A few years ago I discovered very pleasantly what a good visual novel can satisfy me. I have to admit that for some unknown reason, possibly unfounded prejudice, I had a certain disapproval of it. But for some time now I’ve really enjoyed these kind of suggestions as long as they provide a good narrative. I play and read at the same time What more do I want?
Why am I telling you all this? Because some time ago I came across World’s End Club, a title that had already gone through mobile devices and is coming to Switch. A game with a striking aesthetic that is behind Kazutaka Kodaka and Kotaro Uchikoshi, the screenwriters of Danganronpa. Why haven’t we heard so much about this proposal?
Can you imagine going on a field trip with the school and a meteorite causing the end of the world? Well, something similar happens at the World’s End Club. We are in 1995 and the Club de la Buena Estrella, a club where we meet colleagues with whom we share hobbies, decides to take a trip. But what should be a full day of enjoyment turns into a nightmare when we wake up in some kind of abandoned underwater amusement park. We don’t know how we got there or why we all wear a bracelet on our wrist. However, these doubts are quickly removed when we meet Pielope, a curious figure in the form of a gloomy doll who has prepared a macabre game for us. At this moment our adventure begins with a survival game in which only one of us can stay alive.
From here I will not go into detail in order not to spoil the surprise, I can assume that this is a title full of unexpected twists and turns and that this beginning has nothing to do with the development of the following story. This first game is just an excuse to start the adventure since what follows is a story in a desolate Japan and that we have to go through to find out what happened. And it is precisely in this search for answers that we will immerse ourselves in a story that will allow us to get to know their characters, all of whom are very different but too stereotypical for my taste: we will have the geek, the bad guy, the glutton, that Girl shy …
But this group of young people is special as they will develop special powers as history progresses. Powers like throwing objects or spitting fire that we can use on the platforms that they propose to us. Because yes, it is a new kind of visual, but it has set itself the goal of mixing varied action either in the form of platforms, puzzles or simple battles so that they can show the forces that have awakened in the protagonists. Shame that what a bet could have been to enrich the title is exactly what weighs it down. Platforms and puzzles that are not challenging due to their simplicity and with a control that does not help either, which will lead to unjust deaths. The same goes for collectibles. And it is so that most of us not only look for the different levels, but find them and encounter them on our own path. As I said, an attempt to add something that adds variety to the plot but doesn’t add anything to the plot, it just hampers the narrative by taking you out of the story they propose, although luckily it doesn’t last very long.
Another point that made me a little bored was the campsites where we can rest but serve as an excuse to talk to all the characters to get to know them better and even learn more details of the story for ourselves. The same thing happened to me in a few moments of the narrative where, instead of creating a sandwich together, when all the characters want to agree, for example, they created them one after the other so that this statement is individual. Small details that reduce immersion.
But let’s go back to this post-apocalyptic world that remained after that strange meteorite fell and the story behind it. A story that can be lived in different ways depending on our choices and even leads us to separate from the group. A barren world where strange creatures have appeared.
And it is precisely that decision making and the various endings that will lead us to what I want to talk about now. World’s End Club gives us two final options, but only one would be a good one. I say this because the “bad” ending is an ending that cuts the story abruptly, with all the questions going unanswered and the whole story feeling unfinished. In the end, you feel a mixture of frustration, loss of time and confusion. Hence, it is necessary to retrace our steps to solve all the puzzles and complete the true ending. And that’s something I really don’t understand. The possibility of having multiple endings is available in many games, some endings can make you happier than others, but here the “bad” ending has no reason to. If someone is left alone with this ending they will have a very negative taste of the game that they don’t deserve, so it would have been better to ditch it. Not only because what I mentioned left so many questions unanswered, but because certain scenes have to be repeated all over again to get to the happy ending.
This trip takes us to visit all of Japan, because although we left Tokyo, the strange event takes us to the other end of the island. A journey that enables us to move realistically on the map. Because something that shines in this title is the visual part. Characters with a Manga aesthetic and significant care in their design, with a colorful and striking art despite the somber context of the landscape and with simple settings but with the necessary details to represent each travel destination. And accompanied by a soundtrack that, depending on the occasion, intensifies moments of tension or sadness.
A game that, despite its negative points, offers a good experience. The narrative and story are well worth enjoying as it goes deeper than it seems and moves away from what it initially implies (don’t expect another danganropa). Sometimes predictable and sometimes surprising. Too bad the combat system and forced puzzles that are out of tune with the story distort the strength of this title: enjoy its narrative and art where it really shines and what really encourages you to keep playing it. Moreover, this should be noted and appreciated in this type of offer that comes with the text translated into Spanish.
World’s End Club is a story about friendship, how to learn to trust friends and understand the true power of that bond. Would you like to join the Good Star Club?