Relevant for the platform: NSW
For fans of crazy Japanese adventures studio Too Kyo Games seems like a dream team. Firstly, the author of the excellent plots of the series works there. 999 and shiny AI: The Somnium Files… Secondly, the screenwriter works with him. Danganronpa – no less luxurious thriller trilogy. It seemed that together these people would be able to create something incredible that would overshadow their previous work. As a result, they released World’s end club – was the game so outstanding?
On a knurled
Begins World’s end club intriguingly: a group of children is on a bus trip when a meteorite hits the Earth. The blast wave throws the children somewhere far away, after which the heroes wake up in an abandoned underwater amusement park with bracelets on their hands. A flying villain appears and invites children to play a survival game. The timer starts, the characters scandal with each other, try to eliminate competitors – it seems that this is the beginning of a cool story.
It soon turns out that the opening episode has a happy ending, and the game is not about that at all. The guys get out, left safe and sound after the test, and find that something is wrong with the world. Everything is overgrown and abandoned, there are no people, there is no one to ask for help. And for some reason they are located in Kadokawa prefecture, although they were traveling from Tokyo to Kamakura – they threw them back more than a thousand kilometers. The heroes decide to go where they once lived, and their long journey across Japan begins.
The longer you play, the clearer it becomes that this is not 999 and not Danganronpa… You understand that there will hardly be unexpected deaths, cunning villains, tense situations – it’s just that children drive around the country and find themselves in different situations. This is a good story about friendship and the willingness of comrades to come to the rescue, as well as a person’s ability to change for the better. Such plots have a right to exist, but here everything is so cloying and “vanilla” (one of the heroines is even called Vanilka) that it becomes boring.
A banal story, in which almost everything is predictable, constantly seems drawn out. At first you think that the dull first two hours are just overclocking, then you wait for something for another two hours, then again and again. Even if unexpected turns do happen, by that moment you already lose interest in what is happening. Rather, I want to go through the game, because there is a glimmer of hope that the writers will throw something like that. But this time they did not jump above their heads and did not seem to even try.
For too long, nothing really happens in the game, and the characters are too simple. Of course, it was stupid to wait for someone of the level of Nagito Komaedo or Aiba, but here everything is like a textbook: a fat boy, a beautiful girl in high boots, a guy in funny big glasses, a macho with bare hands – a set of clichés. Everyone has a short backstory that is shown at the right time, but this is not enough to feel affection for at least one of them. Almost all the characters seem to be extras.
In the second half, the story accelerates, but doesn’t get any more interesting. The touching episodes with which they try to evoke sympathy are served too crumpled. And the logic in the actions of the guys and villains generally begins to disappear, although even before this decision of the scriptwriters more than once raised questions. In addition, the authors seem to consider the players idiots – the characters are surprised at things that were obvious even a few hours before the heroes came to the “shocking” conclusions.
Part of the disappointment stems from overestimated expectations, but even if you forget about the past merits of the developers, the story remains mediocre. Time after time you observe the following situation: children are divided into groups, go in different directions, we follow one of the groups, and she faces danger. A couple of guys are captured by some kind of monster, and the remaining character suddenly gathers strength and discovers a superpower in himself. He helps his comrades, everyone is happy, they are resting in the camp, and then everything is new.
Everything fell apart
The problem is that neither 999nor Danganronpa could not boast of outstanding gameplay – almost everything in them was based on the plot, and all kinds of mini-games only distracted from the main thing. Here, the gameplay is even worse than in both series. When the guys are divided into groups, we control one of the heroes and run from left to right. Tasks depend on the skills of the characters: someone is able to throw heavy objects far, someone hits the ground and creates a shock wave, someone makes walking bombs on the go.
Sometimes these abilities are used to solve puzzles, but they are so primitive as if they were taken from the debut indie game of an inept developer. And if you don’t need to solve puzzles, you will have to “fight” with opponents. The quotes are for a reason – one of the boys knows how to curl up into a ball and turn into a metal figure, after which he can roll on the ground. You just need to crash into opponents. Or take a guy with a bat – fight off shells that are barely flying at you and win. The boss fights are just as miserable – do the same thing for several minutes.
Towards the end of the game, you regret that the gameplay episodes cannot be missed.
There are a lot of disadvantages: both the control is clumsy (different actions are assigned to one button), and jumps are made with a delay, and crashes happen. Collectible items generally cause laughter: first, the game stops so that they appear out of thin air, then freezes again after taking them, and they turn out to be meaningless stickers. And you usually don’t have to look for them – you pick them up on the way to the main goal.
The presence of Russian subtitles was a pleasant surprise. When you listen to English speech, you don’t see a lot of gag in the translation, but the quality is still not the best – sometimes there are typos, then the characters change gender during the conversation. During his reflections, the main character informs that he “thought for a long time”, and when the guys communicate with each other, during each dialogue you begin to doubt whether it is a girl with a female voice or still a boy.
Last fall World’s end club released on iOS via Apple Arcade subscription. It was an unfinished version, and was recently updated with the release of the final version on Nintendo Switch. By subscription, especially if your free period has not yet expired, this is not the worst entertainment. And the fans of the creators of the project can only dream that these madmen will one day write such a powerful script, after which no one will remember this shame.
Pros: a sweet story about the victory of good over evil thanks to the power of friendship; a couple of sentimental episodes with pretty art; the presence of a translation into Russian, albeit crooked.
Minuses: predictable plot with clichéd characters; primitive gameplay with basic riddles and a ridiculous combat system.