When the unique The World Ends with You launched all the best way again in 2007 on the Nintendo DS, it gained consideration and reward for its unorthodox storytelling and gameplay. It used most of the options of the Nintendo DS in experimental methods and delivering its story of a secret life-or-death sport in modern-day Tokyo’s Shibuya ward with a manga-flavored presentation. Despite being beloved by followers, TWEWY appeared caught to be eternally revamped and re-released on new platforms, by no means to get a correct followup.

Well, it took fourteen years, however NEO: The World Ends with You is lastly right here, and it is each bit as fashionable, engrossing, and outright enjoyable as its predecessor.

The premise of NEO TWEWY is just like the unique. Fret and Rindo are a pair of unassuming Japanese teenagers simply hanging out in Shibuya, solely to abruptly discover themselves thrust into the sport of their lives—actually, as a result of it seems that they in some way wound up useless and now exist solely within the religious world of the Shibuya “Underground.” In order to get again to their previous lives, they have to win the privilege by taking part in the Reapers’ Game, a week-long occasion run by a bunch of highly effective beings often known as Reapers. If your staff wins, you will get no matter you need—together with returning to life. Come in final, and your posse will get wiped from existence.

Fret and Rindo quickly discover themselves assisted by Minamimoto, a math-obsessed weirdo with energy and ulterior motives he would not appear eager to let on, and Nagi, a mousy otaku woman who’s singularly obsessed along with her favourite cell sport and its hunky hottie Lord Tomonami. While the staff usually cannot work together with people present within the “Realground” Shibuya, they quickly uncover all of them have particular powers that may contact these again within the different realm: Fret can reconstruct individuals’s misplaced or forgotten reminiscences, whereas Nagi can bodily dive into their minds to look at their innermost turmoil. Rindo’s actually lucked out, although: he is acquired the mysterious potential to twist again time, however solely generally when the state of affairs has develop into catastrophically dangerous. Can these children band collectively to topple the reigning champions and return to actuality, or is there one thing extra sinister afoot on this Reapers’ Game?

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From the outset, NEO TWEWY places its characters and their interaction with one another entrance and heart. Rindo is extra fascinated by taking part in cell video games and messaging on-line video games than talking up or doing any decision-making. His greatest buddy, Fret, is the alternative: a goofy dude who loves to speak, brag, and goad Rindo into doing issues. Their dynamic is powerful from the outset, and additional evolves as extra characters step into the highlight: opposing staff leaders, antagonistic Reapers, and new staff recruits. Nagi, who shortly joins their staff’s ranks, is especially enjoyable: she’s sharp, analytical, and can do completely something for the sake of her favourite sport character. (Suffice to say, she’s going to be extraordinarily relatable for fairly a number of readers of this web site.)

The forged—together with Shibuya itself—are actually the center and soul of this story. Every interplay between these characters, giant or small, weaves its method into NEO TWEWY’s bigger narrative into varied methods. The wonderful writing and pacing carry you into the staff’s wrestle: You’ll relate to them as they face each victorious pleasure and totally crushing heartbreak. You’ll really feel their anguish as they’re compelled to confront their flaws and make troublesome selections. You’ll need to do every part in your energy to ensure they succeed, since you’ve come to actually care about them.

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Much of the development of NEO TWEWY remains to be the identical as the unique: you will be given quests and targets to perform all through Shibuya every in-game day, often involving puzzles and/or fight. Complete the quests, do some preventing, eating out, and procuring, struggle the Noise enemies, and transfer on within the story. Some components of gameplay have been streamlined over the unique: for instance, consuming meals for bonuses is lots simpler, and the effectiveness of branded fight pins and garments now not differs from area to area.

Most importantly, the battles are nonetheless as frenetic and chaotic as earlier than. You’re now not managing two shows directly, as within the unique Nintendo DS release of TWEWY—however you’re controlling a whole, multi-member RPG social gathering in action-oriented fight all on the identical time. It works like this: the pins that grant characters the assault powers they use throughout battle are all assigned a button on the controller. Push a button, and also you assault with the pin’s energy whereas assuming management of that character. Every pin works otherwise—some want fast button-mashing, some require you to cost and release an assault, some inflict fixed injury so long as a button’s held, and a few are completely distinctive.

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However, in an effort to do nicely in fight, you’ll be able to’t simply be hitting one button till your pin’s vitality must recharge, then shifting on to the following. No, it’s essential to be utilizing your whole assaults in tandem, charging whereas mashing and holding down, so your total social gathering is working collectively to crush foes. This is as a result of when one character’s assault does one thing large, like knocking an enemy down or beautiful them, you’ll be able to carry out a “beatdrop” by following it up with strikes from a unique character. This raises the staff’s Groove meter, and as soon as that meter hits a sure level, you’ll be able to unleash your strongest psionics onto the battlefield, which may then be chained into much more assault combos.

That all would possibly sound like a large number, and it sort of is! But whenever you get the dangle of it, it turns into surprisingly deep, particularly with the entire varied pin varieties and combos obtainable so that you can use. One you actually grasp the controls, fight turns into one thing elegant, a wondrous managed chaos that provides you a hovering rush of adrenaline each time you chain one assault into one other and watch that Groove meter skyrocket.

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Visually, NEO TWEWY is nice. Character fashions look unbelievable, as do the enemies, however the backdrops are surprisingly plain-looking as compared. You’ll positively discover some lower-res textures popping up as you are combing the streets, as nicely. But what NEO TWEWY lacks in uncooked graphic energy it makes up for in sheer fashion. The manga-panel dialogue cutscenes are superbly illustrated and offered, and the entire characters are distinct and memorable of their designs. The consumer interface each out and in of fight is great—maybe not fairly as putting as, say, a Persona sport, however nonetheless distinctive and becoming to the sport’s tone.

And then there’s the soundtrack, which is filled with absolute bangers from begin to end. Several previous favorites from the unique sport return alongside a wealth of latest music encompassing a wealth of genres and sounds: hip-hop, poppy acoustics, thrash metallic, and dissonant synth, amongst many others, with new jams being launched and re-introduced all through the course of the sport’s runtime. There are however a scant few weak choices among the many tracks, and so they’re simply outnumbered by the actually superb stuff. You’ll positively be listening to this soundtrack exterior of the sport after listening to it.

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For all of the love that I’ve showered NEO TWEWY with up to now, nevertheless, I nonetheless have some complaints. (Disclaimer: I performed the Switch model for evaluate, and there can be a day-one patch on release which will treatment a few of these points.) For starters, I am unable to consider a sport launched in 2021 would not have a correct cutscene/dialogue scene skip performance, particularly a sport the place you’ll be able to return to earlier chapters to attempt to do sub-quests you missed. You can maintain down a shoulder button to fast-forward dialogue you have already seen, however you’ll be able to solely outright skip a really restricted variety of occasions. This makes revisiting a few of the most dialogue-heavy chapters an actual ache.

The Switch model of NEO TWEWY additionally has some efficiency and stability points. Framerate is inconsistent, and may develop into significantly uneven when lots of issues are occurring onscreen throughout battle or exploration. I additionally encountered a number of factors the place the sport crashed or soft-locked in-between cutscenes. Thankfully, autosave on this sport could be very dependable, however as soon as once more: why no cutscene skip choice to maneuver previous these components I already noticed?

My largest grievance, nevertheless, lies with part of the story. A significant occasion happened instantly after the occasions of the unique sport that could be a core element of NEO TWEWY’s narrative. However, for those who’d solely performed the DS TWEWY or watched the anime adaptation, you’d know nothing about it till it is first talked about. You see, this significant story level is barely seen in The World Ends with You: Final Remix on Switch, and solely after you have unlocked it by beating the sport and doing particular challenges. Characters will casually and incessantly discuss what went down, just for of us like me who’ve solely performed the DS model to completion to go “Wait, WHAT happened?” You do not even get a pleasant little “here’s everything you missed” flashback or abstract, both. So a lot of NEO TWEWY’s character writing and storytelling is great, so to have this explicit plot level be so badly dealt with feels extraordinarily disappointing.

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Those points, nevertheless, didn’t hamper my enjoyment of the sport considerably. NEO TWEWY may not be fairly as formidable as the unique sport was. There are not any dual-screens to introduce difficult gameplay mechanics with, and the setting of Shibuya now not appears fairly as novel because it as soon as did. But by way of recapturing the spirit of what made TWEWY so nice—nice character growth, partaking storytelling, frenetic fight, memorable visuals and music—it completely nails it after which some. I completely liked my time taking part in this sport, from the opening chapters to the unbelievable, gut-wrenching climax.

It was completely well worth the wait.

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