The World Ends with You
The World Ends with You, known in Japan as It’s a Wonderful World (すばらしきこのせかい Subarashiki Kono Sekai?), is an action role-playing game with urban fantasy elements developed by Square Enix‘s Kingdom Hearts team and Jupiter for the Nintendo DS handheld console. Set in the modern-day Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, The World Ends with You features a distinctive art style inspired by Shibuya and its youth culture. Development was inspired by elements of Jupiter’s previous game, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. It was released in Japan in July 2007, and in PAL regions and North America on April 22, 2008. An enhanced version for iOS devices, titled The World Ends With You -Solo Remix-, was released in August 2012 (pulled in February 2015 due to incompatibility with iOS 8; restored in June 2015) and for Android devices in June 2014. A social network spin-off game titled The World Ends With You -Live Remix- was released in May 2013 for Japan’s Android and iOS Stores developed by Square Enix in collaboration with GREE. The spinoff was shut down in February 2014 due to an increasing lack of interest.
In the game, Neku Sakuraba and his allies are forced to participate in a game that will determine their fate. The battle system uses many of the unique features of the Nintendo DS, including combat that takes place on both screens, and attacks performed by certain motions on the touchscreen or by shouting into the microphone. Elements of Japanese youth culture, such as fashion, food, and cell phones, are key aspects of the missions.
The World Ends with You received positive reviews, which praised the graphics, soundtrack, and integration of gameplay into the Shibuya setting. The few common complaints were related to the steep learning curve of the battle system as well as the imprecise touch-screen controls. In the week of its release, the game was the second best-selling DS title in Japan, and the top selling DS title in North America. Shiro Amano, writer and artist of the Kingdom Hearts manga, later created a manga based on the video game.