World End Syndrome is a visual novel that is centred around multiple choice. The game was developed by TOYBOX and published by PQube. Arc System Works also had a hand in both the development and publishing of the game. It was released on 2nd May 2019 for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.Arc System Works have a company philosophy that they use as an acronym for their name “Arc”. Arc stands for Action Revolution and Challenge. PQube publish and distribute video games across all major platforms. They boast that they are “a top 20 publisher”.
The End of the World?
World End Syndrome tells the story of a young school boy moving to a new town named “Mihate”. He is moving there because of a dark and mysterious past. When he arrives at Mihate, he is going to be moving into his uncle’s mansion. Well, in the game it is called a mansion, but the images depict it as just a large house. On his way to Mihate, he falls asleep on the train and is then awoken by a beautiful young woman also travelling to Mihate. They get to know each other on the train and go their separate ways when they arrive.
From there, things get very sinister as soon as the boy steps off the train. You will need to explore the town of Mihate and uncover all of its secrets. The main plot of the story focuses on a crazy legend that seems to be coming true. The whole town is fixated on this legend. It tells the tale that somebody will come back from the dead to cause misery and to murder people every 100 years. It just so happens that when our protagonist enters the town of Miahte, it is the exact year that the legend is supposed to become a reality.
When playing World End Syndrome, you will get to make a lot of choices. The main part of the game takes place during summer, so it is up to you to get to know your classmates whilst solving a murder mystery, completing tasks and missions and maybe even find love. Or you can just spend the whole summer doing nothing, but trust me when I say that doing nothing doesn’t lead to things ending well.
Each day you will be able to select where you visit during the morning, afternoon and nighttime. You don’t get much guidance with where to go or what to do unless it is part of the main plot, so you will need to really put much consideration towards which places you are going to visit.
When playing World End Syndrome, you become absolutely immersed in the beautiful small town of Mihate. You become addicted to solving its mysteries. Each area of Mihate is visually stunning and so are the characters of World End Syndrome. Each character is creative with their own personality, and everyone is quite beautiful, apart from maybe one particular character who is a reporter. If you play the game, you will know which reporter I mean.
Most images have a bit of movement to them, which is also great to see because it makes you feel like you are really part of the game and adds to the experience. The story is also very interesting. It kind of keeps you guessing all the way through. There will be lots of twists and turns that are completely dependent on the choices you make. If something terrible happens, don’t worry because you can just go back, reload your save and try again. You may find that you have to play the game a few times to get the result you want.
The game mechanics sometimes push you down a certain path to confuse you and keep you guessing. Just remember that everything is happening for a reason. At some point, you may have to completely start over, but the mechanics record everything you have done and adapt the story around that, including across different save files.
Hints and Tips
I would definitely recommend playing a couple of other visual novel games before playing World End Syndrome. The reason I say this is because it is quite a complex example of the visual novel genre. The game does include an options menu, which has a “hints and tips” section. The options menu also has a missions section that allows you to see missions that are active, completed and failed. Missions are given within the game from different characters.
The “hints and tips” section of the options menu isn’t actually very helpful. Because the game is solely based on what you decide to do, it doesn’t really give you much help in deciding where to spend your summer days. You have to kind of figure out where people will be by yourself. From there, you can aim to be with the people you want to spend your time with. Sometimes areas will glow and flash if there is an event happening. It is your decision whether you take part in those events or go somewhere else.
World End Syndrome Overall
Overall, World End Syndrome has some great aspects. It has beautiful and creative images, including the background scenery, landscapes and characters. The story is very detailed, with it being completely down to the player to decide how the story pans out. Saying that, it may not be a great place to start if you don’t have any experience with visual novel games. The game doesn’t really give you much guidance and can be quite confusing. The key is to bare in mind that everything is happening for a reason and that you can always go back and try things again.
You can tell at the beginning of World End Syndrome that something is off. Nothing is what it seems, and you feel like you are really at the heart of a crazy legend coming to fruition. The whole game is extremely immersive and visually stunning. It is completely shrouded in mystery.
As I have mentioned, World End Syndrome can be quite confusing and a bit complicated. If you don’t have much experience with visual novel games, it might be better to try smaller, cheaper or free games first. This will give you an idea of whether or not World End Syndrome is right for you. It was released at a standard price for a Nintendo Switch game, so take this into account as well. It’s not really for me to say if it is worth your hard-earned cash because visual novels aren’t for everybody. That being said, I would be happy to pay the cost personally.
Developer: TOYBOX & Arc System Works
Publisher: PQube & Arc System Works
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4
Release Date: 2nd May 2019