Like any other person, there are pieces of media I enjoy and then there’s the coveted creation that takes a spot on the throne of favorites. For me, there have been several wonderful games released for the Nintendo DS / 3DS systems that I have grown to adore.
Some of the best games would be “Pokemon Sun & Moon” (along with Ultra Sun & Moon), “Animal Crossing: New Leaf,” “Kirby: Superstar Saga,” “Drawn to Life,” “Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon” (specifically Explorers of Time) and plenty of others.
However, as much as I adore all of these titles, there’s one game that tops every single one of them. That game, the one that claims the throne as not only my favorite DS game of all time, but as one of my top favorite video games period, is “The World Ends with You” from Square Enix.
When I ask fans of the “Final Fantasy” or “Kingdom Hearts” series if they’ve heard of this game period, it usually winds up being a response of ‘no’. It’s a hidden gem, stuffed away behind several other video games released by Square Enix over the years. The game is actually approaching its ten year anniversary for its American release in April!
The basic plot is that Neku Sakuraba, an antisocial teenager, is thrown into something called the “Reaper’s Game.” He has one week to survive and complete the tasks set out by the aforementioned Reapers, before he is erased.
On the journey he meets several other players and, overtime, slowly starts to come out of his self-isolation as the days pass.
What makes this game special is the style: the graphics, soundtrack, combat system and story all hold such unique aspects that it’s hard to pinpoint my favorite part. The graphics are stylized in a pleasing manner and, once I played the game, I could recognize a reference to itin fanart without even looking at a caption.
The soundtrack mixes hip-hop, rock, and electronica to open up this fictionalized version of the real city Shibuya, to those that have never been to the city before.
To me, however, the part that recaptures me constantly is the cast of characters. They’re colorful and expressive, and show off distinct personalities. You could describe any one of them as cryptically as possible, and I could still name the character you’re talking about.
From Neku to the supporting cast, to the villains of the story, there are bonds and personalities that spring up like wildflowers and instantly catch the eye of players.
My favorite is actually the first person Neku meets in the game, a girl named Shiki Misaki. Spunky and a bit anxious, she’s a fashionista that carries around her prized stuffed animal that she uses as a weapon during the game.
All in all, “The World Ends with You” gets a big recommendation from me. It has been my favorite for several years, and nothing has come close to topping it.
If hunting down the DS game is too hard or expensive, a new version called “The World Ends with You: Final Remix” is coming out at some point this year for the Nintendo Switch!