The World Ends With You (also known as TWEWY or Subarashiki Kono Sekai in Japan) is a video game created specifically for the Nintendo DS system. Developed by Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts team, the game received a number of positive reviews and garnered many awards as well from sources such as IGN, Game Informer and Nintendo Power. With a distinct art style influenced by youth culture and the Shibuya district of Tokyo (where the game is set), the game offers a huge departure from Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, to great effect.
The plot of the game focuses on Neku Sakuraba, a teenage boy who claims that he doesn't 'get' people and often goes out of his way to avoid interacting with them. He wakes up one day in the Scramble Crossing with no memory as of how he got there, and apparently no way to interact with those around him. He quickly discovers that not only can he not leave Shibuya, but he also must play the week long 'Reaper's Game'... and his very existence is hanging in the balance. The cast of characters also includes Shiki Misaki, a preppy but friendly fashionista, Beat, a rough-around-the-edges skater kid, his best friend Rhyme, and Joshua, a flamboyant smirking smart-ass. Using strange psychic powers (ranging from using magical pins to psychokinesis to controlling a toy
pig cat), the band of misfits tries their best to survive the week... while being confronted at every turn by the Reapers. Not to be outdone, the villains are interesting characters as well, such as Sho Minamimoto, the math obsessed megalomaniac who stands as the most dangerous of Neku's enemies.
TWEWY stands out from the crowd for a number of reasons. The gameplay itself is known for being incredibly complex, with a steep learning curve. Known as the Stride Cross Battle System, fighting takes place on both screens, using both the touch screen (to control Neku on the bottom screen, by swiping, pressing, or dragging) and either the arrow buttons or letter buttons to control Neku's partner on the top screen (by pressing buttons in a certain order in order to create combos). Thankfully, the top screen can be controlled by the A.I, and there's often no difference in performance either way. The game also allows Neku to use different attacks through pins (these kinds of pins, not push pins) and level up said pins, increasing the power of the attacks and possibly even leading to evolutions. Leaving the game off for a number of days also allots XP to pins, allowing bonuses for inactivity. The game also uses the Shibuya setting to its advantage by allowing fashion trends to affect the game. Players can equip the characters with clothing and accessories bought in the game's stores, and depending on how high the clothing's brand is on the social scale, characters can get extra bonuses when in battle. Food items are also important, increasing stats through being digested over the course of multiple battles.
The game also attracted a large amount of fans due to the music used. Rather then consisting of many small loops, many of the tracks were full songs sung by professional artists from and around Shibuya, with the rest being composed by Takeharu Ishimoto. The genres range from techno to hip hop to rock and was specifically designed to emulate the atmosphere of the game's settings. In order to make room for the songs, cut scenes were made in Flash and the songs were compressed into formats usually used only for voice overs. The soundtrack itself takes up one fourth of the game's media. Both of the game's soundtracks can be found on iTunes, or, for the more unscrupulous, on various torrenting sites.
According to the game's creator, Tetsuya Nomura, there is currently a sequel in the works, possibly for the Wii or Nintendo 3DS. Either way, the game still stands as an example of what can happen when a system is pushed to its furthest limits.