Underrated Games: Why You Should Play The World Ends With You
The World Ends With You takes place in a fictional version of Shibuya, Tokyo and follows the story of Neku Sakuraba, a fifteen year old who has been raised in Shibuya his whole life who feels no need to interact with society, and keeps to himself. However one day he finds himself in the middle of the city with no memory about himself aside that of his name and when he wakes up, he finds a strange pin that allows him to read the minds of others and receives a cryptic text reading: “Reach 104. You have 60 minutes. Fail and face erasure.”
He suddenly finds a timer on his hand and is attacked by monsters called Noise.
Neku has entered the Reaper’s Game. A game where those who have died may fight for a chance at life again by completing various missions for a one entire week. Along the way, Neku meets a girl name Shiki Misaki and they forge a pact, now having to team up and complete the various tasks thrown at them for the week. Some circumstances occur in the game, lead to Neku having to play the Game more than once, and gives the player the opportunity to partner up with two other characters.
TWEWY is a ds game that came out in 2007 from the company of Square Enix (or as sometimes like to call them, Sqeenix) and the company Jupiter. It’s a Jrpg game, has made a cameo appearance in the series Kingdom Hearts, and a rarity in terms of finding it in any store aside from Amazon, however, this game is a diamond in the rough and rightfully a game you should play at least once for the following reasons:
1. The Lessons on Interpersonal Relationships and Skills
There is very much an introvert in the character of Neku, especially in comparison to some of the more extroverted partners he receives throughout the weeks he spends in the Reapers’ Game. And due to that being where a lot of Neku’s character development comes in, the lesson on interpersonal skills, such as trust and putting your differences aside, are a big part of the game.
In the Reapers’ Game, there is only one other person you can rely to help keep yourself alive: your partner. If you need help and can’t think of a way to complete the mission you guys have been given, you go to your partner. If your partner dies, you will be dying shortly afterwards as well. “Trust your partner.” They’re the only ones who have your back and if you both can’t manage to work out any differences you have and come to some kind of truce, you might as well give up.
This is very much a real skill people need in life. Everyone is different from you, has their own dreams, and everyone has their own values and things that are important to them, even if you think otherwise. TWEWY does a very good job in displaying this fact as Neku encounters the different things that matter to particular characters from Shiki’s insecurities about herself to the reason why the Reaper’s do what they do. Especially with the Players, the deceased individuals you meet throughout the game because in the Reapers’ Game, not only is your right to exist on the line, but so is your most important thing which can be intangible, like memories or dreams, or tangible, like relatives or a physical characteristic you have.
There’s more to some people than it may seem and sometimes it may actually take getting out of your comfort zone to realize that. To see what they think in order to come to some kind of mutual understanding.
2. Relatable Characters
There is a very diverse cast in TWEWY from quirky to downright standoffish, but the realism put into the characters as a whole really puts things into perspective to the person playing, whomever that may be and really pulls you into the story going so far as to even make you feel the things the characters may feel.
For instance, as an introvert myself, I was quite annoyed with Shiki for the first several in-game days as she constantly attempted to get the more standoffish Neku out his bubble. I, as Neku, personally felt as if she were prying into my life and was pretty urked every time Neku’s inner train of thought was interrupted due to Shiki trying to get Neku to stop living inside his head to talk to her in order to know what he was thinking.
However, I realized, coming from Shiki’s point of view, any extroverted person playing the game would probably find extreme annoyance in Neku’s lack in wanting to talk. After all, in a game where there’s only one person you can count on, it must be extremely annoying and worrying when that very person won’t even give you the time of day.
And it doesn’t stop there.
There are plenty of other characters that you can relate to as well like Rhyme and how she is concerned with the fact she has no real goal or dream for her future.
Outgoing introvert Joshua and his fickle ways of pushing people away from him by not hiding and emphasizing his flaws.
And even some of the minor characters and their relationships with each other, for instance, best friends Mina and Ai having a strain in their relationship when Ai thinks Mina is trying to go on a date with the boy she likes.
A very real problem that has even completely severed friendships in real life.
The cast overall is very quirky and interesting, and give an interesting twist on personalities and how they may and or may not clash with one another.
3. The Soudtrack
If there is one thing you will hear any TWEWY fan gush about aside from Joshua or Sho Minamimoto, it is more than likely going to be the music you hear through out the game. TWEWY is renown for having an amazing soundtrack. There is a large assortment of songs that play throughout the game.
While most games just choose one theme for each battle and area, TWEWY instead randomly chooses a song from its soundtrack ensuring that you probably won’t get bored of the song since it is forever changing in every battle and each area you explore in the game.
The soundtrack covers a number of different genres and you just might even find yourself listening to the songs for fun.
4. The Underlying Message of Hope
While I won’t be delving into the story line and circumstances that Neku is often tossed to in the game, one thing that will be eventually realized by the end of your experience with TWEWY is the message of hope. Or to be more accurate, the hope that some people might change one day, preferably for the better.
In the beginning of the game, Neku is an extreme introvert who finds no need for friends and is to the point where even if it’s just a person offering help, he’d just be downright rude to them. His issues with trusting people are very prominent and the way his headphones symbolize blocking people out from his life really speaks out. However, by the end of it all, Neku is a lot different. An introvert still at the end of the day, but he’s changed.
He’s learned a lot. That there’s more to people than he initially thought, that there’s more than just ‘the world Neku lives in’. Learning to trust people and even having that trust broken. That within the small place he lives in, there are much more things going on. That maybe, some things are little harder to forgive.
And when you realize the overall message, that, if the worst person in Shibuya can go from hating the world and everything in it
to a guy who learned that life isn’t all that bad,
it really speaks to you.
That maybe even you can get some happiness in your life if everything just feels very, nice. It’s a warm feeling and one definitely guaranteed when you play this game.
TWEWY is an overall amazing game, much more deserving of the popularity it seems to lack due to marketing. It has an interesting game mechanic, a great soundtrack, and an even greater message with its spectacular cast of characters that will put you through quite the roller coaster as you see them laugh, cry, and work together for the second chance of life they are all striving for.
So, if you ever get the opportunity to play this game, take it and maybe even show the goodness of it to other people.
The World Ends with You is the fucking greatest game ever and it’s so under appreciated and sure it’s from 2007 but it’s still a fucking fantastic game and everyone should play it especially if you like;
- Emo characters that admit they’re emo and don’t care
- Cool female characters who can be girly and pretty badass
- Skater boys with cute little sisters
- FUCKIN CUTIES
- Hints of homosexuality in characters
- Modern Japanese culture
- Very cool and interesting plot lines
- A very unique fighting style
- Rad music
- Insulting people using mathematical terminology
- A cool manga-esque art style
It also addresses things like;
- The importance of friendship
- The importance of family
- Shopping is very important
- How to make the best out of a sticky situation
- Your views on people and the world can change
- “Trust your partner.”
I’m sure there’s a shit ton more to say but idk I can’t think of stuff right now but still find and play the game thanks