Reader Review: World’s End Club (Switch)

My brother Nathan loves games from NIS America, so he jumped at the chance to review this one.  Check out his review of World’s End Club for Switch below!  –Cary

World’s End Club is a strange blend of visual novel and 2D platformer that follows a boy named Reycho and his group of 11 other friends, called the “Go-getter’s Club,” as they embark on a journey across a post-apocalyptic Japan. The gameplay is divided into three distinct segments: action, story and camp. Action segments are the 2D platforming portion of the game, story segments are just there to advance the plot through dialog and cutscenes, and camp segments allow the player to slow down and talk to each member of the group individually. While it leaves a lot to be desired in both the gameplay and story department, the game does have a notable charm to it.


I’ll start with the worst part, just to get it out of the way. The platforming is clunky and bad. It’s hard to tell at first, because nothing about the game is all that hard, but when you realize you have replayed the same boss battle four times in a row because the hitboxes are slightly off and caused you to be killed by air, it starts to grate a bit.  It isn’t just the hitboxes either. Each playable character has their own unique special ability that keeps the gameplay admittedly fresh. The problem is, some of those abilities have a cooldown animation after it runs out. You can still be hit during that animation. Couple that with slow movement speed and the fact that you die in one hit, and the game becomes rather frustrating.


If a game like this lives or dies on the strength of its characters, World’s End Club is in a coma. Its not quite dead yet, since there are many characters that were genuinely endearing and quite charming, particularly the characters that were most crucial to the plot. I liked Vanilla’s pure innocence, Aniki’s angsty attitude, Pochi’s cleverness and Yuki and Pai were both adorable. Jennu has a story that makes her more relatable, and Reycho is also tolerable, since he doesn’t speak.  Then there is everyone else. Some of the characters were so annoying, I got a headache listening to them. If there were an alternate ending where only the annoying half of the cast died, I would consider that the canon ending.  With a cast so divided, some of the dialog that is supposed to be wholesome or charming just comes across as cringeworthy. One of the most cringeworthy moments came after escaping from a cult on a 12-seater bike, when the entire Go-getter’s Club broke into a song about themselves. It wasn’t a good song.


The story is the strongest part of the game, in particular the plot twists. I have read, watched and played through many good and bad stories throughout the years, and it has been a long time since I was genuinely surprised by a plot twist. World’s End Club surprised me at least eight times, and that’s just what I remember off the top of my head.  A good plot twist can make an otherwise bland story much more fun, and luckily this game has a lot. Despite some foreshadowing early on in the game, you can never really tell where the story will go next, which is probably why I felt compelled to complete it. That isn’t to say every plot twist is good, though. Two of them made me cringe.


I’ll refrain from giving everything about the story away, but I still want to talk about the cringiest parts of the game (besides that song). Towards the end of the game, small references start appearing about a being called the “otherworlder” and its mysterious omniscience and ability to control the characters and see all the previous failed timelines. I was initially really interested to see what kind of final boss this otherworlder might be, until it was revealed that you, the player, are actually the otherworlder and one of the characters starts to talk to you through the screen. It felt like the writers’ only goal was to make the most surprising plot twists, and while it worked most of the time, I felt really silly when Pochi looked directly at the screen to ask me questions.

The second plot twist that disappointed me is a bit more of a nitpick, but it really bugs me. Throughout the game, there are several artificial intelligences that gain sentience by observing humanity. I never questioned any of that, since it’s such a huge staple of science fiction. However, at one point, a robot that was described as “merely a puppet,” after it was made clear that there was absolutely no artificial intelligence programed into it, also becomes self-aware. That makes no sense. How does a robot puppet become self-aware? What is this, Pinocchio?


To complete the game, you have to follow each branching path in the story and collect all the secret stickers hidden around the game. There are only about 4 branching paths and two stickers per action segment which are not very well hidden, so it is quite easy to complete. That being said, it still isn’t worth it. The reward for completing the entire game and finding every sticker is the lyrics to the Go-Getter’s Club theme song, and as I have already established, that song is awful.


Overall, the game is a mess, but I enjoyed the charming and unexpected elements of it too much to say it’s not worth your time. If you are looking for a road-trip-style story with a lot of surprising twists and you can forgive a bit of clunky-ness and annoying characters, you might enjoy it. That being said, I can’t imagine fans of Danganronpa or the Zero Escape series will be happy with this, considering it was the first time the writers for both critically acclaimed series worked on a project together. Overall, I give the game a 2.5/5 stars. Half good, half bad.

Kid Factor

For kids, the game is relatively safe. It does have some somewhat scary themes, such as death and the end of the world, but it respects the difficult subjects without dealing with some of the harsher consequences. Mostly, the game tends to be lighthearted and always keeps an optimistic viewpoint.  There is no blood, although I do remember hearing a curse word or two throughout the story. The ESRB gave it a rating of T for Teen with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Violence, but based on how much it seems to appeal to a younger audience without going overboard with violence, I would say it’s probably okay for your preteen too. I wouldn’t give it to someone much younger than that.  –Nathan Woodham

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