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Game Review #311: WorldEnd Syndrome (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: Toybox

Publisher: Arc System Works/PQube

Category: Visual Novel (Romance/Horror)

Release Date: 05.02.2019

Price (At Time of Review): $39.99 (Digital) | £34.99 (Physical)

Buy WorldEnd Syndrome in the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy WorldEnd Syndrome from Amazon U.K. here.

Zombie Horror Love

WorldEnd Syndrome is a traditionally styled visual novel title that takes you to Mihate Town, where a years old legend tells of the resurrection of the dead, and the onslaught and chaos that can happen with this horrifying occurrence. Yomibito are the dead returned and they have come to kill, or is there more to it? WorldEnd takes you on that journey as the main protagonist, a character who has travelled to Mihate to start over after a cruel past. He meets a group of students and quickly they all become the best of friends, but what secrets lie beneath all the characters around you?

It’s a Long Story

Travelling to Mihate by train, you are a high school junior and you are planning to start fresh in this town by the sea. But you have a bitter past, and you plan to do everything you can to move on from it or end it all here. On this train, you meet a sweet girl named Yukino, who is an aspiring journalist coming to Mihate to write a magazine article about the legend of the Yomibito, and Mihate Town’s history. As you arrive in town you make your way up to your uncle’s mansion on the hill where things start to get strange. You find the house is already occupied by your distant cousin, Maimi, and you quickly get to know each other. School begins and you get hooked up with the class clown, becoming best friends.

An interesting club has caught the eye of your new friend, for certain reasons, and he talks you into trying out for this club. The Tribal Studies Club is headed up by your famous teacher who has written a best-selling novel, WorldEnd Syndrome. This novel is about the legend of the Yomibito and is inspired by her love for history and the occult. You gain entry to the club and make several new friends as well with varying personalities. Together you all get very close and attempt to solve the mysteries of Mihate, various family dramas, and the secret everyone is yearning to know more about, the Yomibito.

The legend of the Yomibito states that every 100 years in Mihate the dead rise again and come back to the city where they act like nothing has changed. They do not know they are dead, but if they aren’t discovered before it is too late, they will go into a bloodlust and begin to massacre people. This is a part of the history of the city, and the major families are tied to this tale.

The story takes so many twists and turns that I found myself unsure of what could be coming next at multiple major story plots. The first time you play through this title you will inevitably get the “Worst Ending” and, as is commonplace in visual novels, you must play back through the game multiple times while taking different paths to try to get all of the information needed to progress the overarching story. WorldEnd is a romance game, and with that you will take time to get close to each of the main women in the game, falling in love with each through your repeated play-throughs of the timeline. As you do this you will be able to open new endings with better conclusions. The game masterfully directs you through the city of Mihate, where you must chase each girl around town doing various tasks with them. Yukino, Maimi, Miu, Saya, and Rei all offer very different paths, and each lovely lady has dark secrets of their own, and they need your help to get through them.

Save Yourself

This is another game where it is crucial to utilize your save-points in order to capitalize the most out of your play-throughs. The game remembers when you have visited certain areas of the city on other runs, and lets you know where people are as you initially discover it, so being able to run through with your saves is vitally important. You also need to complete the girl’s stories in a certain order to attain the true ending, and so making use of the tools they give you, including the fast forward feature, will allow for a healthier play-through.

Deduction Seduction

As you progress through the game you begin to open some dark timelines, and with that you must start to attempt to solve the mysteries around town. You have various missions to complete, as well as a slew of collectibles and the like to gather up, and with these completed you can progress through certain timelines. You must try to figure out where people will be and when, based purely on dialogue clues, and things you learn about the characters’ schedules and day to day lives. Mystery is all around, and that doesn’t change as you come upon the reasons behind a lot of the issues going on in Mihate. With the help of the girls and the knowledge you gather you must make the right choices to save the team, keep everyone alive, and help the town as a whole get through this dreaded Yomibito curse, as it is the hundredth year in question.

Sights and Sounds

The game looks like most traditional visual novels, with its anime/comic book style of storytelling. The game is well drawn, and it even features interesting animated cut scenes that are very well done as well. The music in the game is pleasant, but very much so a background measure; elevator music-esque, but not in a bad way. It just gently sets the mood through-out, but it does offer some rockin’ pop tunes for certain points in the game.

The scenery and areas you visit feel full of life, and the art style and design allow for the game to feel lived in, and like something that could actually exist. From festivals to homes, the game is filled with life.

In closing…

WorldEnd Syndrome is a masterfully crafted visual novel, with a story that needs to be experienced by more people. This game seriously impressed me with its storytelling and is something I will treasure having had the pleasure to experience. At face value the game seems like nothing new to the genre, but with tons of twists and tear-jerking moments, this is something that is a must-play to anyone who is a regular to the visual novel genre. Keep in mind, this game is purely story based, and with romance/horror themes it can go from very high highs to very low lows. If you are looking for anything beyond what you would get from a stunning movie or a great book, then this won’t be for you as this game isn’t bogged down by additional gameplay elements. Multiple play-throughs are common in visual novels, so if that is something that sounds like a negative to you than take note of that as well. It is the purest of storytelling, and man is it good at it.

Score: 9/10

Buy WorldEnd Syndrome in the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy WorldEnd Syndrome from Amazon U.K. here.

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*Review Code Provided by PQube

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