NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review

Reapers' Game? A -200 out of 10!

  • System: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: h.a.n.d.
  • Release Date: July 27, 2021

NEO: The World Ends with You | Final Trailer

Who it Caters to

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
Needless to say, NEO: The World Ends with You caters to all those fans of the first game that have been waiting for a sequel for 14 years, but they won't be the only ones to enjoy it. Honestly, it's a brand new story that works fine as a standalone adventure, although the second portion of the game is full of references to the first TWEWY—and part of the cast are returning characters we won't spoil. Also, this is a very Japanese game, so skip it if you don't like shounen anime mechanics and scripted gameplay giving you the illusion of freedom.

What to Expect

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
Even though the combat is technically a combination of real-time strategy and RPG, NEO: The World Ends with You feels more like an edgy visual novel. There's a strong emphasis on the narrative and lots of cool things surrounding the characters, but the gameplay lacks consistency. Freedom is another thing NEO lacks, and that aspect surely hurts the overall experience.

TWEWY has never been a game for everyone, and NEO follows the same rules. If you loved the first one, then you're going to love this one too; new players, however, may need more time to actually understand it... if at all.


neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
Do you know who Tetsuya Nomura is? He's a well-known designer and one of the masterminds behind some of Square Enix's most famous and infamous characters, in games like Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy. With that in mind, you should have an idea of what to expect when playing The World Ends with You or this sequel. Love it or hate it, you can't ignore how these characters look and dress!

The vibrant colors and comic-book style art totally fit the game's concept, and the fully animated cutscenes are gorgeous—more so if you're playing on a PlayStation console, of course. It's a shame that loading screens make moving from one end of Shibuya to the other so painful, or that these streets are full of details you rarely can interact with and people with no other use than to emulate a crowded day in Tokyo's liveliest, trendiest, and most famous shopping district.

Sound, Music

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
NEO: The World Ends with You comes with an exquisite soundtrack, a perfect mix of Japanese pop-rock and electronic punk. Regardless if you enjoy the game or not, NEO is jam-packed with bops, so we truly recommend you to check it out if you are a fan of this kind of music! In fact, buying songs in-game is not only easy but cheap, so you're pretty much encouraged to explore the OST fully. On top of that, these tracks include English lyrics, so it's easy to sing along!

While the Japanese voice acting sounds nice, we can't say the same about the English version of it. The thing is, the English localization suffers from the abuse of slang and teen culture references, so the dialogues—even subtitled—end up being too cringey. Maybe you can get used to it, but that certainly wasn't our case...


neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
Starring Rindo Kanade and Tosai "Fret" Furesawa, NEO: The World Ends with You takes us to a new Reapers' Game. Apparently, both friends are now dead and forced to play a competitive game against other teams in an alternate version of Shibuya infested with monsters. These creatures, called Noise, can be fought with strange collectible pins that grant the owner unique skills, but they are hardly the most dangerous characters in this scheme.

At first, it looks like NEO really takes the time to explain the basics to newcomers, but the more it tries to explain, the more it all doesn't make sense. What is this "game" and why is it so important? What happens to those that end up in the last place? Who are behind the Reapers' Game, and what are their true intentions? Oh, and what's with all these characters acting so suspiciously?

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
One of your objectives in this game is to collect and level up as many pins as you can. Each of them will give your team members a unique skill associated with one of your buttons. At first, you can only control 3 characters (buttons X, Y, and R), but it gets to a point where you can control 6 people at once (X, Y, L, R, ZL, and ZR). Some pins can evolve into stronger ones, and most of them have an elemental affinity. It's an interesting mechanic on paper, but, in reality, it's dull and repetitive. Plus, there's only so much you can do in the first half of the game other than simply equipping your pins with the higher attack rate. Sadly, you won't feel a difference between strategic combos and mashing random buttons until you win.

Since monsters don't appear until you switch to this alternate Shibuya, most battles are optional. Not only can you see where the Noise are, but you can also run past them and avoid unnecessary fights. On the other hand, chaining fights will give you more Reduction levels and improve your drop rates. You can also lower your player level and increase the difficulty at any point for better drop rates at the cost of reduced HP and harder foes. Still, combat is nothing but a tiny part of NEO: The World Ends with You—and not even the best one.

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
NEO is all about its dark, convoluted plot. With every new character that's introduced and every new day of competition, you'll start asking yourself more and more questions... but you hardly get any answers until you're 10 hours into the game. It toys you with the idea of freedom and outperforming the rest of the teams, but everything is scripted; you just need to go with the flow.

If there's something to hate about this game is how it never lets you skip its long, sometimes unnecessary dialogues. Even when you replay a chapter, you can only fast-forward it. Another thing that messes with the game's flow is how every time you move to a different street, you're forced to wait a few seconds because of loading screens.

The third ingredient of NEO: TWEWY is the questing system. There are quizzes, minigames, combat-based sidequests... a little bit of everything, but there's so much hand-holding you can barely enjoy it. Every character has a supernatural ability that will help you solve problems, for example. Sadly, the game always tells you what to do and when to do it. Rindo can travel through time and imprint memories in people's minds, Fret can help people remember things, and Nagi can dive into people's minds to fight their inner demons, for example. In-game, it's not as cool as it sounds; all you need to do is walk around looking for people with red thought bubbles and press X when standing next to them to trigger a minigame, a fight, or a conversation scene where they explain everything like you're 5. NEO: The World Ends with You may be a mystery game about death and other dark themes, but you never feel the pressure, and it all looks like a kids' video game with an edgy plot about cool teens.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review
Hardcore fans of TWEWY and Square Enix's anime games will love NEO, but we could list a dozen of reasons why it barely appeals to newcomers. It's a 60-hour long adventure that puts too much on your plate with the promise of explaining everything once it's too late to stop playing it, but it still works if you're here for the story. While it could be enjoyed as a standalone adventure, playing the first game beforehand will help everything make sense—otherwise, you will hardly care about returning characters and other plot twists.

Honey's Pros:

  • After waiting 14 years for it, TWEWY fans should be happy about NEO's tone and plot.
  • Amazing character design!

Honey's Cons:

  • Too many gameplay interruptions. Lots of loading times or unnecessary, cringeworthy dialog scenes you can't skip.
  • Some people will definitely find the combat mechanics dull.

Honey's Final Verdict:

NEO: The World Ends with You is already available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch, but it will also be available on PC at some point (via Epic Games). Give it a try and be part of this fantastic yet dark adventure!
neo_twewy_splash NEO: The World Ends with You - Nintendo Switch Review


Author: Rod Locksley

Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...

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