The World Ends With You: Solo Remix review (iOS)
Square Enix is facing a bit of a dilemma right now when it comes to their games being on the App Store. On the one hand, they're definitely delivering on fan demand, with such classics as the Final Fantasy games and Secret of Mana easily ready for download. On the other, however, you've got the price, as they're more of a "premium" delivery service, with their cheapest games going for around $12, and the higher-ups priced at $20. Considering most games linger around $5 at most, this might be an atrocity to some.
Regardless, there are some games that deliver the utmost quality needed to justify that price, and, strangely enough, the latest release from the company proves that without any sort of hesitation. The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is one of the most compelling gameplay experiences on the iPad 2/iPhone 4 front to date, and it also backs up the action with a mesmerizing presentation that's just as good -- if not better -- than the 2008 Nintendo DS game it's originally based on. Price, shmice -- this is mobile gaming at its best.
The plot is very similar to what the original TWEWY offered. You're a punk kid who just wants to be left the hell alone, ignoring anyone within the outside world to dwell in his own. He soon regrets that mistake, however, when the "Reapers" show up, threatening to wipe out his existence -- and that of his friends -- with the activation of a specific coin. Left with no choice, the kid finds himself fighting back against the number of strange "noise" creatures that appear, with the help of some equally stylish allies that refuse to go quietly.
It sounds like nonsense, but Square Enix has succeeded in creating a wholly original universe with The World Ends With You, something fans have been demanding for a long time, away from familiar franchises. The combat style has been tweaked a bit, since the iPad 2 only uses one screen compared to the two that the DS enabled. But it's moderately balanced, with the ability to call upon allies to strike and plenty of swipe capabilities to keep yourself in play. What's more, if it gets too hot under the collar, you can attempt to bolt from the fight scene and live another day -- though the "Reapers" will still be around to some extent.
Through the use of pins, you can set up new abilities that prove worthwhile in your combat techniques, and you'll also earn various bonuses to spread between yourself and your party. The smaller enemies are a blast to defeat, but larger boss enemies require a bit of strategy. Fortunately, there's enough variety in your pin set and earnable items to give you a fighting chance. It's really that good, and the depth of battles really goes ballistic over the course of the game. Best learn what pins work for you, and quick.
Backing up the exquisite gameplay is a presentation that does the iPad proud. Even though the game doesn't fully support the Retina Display, it still comes across as dazzling, thanks to the unique Japanese anime-style art design and the beautiful stage set-up. It's just as breathtaking here as it was on the DS, and perhaps even more so on the bigger screen. The cinemas are also fun to watch too, though you can't skip them.
As for the music, it's the same as the DS version, and still excellent. Listening to this crazy mix of soundtrack never gets old, and the character voices actually fit the characters to a T, rather than becoming annoying over time. They actually involve you more with each member of your party, rather than alienating you. Bravo.
The World Ends With You: Solo Remix goes for a staggering $17.99 on iPhone (4 and above), and two bucks more on the iPad 2. (Sorry, original iPad users, you're out of luck here.) But the value of the game is immense, both in the display and gameplay fronts, and if you enjoy RPG's with a certain magnitude, you won't get enough of this one. Overpriced as it may be, The World Ends With You is worth every penny. Get it and teach those damn Reapers a lesson.