What happens when a team of distraught students witness the apocalypse on a seemingly normal school trip? World’s End Club answers this question by examining the different interpersonal relationships as a whole. However, a janky platform, predictable story beats, uninspired characters, and a forgettable soundtrack keep World’s End Club from reaching the heights of the two franchises that directly informed it: Danganronpa and Zero Escape.
You will spend most of your time in the World’s End Club analyzing in-depth conversations that put the bigger picture into context. These dialogue-rich moments are glorified exhibition dumps. Characters announce their ulterior motives and innermost feelings at random, and when a main villain enters the fray to ‘accidentally’ reveal their evil plans (this is happening at an alarming rate), the narrative is stripped of its meaning. issues. Sometimes I was excited to see the plots resolved, but the emotional issues got turned so often that I lost interest. This is particularly frustrating because, despite its cartoonish / lighthearted aesthetic, World’s End Club wants to be a game on complex grounds such as deception, trust, and lasting friendship. It could have been interesting, but as it stands, the narrative feels hollow.
Silent protagonist Reycho is the daring leader of the Go-Getters Club, an eccentric group of misfits. When a meteor suddenly crashes over Tokyo on a summer afternoon, the world abruptly ends. After the impact, the crew wakes up in an underwater amusement park where a floating Pokémon-type creature named Pielope forces them to participate in a dangerous “Game of Fate”. The trials Reycho and society face push the tight-knit fraternity to the brink of collapse. Sadly, I quickly discovered that every member of the Go-Getters Club was just a superficial archetype – from the unconscious vanilla of the overhead head to the overweight and gluttonous Mowchan. Plus, the voiceover ranges from mediocre to downright laughable. It’s gotten harder and harder to care about the playable cast when they’re awkwardly robotic during emotionally tense times and even mispronounce names every now and then.
The World’s End Club game loop is divided into three distinct sections: Act, Camp, and History. During the Mundane Act phase, you’ll jump over bottomless pits and push crates to clear blocked passages. Combat usually involves throwing blunt objects at slow targets or running for your life while navigating an array of pesky obstacles. I enjoyed those last few moments, but soon realized that it was extremely easy to get away from the wacky creatures of the World’s End Club. The less frequent stealth sequences forced me to hide behind objects and time my escape sprints. The Go-Getter’s Club spends their free time in the campsites, where you can briefly chat with each member to better understand the characters’ motivations, which are just as superficial as the moments in the story.
The one-dimensional dimension of World’s End Club characters is evident the moment they open their mouths, but when their awakened abilities kick in, their personalities come to life. These awesome super moves help you survive in this dastardly world, and they slowly unlock as you progress through the story acts. The awakened abilities made me feel powerful enough and lent themselves well to most of the simple environmental puzzles in World’s End Club. For example, I liked using Reycho’s “Big League Pitcher” to throw stones at overhanging structures, forcing them to collapse on enemies patrolling below. I’ve used other awakened abilities to take out otherwise indestructible geographic formations or simply slow down invincible bosses. The large number of applicable abilities made boring enemy encounters a bit more satisfying and made uneventful platforming sections slightly entertaining.
That’s not to say that I haven’t encountered my fair share of gaming issues. Countless times I’ve found myself staring at a Game Over screen because of the wooden controls. Sometimes I would keep pressing the jump button just to watch Reycho stroll over to the edge of a platform. At other times, the characters seemed to fight against me as I tried to grab ledges or dodge obstructions with one shot. On several occasions, I have been repeatedly spotted by opponents because of a ruthless stick sensitivity; I would try to get slightly closer to a ledge, but I just fall off the platform and into the clutches of enemies.
The monster and biome design, on the other hand, has become my two favorite aspects of the World’s End Club. My journey through Japan took me to abandoned prefectures teeming with proliferation and dangerous obstacles like molten lava, puddles of quicksand and mutated foliage. The underground facilities housed rabid, bipedal canids, and dusty mountainsides were home to gigantic armored beetles. Some creatures were much more grotesque and interesting to watch with serpentine limbs and edgy, twitching movements. However, these characteristics weren’t important enough to distract me from the myriad of narrative and mechanical flaws in the World’s End Club.
World’s End Club tells an uninteresting story full of obvious twists and turns, segmented by linear exploration and low-stakes action. On normal difficulty you are killed in one hit, which doesn’t go well with finnicky controls. Some character designs and their accompanying abilities are particularly inspired, but I haven’t fallen in love with any of their static personalities. The World’s End Club ended up feeling like an unimaginative extracurricular activity.
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