Review – Digimon World: Next Order (Switch)

Speaking as someone who grew up with nostalgic feelings towards the Digimon World franchise, even though I knew they weren’t exactly good games, I must ask to my fellow Digimon fans: is there a singular staple title in that particular subseries? One you think about it and tell yourself, “this is what Digimon World is all about”? I ask this because the franchise’s name feels less like a cohesive series and more like a catch-all term, with games ranging from dungeon crawlers to Gauntlet clones, and the RPG series that would eventually evolve into Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, that magnum opus of a game. My second question: did people actually grow up liking the original, and clunky as all hell Digimon World to the point of feeling nostalgic towards it? I ask this because this is the only reason I can see for Digimon World: Next Order to even exist.

Digimon World: Next Order Jijimon

This fella was in the original Digimon World. His voice sounds like an old man drenched in whisky.

Originally released for PS Vita and PS4, and now available on Nintendo Switch, Digimon World: Next Order is possibly the first and only Digimon World game that is actually based on a previous Digimon World gameplay loop and design: the first game. That… wasn’t the best choice. The original Digimon World was developed before the anime took off, when the franchise was still based on Tamagotchis. As a result, it was basically a Tamagotchi game, with you being tasked with slowly raising a little Fresh-leveled monster by feeding it, cleaning its poop, and so on, up until it was powerful enough to actually fight against other monsters. It was really slow, and it probably sold as well as it did because it was the first Digimon game available on the PS1. And Digimon World: Next Order is basically that, but beefier.

In this case, beefier doesn’t mean better. It means “bloated”. Digimon World: Next Order takes the monster breeding aspect of the original Digimon World, adds an open world, a new combat system, a mildly interesting story, and a lot of pointless filler. That filler comes in the shape of grinding nonsensically in order to actually progress with the story. Digimon World: Next Order is really confusing in this regard. You can mop the floor with Level 1 enemies and proceed to be mauled alive by a Level 2 for in the same open area, for instance. You will have to constantly put your pets in an actual gym in order to slowly improve their stats in order to proceed with the plot.

Digimon World: Next Order Jyarimon Evolution

Boy, you’re going to attend the gym more often than a CrossFit dudebro.

The combat mechanics aren’t exciting, either. In a way, you are just “suggesting” your Digimon to do the occasional special attack, as they will basically attack on their own. It gives the game a bizarre “expectator” vibe, as if you’re not really an important part of the action. Almost as if you’re playing a Digimon version of Football Manager: you set up the team, suggest tactics, but the players themselves are the ones doing the dirty work. Coming from the pristine Shin Megami Tensei-esque combat from Cyber Sleuth, this was massively disappointing.

Even more disappointing when you take into consideration that Digimon World: Next Order actually features some pretty good presentation standards. For starters, it actually has localized voice acting. Sure, it’s not particularly amazing, but the fact it has such feature is already impressive, considering that Cyber Sleuth didn’t. And the visuals aren’t bad either, reusing a lot of Cyber Sleuth assets, sure, but with a more stable framerate. It has the technical foundations of a good game. Sadly, one hampered by really boring gameplay.

Digimon World: Next Order Plot

An anime game, so of course there’s something about the power of friendship or whatever.

If you love Digimon and want to play some great Digimon games, don’t worry: between Cyber Sleuth and Survive, you have more than enough content to satiate your needs on the Switch. Digimon World: Next Order is nowhere near as good, fun, engaging or memorable as these other titles. Sure, it might be a love letter to a PS1 classic (?), but there’s a reason as to why not a single other Digimon World besides that first game had Tamagotchi-based gameplay, it just wasn’t fun. Digimon World: Next Order isn’t fun either. A grindy, monotonous patience test, just ignore this one. Even if the fact you can make your monsters poop sounds too enticing to be ignored.


Graphics: 8.0

Not unlike the visuals from Cyber Sleuth, albeit with less interesting backgrounds. On the other hand, the framerate is more solid.

Gameplay: 4.0

Grindy, confusing, and not at all intuitive. Evolving your Digimon is nowhere near as fun, interesting or addictive as it was in Cyber Sleuth. The battling system is also pointless.

Sound: 7.0

A surprising amount of localized voice acting, something which was absent from the Cyber Sleuth games. It’s not particularly memorable, but I appreciate the inclusion. The music is just average.

Fun Factor: 4.5

You need to be a fan of the original Digimon World to really enjoy Digimon World: Next Order. It’s a tedious grind before it actually becomes interesting. Even if the story is alright, the journey itself isn’t worth the hassle.

Final Verdict: 5.5

Digimon World: Next Order is available now on PS4, PS Vita, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Digimon World: Next Order was provided by the publisher.