Review – World’s End Club

I thought I knew what to expect from your average NIS America-published game. I usually expect for high-quality JRPGs made on a nearly jurassic game engine, such as the Ys and Trails games, or their own games like Disgaea. What I wasn’t expecting from them, however, was a post-apocalypic puzzle platformer clearly inspired by The Last of Us, Bioshock, and even the Saw movie franchise. Yes, World’s End Club is a weird beast, and it knocks it out of the park with its setting and premise. Not so much with its gameplay, though…

World's End Club Art Style

World’s End Club features one of the most unique art styles in any anime-based game out there.

World’s End Club starts off in a very intense and bizarre way. A group of Japanese high school students is abducted from its school bus during a fieldtrip. Then they’re forced to partake in a Saw-esque free-for-all game set in an underwater theme park, eerily reminiscent of Bioshock‘s Rapture by a Pierrot-esque entity. This is only an initially semi-unrelated prologue, by the way, as the kids soon find themselves in a post-apocalyptic Kagoshima Island, nearly a thousand miles away from their hometown of Tokyo, with a bunch of abandoned buildings and not a single person in sight. It’s their task to do a road trip of sorts in post-apocalyptic Japan in order to get home and figure out what the hell is happening.

You control your typical mute protagonist called Reycho, who has the special power of throwing heavy objects with ease, but you will eventually unlock special abilities for each of the kids in the group. This is where World’s End Club‘s gameplay shines the brightest: these puzzle sections involving the kids’ abilities are far from complicated, but they are creative enough to make you look past these shortcomings. Learning about each of the characters’ personalities in depth, thanks to the strong storytelling, was also one of my main highlights, as they were all varied and somewhat relatable. Sadly, while the game is conceptually creative, its controls aren’t good at all.

World's End Club Dog

This adorable little mutt is one of the very first enemies you’ll meet in the game.

The problem with World’s End Club‘s controls is due to the insane amount of input delay whenever you jump, something possibly inherited from the fact the game tries its hardest to be a “cinematic platformer” like Oddworld, or at least back when Oddworld games didn’t have good controls. The jumping is wonky as well, and the framerate depends on the amount of characters and background assets onscreen. It can range from a stable 30 to much, much less, depending on the situation. For the most part I was able to put up with the input delay, but being killed by a killer flower or falling down a pit to an automatic Game Over for something that wasn’t my fault was infuriating, to say the least.


“I chose…. Rapture…”

It’s a shame, because World’s End Club features such a nice premise and some excellent production values. Its character designs are different from pretty much any other anime-based game I’ve ever played. Plus, even though this is technically a post-apocalyptic survival game, its color palette is bright and colorful. Its voice acting is excellent (and in English, nonetheless), and its soundtrack isn’t bad either. It all boils down to how long you can actually put up with its puzzles, uneven framerate, and bad controls in order to actually enjoy its engaging story.


Graphics: 8.0

Even though it suffers from a few framerate hiccups here and there, World’s End Club‘s graphics are pretty decent, considering the Switch’s hardware. I really liked its art style, which was a lot different from most anime-based games out there.

Gameplay: 6.0

The (simple) puzzles you need to solve are thoughtful and kind of fun. The platforming, on the other hand, is as clunky as the clunkiest of “cinematic platformers”.

Sound: 8.5

The soundtrack is good, albeit a bit unremarkable at times. The voice acting, on the other hand, ended up being way better than it had any right to be, and it’s all in English.

Fun Factor: 6.5

World’s End Club features an amazing story and great characters, and almost make up for how clunky its overall gameplay is.

Final Verdict: 7.0

World’s End Club is available now on Switch and Apple Arcade.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of World’s End Club was provided by the publisher.