I have always had a place in my heart for visual novels. I love the artwork, the stories and engaging with the various characters. The latest visual novel to pique my interest is World End Syndrome, a mix between murder, mystery and romance. While the game is far from perfect, it was an enjoyable experience that I am glad I took a chance with.
The first thing you will notice about World End Syndrome is the gorgeous artwork. The game is beautifully illustrated, and really catches the eye. This is thanks to illustrator Yuki Kato, who also worked on the BlazBlue series. World End Syndrome's five female interests look beautiful, and all have have great character designs. The title's side-cast also feature excellent designs, too. They all have their own style, and stand out from one another. Traits such as Saya's blonde hair or Hanako's crazy-looking glasses help make each character look unique.
The backgrounds are also nicely done, giving the game a pleasing aesthetic. World End Syndrome is one of the better looking visual novels that I have played, with great artwork that kept me drawn in the entire time. There are a number of places to visit throughout your playthrough of World End Syndrome, with each location being well-illustrated. This is a great plus, as each location will be visited a number of times as you play through the game. Much of the time spent playing World End Syndrome has gamers roaming around Mihate Town. As the town is explored, players will interact with the game's mixed cast, and will see a number of events that help progress the story and give insight on the characters that players run into.
Art aside, I enjoyed interacting with the characters, and getting to learn all of their individual quirks and habits. Entertaining and interesting characters are incredibly important for any visual novel, and I feel that World End Syndrome did a great job in that department. The five main female characters are all entertaining. I especially loved getting to know Maimi and Hanako, who were my favorites out of the five.
It was also nice interacting with the other minor characters that you come across through the game's story, who also have their own interesting personalities. Along with the artwork, the characters were definitely the highlight of World End Syndrome, and one of the reasons that gamers will want to get through all of the game's endings.
As much as I loved interacting with World End Syndrome's characters, the music was not as enjoyable. There is no background music when traversing through your days. The only noise was the clicking of my Joy-Con. It is when you enter special scenes that there is sound. Aside from the forgettable background music, World End Syndrome does feature voice acting. While I did like the character designs and their personalities, their voices were not as memorable. The voice-overs are not as distinct and do not stand out from character to character.
Being a visual novel, World End Syndrome puts a lot of emphasis on its story. The story involves the game's protagonist moving into Mihate Town, where it is said that the dead in the form of the Yomibito rise every 100 years. When they rise, they wreak havoc, and murder members of town. The year that the protagonist moves into the quiet little town is the year that this is supposed to happen. There are several different endings to the game, with them all tying into each other. As the endings are accomplished, little extra bits of the story are revealed, encouraging gamers to play the game multiple times in order to see everything.
The story to World End Syndrome does move a little slow. It takes place over the protagonist's summer break from school, giving him time to check out the town. As various locations are visited throughout his day, little bits of information and plot are given. Much of World End Syndrome's time will be spent with the five female leads as the player grows closer to them, and eventually forms romantic relationships with them. Some days, however, will go by uneventful. Though it is slow, the story does keep pulling you in little by little, keeping you interested enough to go on playing. Figuring out the mystery of the Yomibito, as well as what is really going on Mihate Town, is enough to keep the player progressing.
World End Syndrome is a great experience for anyone who enjoys visual novels, and one that I recommend. It has mystery, romance, and a bit of murder. The game is beautifully drawn, and gives players incentive to give it a few rounds in order to uncover the secrets of Mihate Town. It is a great title for anyone who enjoys visual novels, or for someone who wants to see what the genre is all about.
Mike reviewed World End Syndrome on the Nintendo Switch with a copy he purchased.