Do you like Shibuya? Do you like RPGs set in Shibuya? Are you willing to accept "urban fantasy" as, if not a genre, then at least a milieu?
20th April 2012
16th December 2011
21st September 2011
24th April 2008
I might never have got into the stranger's taxi if it weren't for video games. It was September and, earlier that evening, I'd met a journalist friend who lives in Japan for a catch-up drink. He took me to a themed Irish pub just off Shibuya crossing, the sort of establishment you'd never darken in Spain, but which, when transported to Tokyo, is transformed from blight to curio. The place didn't disappoint. Everything was slightly off: We drank pints of Guinness, each one laced with a shot of red wine. American sports blared on the overhead TVs. Most implausibly of all, one tidy queue trailed up to the bar: Dublin through a glass darkly. We caught up. Finally, we said goodnight. It was still early, the Autumn air muggy and electric. I muffled my ears with headphones and began to walk around Shibuya. And then I met Brad.
Square Enix's cult classic modern RPG The World Ends With You has returned to the iOS App Store after a four month absence.
The World Ends with You: Solo Remix - the mobile port of Square-Enix's quirky, futuristic DS action-RPG from 2008 - has finally launched on Android.
Quirky Japanese role-playing game The World Ends With You launches on iOS this year, Square Enix has revealed.
Shooter. Racer. Fighter. Platformer. Farming simulator. Games, the grand majority of the time, are about actions. We run and jump and kill and collect. We conquer entire worlds - sometimes in the span of an afternoon - with their wondrous works of architecture and natural beauty flying by in a blur of blood, guts and glittering prizes.
Cult DS adventure The World Ends With You could soon be getting some kind of follow-up, judging by a tease from co-creator Tetsuya Nomura.
Speaking in an interview with Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, as translated by Andriasang, Nomura cryptically pointed out that publisher Square-Enix decided to add voice acting to lead character Raimu for her cameo in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance "out of consideration of the future of The World Ends With You series."
When asked what he had planned for the franchise in the future, Nomura replied, "Regarding The World Ends With You, I can't say anything at present... (laughs). But there probably is something."
Tongue-twistingly named Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance will include characters from fellow Square Enix role-player The World Ends With You.
Dream Drop Distance, the latest RPG in the Disney and Square Enix mashup series, features DS The World Ends With You heroes Joshua and Beat, according to Japanese magazine V-Jump.
The game also boasts a world based on the Three Musketeers.
Kingdom Hearts main man Tetsuya Nomura has hinted at a sequel to cult classic 2008 Nintendo DS game The World Ends With You.
Neku, the main character from the quirky role-playing game, makes a cameo appearance in the Tokyo Game Show trailer for Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, and Nomura told Japanese magazine Famitsu (via Andriasang) something TWEWY related is being worked on.
Nomura added that Neku's appearance could be taken as notice of something to come, but he didn't use the word "sequel".
I'll be the first to admit that games reviewers can easily become jaded, brave martyrs that we are. Playing so many games does mean that the uninspired offerings need to work harder to make an impression, while games that innovate become glittering gems to be treasured. And, sometimes, the elements that jump out of the mire aren't always the first priority of the everyday gamer. The end result is that any game that arrives on the crest of a hyperbolic wave, festooned with praise for its fancy new ideas, can make you - the common peasants who have to pay for your games - suspicious of anything heralded for its fresh thinking.
The World Ends With You could certainly fall into that trap. Released last summer in Japan as Subarashiki Kono Sekai (or "It's A Wonderful World"), it's since been praised to the high heavens for the way it reinvents the RPG, making use of the DS and its unique properties in ways that make even the most hardened hack sit up and pay attention.
Of course, I'm using RPG as a sort of catch-all description, since the game flits between genres like a hummingbird, slurping up delicious nectar from fighting games, adventure games, even social management games like The Sims. Such eclecticism alone would be impressive, yet what makes The World Ends With You so surprising - and often so oblique - is that almost every element of the game is delivered in a way you've not seen before, and then proceeds to offer even more depth beyond those daunting first impressions. It's a dizzying experience.
Square Enix has announced plans to release The World Ends With You in Europe on 18th April.
It's hard to think back to a time when the all-consuming success of Nintendo's DS was in any doubt. But, as with so many new and different things, videogame consumers at first struggled to put their faith in what appeared to be an unfocused hotchpotch of whimsical design ideas.
Shibuya, arguably Tokyo's most iconic futuristic geography, fizzes with neon hairdos and mini-skirt vitality. With its distinctive train station and the interminably busy Scramble Crossing, it's a location that has played host to videogames before. But while Jet Set Radio picked these broad streets as much for the gameplay-facilitating multi-tiered architecture as anything else, Square-Enix's forthcoming DS action RPG, Subarashiki Kono Sekai is out to jump on its carefree joie-de-vivre.