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Game Review #380: WILL: A Wonderful World (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: WMY Studio

Publisher: CIRCLE Ent.

Category: Narrative Puzzle-Adventure

Release Date: 10.18.18

Price (at time of review): $14.99 (digital) | $39.99 (physical)

Buy WILL: A Wonderful World from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy WILL: A Wonderful World from Amazon here.

Choose Your Own Adventure

WILL: A Wonderful World is a visual novel that diverges from the traditional layout of what you would expect from games from this genre. You have the same narrative puzzles, cutscene styles, and the Japanese anime feel, but you also have the interesting mechanic of being able to change the outcomes of what is happening to the main cast of characters, not through repetition of the game as is the norm, but by changing up the order of dialogue and sometimes even swapping choices between characters to ensure everyone ends up just fine. Or you can take it the other way and cause havoc and destruction for everyone involved.

Good Morning, God

This title opens with your character waking from a deep sleep of who knows how long to meet an interesting looking canine who can talk. This dog tells you that you are in fact a god and have the ability to change people’s lives if they write you a note asking for help and detailing their situation. As this happens you start getting “letters in the mail” that contain the notes of desperation from the cast of characters that you will get to know, interact with, and decide the overall fate of. This is not a bright and cheery tale of helping people and happily ever after; no, this is a dark dive into some really grimy areas of mankind, and how you can do everything in your power to help out people, at times to no avail. If you are sensitive to certain subjects you might want to consider that when picking up this title, as it really doesn’t hold back with the places these characters go, and all manner of mental health, criminal, and other dark angles are touched on in this game.

Overall the story is good; you have an interesting cast of characters and the ability to have so many interconnecting stories is really a feat by the writers. Many of the dark tropes you can imagine are used here and playing through was rough at times. I wish the story overall had a little more depth to it, as it feels like these tropes were used just for the sake of being tropes and no real message is given outside of the social norms of these issues. It was worth playing through and is a title worth picking up if you like visual novels as the story contained within is up to par but be warned.

Swap Sides

The unique gameplay mechanic utilized in this title is the ability to run through the notes you are given and change up the listed dialogue in order to change the outcomes of the negative messages sent in. This is a mechanic I truly hope makes it into a ton of visual novels in one form or another, as the multiple runs you experience playing through traditional visual novels can be draining and eventually boring at time, and this title really beefs up the user friendly options by allowing you to experience the game in one run, just with the changes coming as you go.

I also really like that you can see exactly which options you have tried in the system offered where they grade each outcome on an “S” rank scale. You will have to plot out and replace the options in many different ways to try to deduce the best (or worst) ways to finish each note, and they blatantly show you what you have already tried and in what order you placed the dialogue to get there so you don’t waste your time retrying the same things repeatedly. User friendly options abound in this unique take on the visual novel genre, and they are all things I hope make their way into more titles. This was easily the most unintrusive visual novel experience I have had when it comes to gameplay. (Quite intrusive in other ways.)

Comic Sans

The game’s visual style is pretty drag and drop from what you would expect from the genre. Comic book style cutscenes and art, cartoony characters that really lean on their anime roots, and generally good art throughout. I am not telling you this in this way because it is a negative, they just haven’t done a ton to set themselves apart from the vast number of visual novels that use this art style. The game might be a tad more cartoon-styled in its dialogue areas, but the cutscenes and still images are dark and well-drawn, allowing for some really deep immersion into what you are looking at. The music is solid throughout as well.

In closing…

WILL: A Wonderful World adds a ton to the genre in its systems and mechanics and offers up a story that will shake you down to your core. The overlapping stories for characters that are scattered across the globe is a nice touch and really adds to the prowess of the writing staff on this title. However, I do believe that the dark qualities of this title are used for the sake of being dark and hard to get through subject matters rather than actually presenting a message that will help out in any really meaningful way. Beyond that the game matches up with most of its visual novel counterpoints in the major areas of note and is a solid title overall. One that visual novel fans will want to give a look to for its systems alone, but again a serious warning to those sensitive to very dark subjects in the completion of the story.

Score: 7.5/10

Buy WILL: A Wonderful World from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

Buy WILL: A Wonderful World from Amazon here.

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*Review Code Provided by acttil

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