port of the game even includes an additional chapter of story content. This is a very nice additional bonus to veterans who are already looking forward to playing though the game again. For new players it’s just gravy on top of their first trip through the ultra-stylized streets of Shibuya.
A lack of control
Unfortunately, while its beautiful artistic design makes The World Ends With You a must-play for any JRPG fan, I’m not sure that the Nintendo Switch is the best place to play it. While most games tend to shine when making a debut to the console, The World Ends With You: Final Remix fell a bit short for me in one key area—control.
With the handheld Nintendo DS in mind, the original touchscreen design of the game works extremely well for that console. For myself however, I found the touchscreen controls far less appealing on the Switch. The Switch is just a bit to large to comfortably hold, and execute many of the often frantic attacks at the same time.
This may just be personal preference, but nonetheless it was enough to keep me from wanting to play much on my commute. The amount of shifting and gripping necessary to play the game the way I felt I should play it just didn’t feel right. It’s odd to think of the Switch screen as being too big, but for me I honestly think the game suffers slightly for it.
Point and click misadventure
When in the dock, The World Ends With You: Final Remix reverts from a touchscreen control scheme to a motion one. Utilizing the motion capabilities of the Joy-Con controller, a target cursor appears on the screen and responds to physical movement.
I ultimately choose to spend most of my time playing this way, although to be honest it didn’t fare much better. Since the Switch does not use a camera to sense motion controllers, the accuracy is a bit off. The tracking itself gets lost easily as well, meaning you’ll likely be resetting the controller (by aiming at the screen and pressing “Y”) nearly every time you begin a new combat sequence.
That’s not to say that The World Ends With You: Final Remix isn’t still a fun game to play. I’m just not certain that it’s an improvement over the original. The Nintendo Switch is a good way to play the game, especially if you aren’t someone who has access to an old Nintendo DS console. It’s just not the best way.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix is a spectacle for the senses with a few control issues
The World Ends With You: Final Remix is an amazing Japanese RPG that deserves to be held in high regard. Its outstanding artistic style and incredible soundtrack paint a gorgeous picture of Shibuya and youth culture in Japan. Neku’s story is engaging and fun to play.
Sadly, the controls just don’t shine on the Switch console like they do on the Nintendo DS—where they were once innovative and refreshing. For this reason it’s hard to say that Final Remix is the best way to play The World Ends With You, but it’s simply a different way to experience an amazing game.
+ Gorgeous art style
+ Incredible soundtrack
+ Compelling story
– Both touchscreen and motion control schemes somewhat lackluster
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU: FINAL REMIX
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3.5/5