From the creators of Zero Escape and Danganronpa comes World's End Club, a puzzle adventure platformer that should feel familiar.
World's End Club has an opening that will be quite familiar to fans of Zero Escape and Danganronpa as a group of kids awake in an underground bunker in the ocean and forced by a nasty mysterious entity to play a game that will decide their fates. The only thing is, this game reaches its conclusion quite early on and the story really starts to unfold when you manage to escape the bunker. The gameplay gets a little more interesting as well. Anyway, the students discover that there seems to be no life outside of the bunker so they set out on a journey to travel across Japan to Tokyo in the hopes of finding other people.
Each chapter is either a camp, story, or act. The first 2 are dialogue scenes in which you'll find out more about the characters and possibly the world that they've found themselves in, too. The act scenes involve some light 2D platforming and frequent use of abilities to solve practical puzzles of varying challenge. Each student unlocks a unique power just when they need it and from then on, the ability allows them to do things like breathe fire to melt ice, throw heavy objects, and walk on the ceiling which will all help you progress.
Unfortunately, although there were some levels where I was free to use my brain to figure out how to progress, what to do next was more often than not spoon-fed to me. Specifically, I couldn't pick which character's abilities I wanted to use as it was locked in when it was needed and sometimes, the characters even said exactly what I had to do. If there was more freedom to pick and use abilities and more complexity to the puzzles then this could have been a much more rewarding system. Having said that, it is still nice to break up the long stretches of reading with at least a little bit of gameplay no matter how straightforward it is.
Puzzle solving sections aside, there are also bosses that you'll take on which requires very precise timing; so much so that I got frustrated a couple of times because I didn't have good enough precision to avoid their attacks and it's not obvious where the blast radius is.
Your path to Tokyo isn't straightforward and in typical Zero Escape style, there are branching paths and choices to make that determine what happens next. Who will you meet on your journey? Will you keep the gang together or split them up? Will you reach Tokyo with everyone safe? It's up to you and you can replay and pick different branches after completing a playthrough as well.
The more you play, the more you'll find out about the characters' pasts which can be quite rewarding as some of them have interesting back-stories and connections. You also have the opportunity to pick up more collectibles which come in the form of stickers that sometimes only appear after finishing certain hidden tasks. Needless to say, doing so can add a bit of replay value.
The visual style of World's End Club feels like a manga and the developers went to great lengths to provide a variety of scenery and different camera angles to keep the visuals feeling fresh. I was pleased with the detail in the environments and character artwork as well as the odd change-up of art styles that manage to come together into something quite graphically unique. Oh, and World's End Club includes full English voice acting which was a nice surprise and the actors are quite talented to boot.
World's End Club will keep you interested enough for at least one playthrough with its intriguing premise and fun presentation. However, the lackluster platforming and puzzle-solving may put you off playing it again and again to unlock the full story.
- + Bits of puzzle platforming gameplay help break up the long stretches of reading
- + A story that will keep you hooked
- + Interesting use of multiple art styles
- - Abilities system is too spoon-fed and doesn't live up to its potential
- - Platforming and boss fights can be finicky