Whilst it has been out on the Nintendo Switch for a short while now, I’ve only recently played through World’s End Club. I always fancied playing it ever since it was first revealed on a Nintendo Direct, with the blend of quirky visual novel-style storytelling and puzzle-platforming gameplay ticking plenty of boxes for me, but a mixed reception upon release did dampen the buzz I had a little.
Now, after investing around twelve hours into the game, I’ve finally beat it. You know what? I REALLY enjoyed my time with it too, with the colourful cast of characters and the strange situations they find themselves in keeping me fully invested in the tale from start to end. Don’t get me wrong, it’s FAR from perfect and the gameplay doesn’t quite live up to the high standard of the storytelling, but there’s still a good time to be had in this crisis-fuelled world.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
World’s End Club stars a spunky group of kids who call themselves the ‘Go-Getter’s Club’, with their positive attitude and friendship helping them through any situation they may find themselves in. That attitude is desperately needed too, with meteors striking down from the sky when they’re on a school field trip, causing them to black out in the aftermath. When they awaken, they find themselves in an abandoned underwater theme park, which actually sounds like a pretty cool scenario on paper… right?
Well, they soon realise that they’re actually a part of a twisted game for survival, with each member of the group competing with one another to complete tasks. There can only be one winner though, with anyone who fails their task ending up getting eaten by a deadly robot. With a time-limit of one-hour in place, it soon turns into a dangerous task where each kid tries to form alliances with one-another, but also finds themselves looking to be the ‘winner’ of the game too.
That’s only a TASTE of what World’s End Club offers, though. Whilst I won’t go into detail here, the ‘Go-Getter’s Club’s’ journey ends up becoming much more than just this deadly game, with the fate of the entire world upon their shoulders in a tale full of twists, turns, and branching paths. There are multiple endings on offer, but you’ll have to explore every different scenario the game offers if you want to experience the true ending.
“Whilst I won’t go into detail here, the ‘Go-Getter’s Club’s’ journey ends up becoming much more than just this deadly game, with the fate of the entire world upon their shoulders in a tale full of twists, turns, and branching paths.“
I was a big fan of World’s End Club’s story, with the charming cast and the bizarre scenarios they found themselves in keeping me thoroughly entertained throughout. Don’t get me wrong, there are some typical stereotypes found within the group, but they all come together in a nice way to make it easy to root for each one’s success. They grow as a group too, with their bonds strengthening as they spend more time together and learn more about each other. It’s nice.
My favourite aspect of the story were the twists it took – there was one surprise that hit early on that seemed to come out of nowhere, whilst the latter chapters of the game completely change the outlook of the adventure. I won’t spoil anything here, but it definitely caught me off-guard and stood out as a highlight.
Whilst the story and visual novel elements of World’s End Club are great, there’s also a ton of puzzle-platforming to be done across the game’s varied environments. Unfortunately, these aspects of the game are a bit hit-and-miss, with the gameplay mechanics proving inconsistent in quality.
“Don’t get me wrong, there are some typical stereotypes found within the group, but they all come together in a nice way to make it easy to root for each one’s success.“
Everything takes place across a 2D plane, with the player controlling different members of the ‘Go-Getter’s Club’ to take advantage of their varied abilities. As they embark on their journey, they’ll face situations where a power will come from inside of them to help protect their friends. These powers are then used to solve puzzles or clear pathways in the more action-orientated levels of the game.
Reycho, the main protagonist, can throw objects a great distance for example, whilst Pai can deflect things with her shield. Kansai can smash enemies with his baseball bat, whilst Mowchan can turn into an iron ball to smash through objects. Then you have Jennu who can flip gravity to walk on the ceiling, and Chuko who can breathe fire. That’s just a handful of the powers at your disposal too, with each other character bringing their own skills to the fray that are used to progress through the world’s many puzzles.
The problem is, these puzzle-platforming sections are always REALLY easy to get through. There wasn’t a point in the game where it wasn’t completely obvious what to do to solve a puzzle thanks to the fact that it auto-selects the character whose ability you will need, whilst the simplicity of the gameplay mechanics means there’s little challenge to be found whilst traversing each level. It’s just a case of running and jumping, with no real platforming challenges found. The platforming itself could feel a little clunky too, with simple things like jumping or climbing often lacking precision. As mentioned, there aren’t any tricky platforming segments in the game where this really deters from the experience too much, but it was still an obvious flaw that felt ever-present.
“The platforming itself could feel a little clunky too, with simple things like jumping or climbing often lacking precision.”
The levels were a bit short too. There were some cool powers introduced that were barely used by the end, with some levels lasting just around five minutes. It almost made their inclusion feel a little pointless, with some characters certainly getting a lot more time in the limelight than others.
Whilst it’s not perfect, I wouldn’t say that World’s End Club’s puzzle-platforming is bad at all. Whilst simple in design, a lot of the levels were still fun to progress through, whilst the boss battles added a neat twist to the formula. There’s a decent amount of variety to be found across the game too, with battles with enemies, stealth levels, and chase sequences fleshing out the experience. It might not offer the most fined-tuned puzzle-platforming experience and it can feel cumbersome, but it does have its moments where it shines.
I’ve got to give props to the visuals and music too, which I was a fan of throughout. The colourful cartoon-like aesthetic made for some great looking locales in-game, especially in the more dilapidated cities where nature has taken over (it was almost like The Last of Us in style), whilst the over-the-top voice acting and music was top notch too. It’s definitely a well-presented game, even IF I did encounter a small number of glitches on the Nintendo Switch. One saw me suffer a hard crash and the other wouldn’t let me leave the menu, which was strange. Thankfully, checkpoints are plentiful, so I didn’t lose any real progress restarting.
World’s End Club has its flaws with its inconsistent and clunky platforming, but the excellent storytelling ensures that it’s still plenty of fun to play.
I was fully invested in the journey of the ‘Go-Getter’s Club’, whilst the many twists encountered along the way kept me guessing throughout. It was hard NOT to like all of the characters and seeing their bond grow further on the journey was a real treat.
It was a shame that the gameplay wasn’t of the same high standard, but at least it was never bad. It just felt a bit cumbersome in places and lacked any real challenge, with the short levels never taking too much effort to get through. It wasn’t enough of a problem to stop me enjoying the game though, with World’s End Club journey certainly proving to be a memorable one.
Developer: Izanagi Games, Too Kyo Games
Publisher: NIS America
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed)