Square Enix's stunning
new title The World Ends With You
doesn't hit U.S. and European shelves until later this month, but the reviews are already rolling in, and things are looking even better than we expected. The early reviews are kicking the action RPG up into the top tier of DS titles -- and that's good
company. What's propelling the game's success? The sheer originality of the concept.
Nintendo Power: 90% --
The Nintendo hub had nothing but effusive praise for Square Enix's unusual effort. "This delightfully weird action-RPG, set in modern-day Tokyo's bustling Shibuya district, is unlike anything else out there ... Kudos to Square Enix for taking a chance on something so original (and bringing it to these shores)."
Thunderbolt: 90% --
In fact, this game is starting to sound like the second coming of the RPG. "In a genre where medieval themes reign supreme, setting a game in contemporary Tokyo is a fairly fresh concept. The game captures the city scene so well: the sun-blasted streets, the pulsing J-Pop, and the bustling crowds of people who care absolutely nothing about you. Neku and his little gang of urban heroes are a far cry from the super-heroic swordsmen of most RPGs; the ultra-stylish outfits and technology they use are taken directly from what you'd see in Shibuya today. Despite this, the mysticism of the plot and the magic being wielded are definitely welcome. The combination of using both screens and the stylus make for one of the most demanding gameplay formulas yet; there hasn't been a game this Touch Screen-centric since Kirby Canvas Curse
. So do yourself a favor and pick up The World Ends With You. As far as handheld RPGs go, it doesn't get much more original than this."
IGN UK: 89% --
Perhaps the pieces aren't as original as some think, but together, they create something fantastic. "The World Ends With You
combines Square's hallmark character development and story with the collectability of Pokémon, and ties together innovative game design with the urban cool of Jet Set Radio
. Indeed, the game's appropriation of real-world themes and issues are at the heart of its success. It's a celebration of modern life, and like modern life, it can be messy, complicated and confusing, and you might find yourself beset by minor disappointments. But you get out what you put in, and at its heart is an important message about making human connections in a world that can sometimes seem harsh and uncaring. Which, when you think about it, is pretty cool. And if you don't want to think about it, well then you can just sit back and enjoy the game design."