The World Next Door coming to Switch, PC, & Mac Mar. 28 | Announcement Trailer | VIZ
Who it Caters to
In an unprecedented leap of faith, VIZ Media and Rose City Games have come together to celebrate the world of gaming by creating their own unique puzzle adventure: The World Next Door. The company is generally known for acquiring major titles in the manga and anime realm for western fans to enjoy, but now VIZ is confident that The World Next Door will provide just as much excitement for everyone. That 80’s vibe is strong in this one, and it kind of reminds us of those classic films like The Goonies, especially with all of its vibrant colors and use of text. Anyone who’s looking for an adventure into a new world filled with clever puzzles, an emotional narrative, and very straightforward gameplay, then look no further than The World Next Door.
What to Expect
While The World Next Door is relatively short in comparison to other titles, it certainly is a sweet adventure that you’re sure to remember. The moment you’re thrown into the world of Emrys you feel this really strange yet relaxing sensation, as everyone you encounter throughout the game has their own story to tell. Some at first may not be so forthcoming, but as you come to work alongside them, you realize that judging someone simply by looks just doesn’t cut it. This brings us to an important aspect of The World Next Door as well, is its heavy emphasis on emotional bonding and friendships.
This game tackles a wide variety of things pertaining to human interactivity such as dealing with depression, love, loss, and overcoming adversity. It’s painted so vividly and in such a heartwarming manner that it makes playing through the game that much more satisfying. You star as Jun, a human who finds herself lost in a world that’s full of obscurity, and she must leave this mysterious world before it’s too late. Feeling trapped and alone, she reaches out to those around her and receives the help she needs, while also developing a strong lasting bond that helps her get through her rough patches. Jun must now use her newly acquired magical abilities to overcome what lies ahead, before the truth is revealed.
The World Next Door is an incredibly charming and visually pleasing game. From its unique character designs to the lush environments that you discover through traveling on the tram, this title is sure to allure those who pick it up. Every character represents in a way, a specific characteristic of a life element, such as an animal or even water. These attributes in a way reflect the character personality type as well; for example, Rainy tends to be quite wishy-washy in his ways, but much like rain he can wash away whatever uncertainties you have in your mind. Liza is more of the go-getter and wants to get things done, but her emotions tend to get the best of her at times, which leads to some unnecessary situations. Since every character is so finely tuned to feel unique in their own way, every relationship feels dynamic and genuine. From the way you communicate to just how everything seamlessly comes together through dialogue and visual flare, The World Next Door really shines in this area.
The music within the game is fitting and comes with its own charm, creating an adventure that feels childlike in a way. This of course goes back to our Goonies reference, especially since these group of rebellious teens find themselves on a crazy adventure, going through shrines to unlocking the key to Jun’s survival. Each dungeon you discover is filled with its own challenges but more so its own music. Every shrine has a theme, with the sound and music fitting that theme very well, giving players a true sense of immersion every time. The music isn’t groundbreaking by any means, but it’s simple yet effective tones really do help to create an exciting adventure especially when you’re locked in battle.
The World Next Door isn’t a very deep game but it does provide just enough stimulation that you feel satisfied after completing it. We did note earlier that the game is in fact quite short and can be cleared relatively quickly, especially if you’re adept with puzzles. Every shrine that you discover will have you and your chosen group of friends tackle unique puzzles that feel similar to other color-matching titles, and each color you match has a distinct attribute attached to it. So for example, orange typically represents fire-based attacks, while purple represents the darker aura-based attacks. You’ll need to be mindful of how each attack works because they do come with their strengths and weaknesses. The dark aura is an excellent tool to rack up big damage, but due to its very slow movement enemies can easily avoid it and counterattack if they’re in range.
However, this can be compensated by using the yellow blocks, which represent electricity. When the enemy steps onto these blocks as you activate it they stay in a stunned position for a short period of time, which lets you fire off other projectile-based attacks that are more likely to land since they can’t move. Being able to actively maneuver around the stage and effectively utilize each color can take some time, and you may die a couple times just to get the hang of it. Once you do, however, the game becomes relatively easy and you can breeze through every other shrine pretty quickly. It’s not too difficult but not too easy to the point where it becomes a bore to play, which is nice.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
The World Next Door certainly felt great to play, not just through the puzzles themselves but through the emotional bonds you created throughout the experience. Maybe this is our philosophical side coming through on this one, but it felt that every person you encountered left a certain piece of themselves with you toward the end. It’s almost as if you feel connected with each character and their traits, and are constantly reminded of how important having the right people around you can be. They say your vibe attracts your tribe, and throughout our playthrough we really felt that with Jun and her group of friends. Each character brought an energy that was entirely unique to them, and while some clashed at times, while others made us laugh, it gave us more reason to believe that we’re not meant to be the same in this world. Even when you travel to a world you’re unsure of, there are always people willing to guide you and support you in whatever it is you’re experiencing. We all need that type of support, and The World Next Door emphasizes that importance of togetherness and teamwork very succinctly.
A lot of time was put into the visual side of the game because it really pops.
Character diversity was the big plus, as it provided us with various perspectives and showed us the importance of friendship.
Puzzles were challenging enough to keep you immersed.
The environments were lush and full of vibrant colors.
Sadly, the game is relatively short and can be beaten in less than a day if you’re really invested.
Honey's Final Verdict:
In spite of its length, The World Next Door gives you something to remember for perhaps most of your life. It’s that you’re never alone in this world, even when you think there’s no one around to help. This game teaches us the importance of valuing others in spite of their differences and using everyone’s strengths to come together to create a brighter future ahead. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, as Lao Tzu said, and Jun’s journey certainly was fulfilled towards the end thanks to her willingness to take the first step in building great bonds.
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!