World's End Club is a story-heavy mystery platformer. The recently released Switch version enhances the game that was first published on iOS. World's End Club was the next project for the creators of DanganRonpa & Zero Escape. It features ideas from both creators' past work.
As a fan of Danganronpa series, I wanted to try World's End Club as soon as it got announced. I played the Demo around the release date time. I wrote my thoughts on it at the time, but it took me a while to organize them into a post.
The story follows The Go-Getters Club. A group of 6th-grade students who get trapped in an underwater park, and forced to play a "Death Game." You play as one of the students, a silent protagonist called Reycho.
At some point, the game is canceled.
The club members go outside only to discover that they're on the other side of their country away from their city, and the whole world has seemingly ended. The Demo, however, is set entirely in the Death Game section of the story.
Well, technically it's not a death game. Unlike DanganRonpa, killing the other participants isn't a goal but a side-effect in "The Game of Fate" that the Go-Getters Club members are forced to play.
A Thriller Platformer
The first thing I noticed about World's End Club is the difference in style compared to other series of its genre. A thriller with Dark elements but a quirky and funny visual style. The game didn't feel like a platformer to me, but more like an interactive movie.
I thought it's strange having a silent protagonist for a story like this. I came to appreciate it by the end of the demo, but I still think a protagonist with personality would work better considering The Game of Fate they're playing.
The tutorial showcases most of the gameplay systems. It seems to be set in the future.
The story is told in a linear style while you move your 3D characters on the 2D plane. Simple controls: One button for jumping & one for interactions with the environment and other characters. This section tries to integrate the game mechanics with the story, but it made me feel the characters are stupid.
As the club members all show up for the final battle. The tutorial ends with them being wiped from existence. Leaving their questions and mine (as the player) unanswered. Then we get a flashback scene of when everything has started.
A video shows pretty realistic characters playing a survival game. The main characters watch the video on a field trip in 1995. Vanilla says: "What a weird show." When I saw this, I thought the movie characters will turn out to be the true identity of the go-getters club later.
The Game of Fate
Reycho wakes up along with the club members inside a park underwater. They get thrown into the game they saw in the movie. A floating robot called "Pielope" introduces them to the rules:
- Everyone is assigned a task.
- Everyone has a wristband. It shows the task of their Taskmate instead of them.
- The person who finishes their task first, is the only winner.
- If no one wins in an hour, everyone loses.
- The losers get killed/turned into smudges.
Under these rules, you have to know what's your task is before doing it. Pielope tells them that the easiest way is to kill the Taskmate. At first, I thought there's no saying in the rules that if someone wins another has to lose. But after re-reading the rules. It does say there can only be one winner at most.
The game starts with panic with the friends not accepting what happened to them. Eventually, they start playing the game. Some of the friends work together and some against each other.
World's End Club Demo's story linear. Outside the cinematic story parts, the game allows you to move anywhere you want, but doing something stupid, (or jumping at the wrong time,) leads to Game Over. I chuckled at how quickly I lost my life. I trusted the wrong person.
The tasks in this game are quite simple, with the first task revealed to us is Vanilla's task. She has to "Eat a Marshmallow." The only challenge is knowing what you're supposed to do, as it's usually easy. Knowing the ease of your Taskmate's task is a dangerous psychological aspect of this game.
The player character, Reycho, surprised me. He plays to win! Probably? I don't know what goes in Reycho's head since he's a silent protagonist whose actions can have many interpretations. I don't know if I'd do something differently if I were him, but considering what I was doing in the game, I was surprised that Vanilla even trusted Reycho as she did, but some of her lines explained it to me at some point.
Like A Movie
The story is gripping. Fun and creepiness are mixed seamlessly. The tone is more thrilling than horrific. The stakes didn't appear to me as a player as high as the characters perceive, probably because the art-style keeps distracting me from the seriousness of the situation.
A list of all eliminated & remaining members is on top of the screen at all times. A list of each character and the information available to the player about
their tasks and taskmates can be accessed on the screen.
The puzzles were intuitive for the most part as I didn't get stuck at any of them, but I did have to think a lot before finding how to solve the barrel puzzle.
By the end, I only memorized the names of a few characters. Reycho the main character. Vanilla, the heroine. Aniki her brother. (Let's appreciate the name.)
The ease of the tasks and the reactions of the friends regarding them made this game strangely relatable. Of course, you'll be worried & afraid. Of course, you won't trust anyone in that situation. Of course, you can easily get blackmailed with a false task in that situation.
Despite seeing the characters actively work on having each other killed, I still felt the friendship between them. They knew each other so well that when something seems off about their behavior, they know it.
A nice touch by the game developers, is when Reycho works with someone, they follow behind him, making it feel like you control a whole party.
I got the Game Over screen many times in this #FirstImpression playthrough. Not because the game is hard, but because I wanted to try what happens if I failed. The correct solution is intuitive most of the time.
What do you think?
This Demo was satisfying to play and choices the perfect point to end at. I loved all the twists at the end. One of them is already revealed in the trailer. I wonder how the story will go from there in the actual game.
- All images are screenshots of the game taken by me.
- This article is crossposted here on Hive & Read.cash w/different screenshots.