Living in the Ending World Review – Food and Sanity

    Title: Living in the Ending World
    Developer: illuCalab
    Release Date: September 22, 2020
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Sekai Project
    Genre: Adventure

We now live in an age of 4K gaming and are just entering the cusp of 8K, with framerates going as high as 120 per second. It’s crazy to think it wasn’t that long ago when these types of visuals were almost nonexistent, and players had to use their imagination for the most part. On that note, text-based adventures used to be a huge deal, which naturally evolved into the many, many visual novels we review here at NoisyPixel.

Games like Living in the Ending World attempt to hearken back to a simpler time, where rather than using some kind of gameplay mechanics, it was simple text-based choices that drove the progression. In this game, these choices even function as the main feature to deliver a genuine survival experience.

Living in the Ending World, as the title suggests, has the player taking on the protagonist’s role and finds themselves in a world at the very brink of ending, where everything has been destroyed, and humanity is all but gone. It doesn’t take you long to run into an old classmate who joins you on this shared existence of survival.

In the beginning, you get to choose a starter kit, and one of these even includes a portable game console with limited battery life. Despite living in a world with no food or clean water, you need to get your priorities straight, so choose wisely and always pick the portable game console.

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The game moves along on a day-to-day cycle, where you plan your activities for the morning, afternoon, and evening. In the first few cycles, the main thing you need to do is search for resources, and gradually, as you accumulate items, you can construct a home base of sorts, which improves your survival chances. The base serves as a shelter, and you can craft useful items as you learn new recipes.

Slowly but surely, you and your companion can travel to new locations, each introducing new possibilities in terms of food, tools, and crafting materials. The game is surprisingly robust with a long list of tools that you can salvage and the items. Using these can be for survival, all of which help with the gameplay immersion.

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There are light RPG elements, too, as you need to manage stats like strength and knowledge, which help you adapt to the world and cope with the many dangers. These adversaries mostly come as predators and other awful folks who will do anything to steal your food. In building up the characters, you need to pay attention to their hunger and sanity, making sure they are well fed and are as comfortable as can be, while at the same time keeping their hopes up to not spiral out of control.

The gameplay progression is rather fast, as decisions are actioned quickly, and it takes mere seconds to move through the day cycles. This gives Living in the Ending World a bit of a roguelike feel, where multiple playthroughs are necessary as you’re likely to die of starvation early on. Much like a visual novel, there are multiple endings here, and so there is some replay value to enjoy.

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A player’s enjoyment of Living in the Ending World will likely depend on their platform of choice, and ideally, you want to play this on your phone or tablet as the game lends itself nicely to a portable experience. It’s a fun and quick pick-up-and-play title where you can save any time, and even if you fail a playthrough, you can share your log directly from the game menu on Twitter. A neat little touch to create a community of sorts.

Sadly, the PC version doesn’t really provide this same experience as it comes off as just a simple port of the mobile version, screen resolution, and all. Visually the game is as simplistic as it comes, using black and white aesthetics with limited spooky music to get things going. There’s really not much to say about the production value, other than that the presentation gets the job done in creating a bleak and dying world that players must survive in.

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Living in the Ending World is a neat concept and idea as it creates a survival experience within the classic text-based adventure genre. However, it ultimately feels like a demo that could potentially be a much bigger game someday. While it adds some unique ideas to the narrative adventure genre with survival and crafting elements, the entire experience is short-lived with fast RNG systems that work better on mobile devices. Living in the Ending World is a neat idea that I would love to see expanded more on.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Jahanzeb Khan

Old SEGA games will go up in value... you'll see!