NEO: The World Ends With You is on the horizon and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is incredibly excited about it. If you know nothing about it and you’ve got some friends or very online people you follow who are also excited, you may end up acquiring some of that excitement for yourself via osmosis.
And if you know nothing about it, then you wouldn’t have played the cult classic and fantastic The World Ends With You, the title NEO: The World Ends With You is a sequel to. When looking at a sequel, it’s always best to consume the original first. There are specific exceptions, such as Yakuza 0, but those are so very few and far between.
Why would you even skip The World Ends With You?
But how should you play it? With multiple rereleases and an anime adaptation, it may feel like a lot to look at. That’s what I’m here for. I’m going to break down every instance of The World Ends With You and tally up all their pros and cons of each version so you can pick the one that’s right for you.
So let’s start the game.
The World Ends With You (Nintendo DS)
The original release of the game in 2007, this bad boy comes with a super unique partner mechanic in which you control two characters at once.
On the top screen, we have a partner character who you control with the d-pad, and on the bottom screen, you control the lead, Neku Sakuraba, using touch controls. You won’t see this replicated in any other release, due to other screens being simply not big enough to split.
Some people have felt that it’s too much, but the combat system is easy enough to pick up and an AI can play the partner whilst you’re getting the hang of things.
There’s no negative to this release, if you can find a physical copy go for it. You may expect the music to be of a significantly lower quality due to the platform, but the developers took great pains to present one of the best soundtracks on the system, and they succeeded.
The World Ends With You: Solo Remix (iOS/Android)
Back in 2012, a countdown timer was started teasing new The World Ends With You related media. Unfortunately too many fans at the time, it was not a new game, but instead a mobile remake of the original game for iOS devices, which would come to Android devices two years later. With the change in platform, a number of things were altered.
As phones don’t generally tend to have two screens, the gameplay was remade to fit just the one. Gone, is the partner system, instead, in its place a ‘partner pin’. Using this pin, you would be able to summon the partner like any other attack. This can simplify the gameplay to some people, but the two-screen gimmick only makes up a small factor in the title’s overall appeal.
The soundtrack now playing out of a phone as opposed to being compressed for the Nintendo DS, means it also sounds better. This version of the game also has had a graphical upgrade. Sprites are no longer pixelated and are instead high-quality renders, which makes for some great animations in battle.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix (Nintendo Switch)
In 2018, the game hit the Nintendo Switch. This version is largely the same as the mobile version but on a larger screen and with even more detailed character sprites and visuals. If you’re playing in handheld it plays the same too. The soundtrack has been remixed, and you can select from either the original or remixed versions when playing.
If you’re playing on TV mode, you’ll be using Joy-Con motion controls. I think they operate just fine, however many people claim to have a lot of trouble. So that would be a risk you’d have to take.
The Switch version does have a couple of things that the other versions of the game don’t have.
The first thing is that Final Remix contains a short episode that functions as a sequel hook for a future title, which allegedly won’t be necessary for Neo: The World Ends With You. But you can never be too careful.
The second thing is what I think is most important. Get yourself a friend and you’ll be able to play through The World Ends With You: Final Remix with local multiplayer. Team up with a friend and beat the noise together.
The World Ends with You: The Animation (TV Anime)
Why, you ask?
What happens when you take a 30-hour game and turn it into a 12 episode anime? An unbelievable amount of stuff is removed. The anime may not be done at the time of writing, but only a few episodes in, it’s already an unrectifiable mess for anyone trying to get into this story.
Treat the anime as a visual bonus to see your now-beloved characters animated and voiced after you’ve played any of the other versions.
So if you want to play The World Ends With You, pick whichever one suits you the most from those differences. I would recommend getting the title on whichever platform you use the most.
If you play games on your phone, or you’re always on your switch, then go for those. If you can track down an original copy and have the time for the ‘authentic’ experience, then go for the original DS version. Each one will give you a largely identical experience, and I’m sure that to most of you…It’d be a damn good one.
NEO: The World Ends With You is coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on July 27, 2021, and PC-via The Epic Games Store in Summer 2021.
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