World’s End Club (Feature Review) Nintendo Switch

World’s End Club (Feature Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

Imagine attending a school trip with friends on a beautiful, sunny afternoon. Everyone on the school bus is getting along and enjoying each others’ company. Silly jokes are shared – and laughter abounds – as the bus travels towards its destination. Basically, it feels like a normal day, until the bus enters a tunnel…

While seemingly out of place, the school bus in question has a television mounted to its ceiling, and it starts playing a creepy television show. This ‘show’ involves a different group of students who are being forced to play a ‘game’ of fate. A floating, clown-like entity is seen antagonizing the children, encouraging them to murder each other over the ‘tasks’ written on their wrist bands.  

If this wasn’t disturbing enough, a giant meteor suddenly falls to Earth hitting Tokyo. The intensity of the impact is so powerful, it flips over the school bus and renders everyone inside unconscious. This is where the adventure begins…

World’s End Club for Nintendo Switch is a puzzle action-adventure game that sees the player in the role of Reycho, a somewhat quiet young man who seldom talks unless spoken to. He is the unspoken, de facto leader of the ‘Go-Getters Club’ – a name that identifies the group of children the protagonist belongs to. Along the way, the player will encounter decisions that will affect the outcome of the story, along with already established relationships inside the Go-Getters Club, so choose wisely.

WEC offers a short tutorial before the game starts. The player is asked if they have ever played the game before. An on-screen prompt will appear, asking the player to select either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. Choosing the former will provide the following two options  – ‘Start the game from the beginning’ or ‘Start mid-way’. Alternatively, answering ‘No’ will immediately start the tutorial.

While the tutorial is skippable, gamers unfamiliar with the game should complete it. The tutorial is rather simple in its execution; it helps the player become familiar with the in-game controls, which involves using the Left Analog stick to move; pressing B button to jump; and pressing the Y button to interact with objects in the environment.

After finishing the tutorial, the player finds themself – along with their classmates – inside an underground amusement park known as, ‘World’s End Land‘. This is where the lanky-looking clown entity known as Pielope introduces itself to the children. In a chillingly cold, child-like voice — Pielope explains that the children are the unwitting participants in a deadly game of ‘fate’. 

Somehow without their knowledge, a wristband containing a special ‘Task’ was attached to the wrist of each child (including the  protagonist). However, the tasks seen on these wristbands belong to someone else. (This means the person wearing a wristband with your task is your ‘Taskmate’.) The ‘Game of Fate’ has a time limit of 1 hour. Anyone who fails to complete their task before the time limit expires, will be devoured by a hulking, metal robot named ‘Sludgebot’. If there is no winner when the time limit expires, everyone loses.The first person to complete their task will be rewarded with a ‘Magic Key’ that can open any door inside the amusement park. 

It sounds simple enough, right? Well, Pielope raises the stakes by planting a seed of distrust between the children, and the protagonist (i.e. Reycho) becomes the main focus. The player spends most of their time either avoiding the other children or thwarting their efforts to complete their tasks (while trying to find a way to escape).

Gameplay is a combination of 2.5D platforming and puzzle solving. When the player isn’t pushing objects like boxes to reach ledges – or riding a bicycle-like device to cross a large chasm – they’re searching for codes to unlock doors; pulling levers to activate floating platforms; or filling buckets with water to short circuit equipment that powers a ferris wheel, among other things. The main objective, though,  is to convince the other children (i.e. Yuki, Vanilla, Kansai, Chucko, Aniki, Tattsun and others) that Reycho is not a threat, and the only way to survive is to work together. The player can achieve this goal by sabotaging the other children’s’ tasks. It’s then (and only then) the player can beat the ‘Game of Fate’ and return everyone to the surface. 

In fact, escaping to the surface is when the game really takes shape. It’s discovered that an entire year has passed since the player and the children were inside the underwater amusement park. There is no sign of life, and the surrounding towns are in ruin. Jennu – a young girl who belongs to the group – suggests that everyone should break up into three groups, and choose a path to Tokyo. The decision the player makes at this juncture in the story will decide the outcome of the game. (It’s learned shortly after escaping the underwater theme park that every child has a special ‘gift’. The protagonist, for example, has the ability to throw items like rocks with a tremendous amount of force. This skill comes in handy during combat, among other things.)

The cityscapes are barren locales that have been overtaken by nature. Each section contains platforming elements that requires the player to climb over debris, push crates (where needed) and navigate a series of platforms that are adjacent to one another.  Along the way, the player will encounter aggressive, mutant plants and giant insects, to name just a few. 

Combat isn’t always based on conventional means. For example: when the player encounters the giant, purple-looking venus fly trap for the first time, their first instinct is to attack. Unfortunately this will not work on this creature. Instead of attacking, the player needs to ‘shake’ a nearby tree; grab the fruit it drops; and then throw it at the monster to make it fall asleep. In addition, Reycho  pick up rocks and use them projectiles against the game’s cast of oddly unique monsters, such as mutated canine and nightmarish atrocities with grotesque appearances, to name a few.  Reycho‘s ability to throw (known plainly as ‘Big League Pitcher’) is an ‘Awakened’ Ability that they acquire right after escaping the underwater amusement park. In fact, all the children end up with a special ability that comes in useful at some point during the game. Another good example of this is Mowchan’s ability to turn into a stone ball. When in this hardened state, Mowchan can push aside larger enemies and smash through obstacles that block the group’s progression.

It can be argued that WEC’s controls are a little finicky. The player traverses a fairly large landscape filled with tricky platforming, ledge climbing and box pushing to reach specific areas. There are instances when a timed jump over a chasm doesn’t always respond as it should, sending the player immediately to the ‘Game Over’ screen. A similar issue occurs when climbing ledges too. At times, Reycho will let go of a platform instead of actually climbing up. This issue isn’t consistent  throughout the game, but it happens often enough to cause bouts of frustration. But with that aside, the game’s controls are relatively solid overall. They just need some tweaking to make them perfect.

Graphically, WEC looks as good as one might expect from a NIS America release. The cell-shaded look of the 3D characters and the semi-realistic appearance of the backgrounds give the game a cartoonish appeal. Everything – from the main characters to the creatures that inhabit the post-apocalyptic world of WEC – animate smoothly, and this also extends to the environments and the objects found within them. Overall, the graphics are bright and colorful, and they seem to stand out on the Nintendo Switch’s portable screen. They look just as impressive on the television, when the Nintendo Switch is docked.

World’s End Club is a charming game with likable  characters, a great story and solid gameplay. The only issue is the controls, which tend to act a bit unpredictable at times. But with that aside, WEC is a great game that is worth owning on the Nintendo Switch; it’s addictive and a lot of fun to play.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: IzanagiGames
Publisher: NIS America
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $39.99
Size: 6.0 GB

World’s End Club Official Website: https://nisamerica.com/games/worlds-end-club

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The cartoon-like graphics give the game a certain appeal.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
High-quality voice acting helps to convey a convincing story.
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
The ocassional control issues make the platforming difficult.
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
World’s End Club is a charming game with likable characters and a great story.
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