Worlds End Club from developers Too Kyo Games and Grounding, and publishers Izanagi Games and NIS America was initially released exclusively to Apple Arcade in September 2020. The game has eventually made its way to Nintendo Switch almost a year later and is quite a surprisingly complex title to dive into.
World’s End Club kicks off with players taking on the role of Reycho, a schoolkid that’s taking a trip with his classmates from Tokyo. However, while on the bus, a meteor hits a nearby city and Reycho, along with his classmates, are lost in a flash of blinding white light. When the class wakes up, they find themselves in a mysterious underwater amusement park facility. They also have strange wristbands attached to them and some of them seem to be quite a lot more aggressive and well, not normal. It’s all so very disturbing and mysterious and the game hooks you from the get go.
A creepy character by the name of Pielope suddenly appears and tells the class members that they are now to play the “Game of Fate”. The “Game of Fate” is an extremely brutal game where each person has a task to complete. However, their task is unknown to them and is listed on another person’s wristband. The first person to complete the task assigned to them wins the “Game of Fate”, dooms everyone else to become a pool of sludge, and receives a magical key which will let them escape the underwater facility.
Players will take on the role of Reycho and will have to survive the “Game of Fate” and escape the underwater facility. Things get a lot more complex when the “Go-Getters Club” members suddenly decide to turn on each other. Players will have to solve some rather simple puzzles and get through the “Game of Fate” while surviving against their fellow classmates. Make a wrong move and it’s game over and you simply respawn and can try again. This is true for the rest of the game as well.
Without spoiling too much, World’s End Club doesn’t end when you think it will. There’s a tonne of content to get through in this game and surprisingly, it’s all fully voiced. Each of the members of the “Go-Getters Club” i.e: your classmates, are voiced and have their own personalities. These personalities do fall within some tried and trusted anime media tropes but World’s End Club does a great job with introducing each character to you and allowing them to grow as characters throughout the game’s storyline.
The gameplay of World’s End Club involves players controlling Reycho and moving left or right while platforming around in levels. There’s puzzles to solve and information to obtain as well as hazards to avoid, boxes to climb and far more. Later on in the game players will unlock special abilities which are unique to each member of the class. Reycho for example has the ability to throw objects with immense speed and force. You’ll use these abilities to solve more complex puzzles and progress further.
The story of World’s End Club can be quite confusing at first but the game does an excellent job of explaining it. The game is also broken up into acts or chapters which helps with playing through it in bite sized chunks. This and the fact that it’s on Nintendo Switch make World’s End Club perfect for on the go gaming. Players can play through a segment of the game and return to it later without being confused because all the information you require to progress is always accessible via the pause menu text log. This comes in handy later when you’re trying to piece together some information.
Graphically, World’s End Club looks great on Nintendo Switch. The character designs and art style is eye-catching and vibrant, and the environments have a lot of detail to them. The game also makes extensive use of some really fantastic visual effects in its storytelling. The soundtrack is well suited to the game with the atmospheric music really helping to convey the game’s tone in numerous scenarios. Thankfully, the game is also fully voice acted which helps alleviate some of the fatigue you’d feel reading through lots and lots of character text. Some of the English voice acting however does sound way over the top at times.
Overall, World’s End Club is a really enjoyable unconventional puzzle platformer with a massive emphasis on storytelling. Unfortunately, the writing can come across as formulaic and trope-filled at times and older gamers will make short work of the puzzles in game. Younger gamers will appreciate the ability to simply respawn and retry directly after a game over. The game’s over-explanation of story events is indicative of being aimed at a younger audience too, driving the major plots home while trying to keep you entertained throughout. If you’re on the fence about World’s End Club, give the demo a try. The entire game is rather lengthy so if you do pick this up, you’ll have lots of puzzle-platforming and an even larger amount of entertaining storytelling to get through.
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