This title was reviewed on PlayStation 4, but is also available on Nintendo Switch, and coming soon to PC.
Visuals novels are a weird genre. They’re just digital enough to be counted as games, but don’t really have what someone would consider ‘gameplay’. I’ve dipped my toes into the genre a few times, experiencing some of its highs (Katawa Shoujo) and its worst lows (The Adventurous Four), so when I got Our World Is Ended to review, I was immediately intrigued. With it being a visual novel and lacking any gameplay, does the story carry it? Let’s have a look.
Right away, the visuals in Our World Is Ended are great. The game’s art is incredibly well done, whether it be the backgrounds or the designs of the characters. They’re done in an anime style, and are brilliant. They’re also quite varied too, with each of the characters looking different from each other, and each background being distinct and unique. There are also images for certain story events too, and they’re also really well done. Overall, Our World is Ended looks the part.
With it being a VN and not having any ‘gameplay’ in the traditional sense, the main aspect of Our World Is Ended is the story. The story is actually, for the most part, really good, especially early on. The concept is really interesting and well done; You play as Reiji, who works part-time at Judgement 7, a video game development studio. The boss and main programmer, Owari, is working on a new Augmented Reality headset. The whole idea of being in a video game dev studio is done quite well, and is interesting. It gives a (albeit probably not realistic) glimpse into game development, with some funny scenes like a one early on where you and your workmates have to go on a ‘subchan’ (an obvious merge of 4chan and reddit) to shamelessly promote your game.
Our World Is Ended isn’t just a VN about game development though, as during a test of the AR headset, it malfunctions, and you end up seeing a post-apocalyptic version of the city you’re in. That’s another thing this game does great; build tension. It doesn’t just go straight to a fight to save the world, it builds up beautifully. The prologue has the headset malfunctioning, while the next few chapters slowly add weird events, such as the team not being able to leave the city they’re in due to looping back to the opposite end of it, a weird monster appearing and chasing after them, or characters from their previous games bleeding into reality. Considering the game is actually quite long (17 chapters, a prologue and an epilogue), it’s great that the game builds up in this way. There’s also some room for decision making as well with the Selection of Soul system, where you select dialogue options that fly across the screen.
It’s not all great though. For one, a lot of the characters are simply unlikeable. Iruka, for instance, is your stereotypical edgy neckbeard, who constantly shouts randomly, talks absolute nonsense, and wears a fedora, and while he is called out about it in the story, that doesn’t make it funny. Natsumi is also unlikeable too, being the stereotypical goth shut-in, and is an absolute meanie. She constantly berates the main character and wants him to die, even after he saves her life in the second chapter.
Asano is also pretty annoying, ending any conversation with the male characters by punching them. Not all of the characters are bad though. Owari, while being a massive pervert, did get a few laughs out of me later on, and Yuno is quite likeable, even if she is the stereotypical schoolgirl. Not only that; but the prologue to the game nearly put me off it entirely. The game itself has plenty of perverted undertones, with the prologue constantly zooming in on characters’ breasts, comparing them, and it even had a moment where, as a ‘reward’, Owari used the AR headset to change every bit of scenery into pictures of women in bikinis. Considering how much I enjoyed the concept and build-up of the story, the unlikeable characters and perverted nature are really jarring in how they bring it down.
On the audio side, Our World Is Ended sounds great. Unlike other VNs I’ve played, the story is fully voice acted, and while I can’t speak Japanese, it sounded decent. The music steals the show though. It’s varied, fits in with the game well, and simply sounds great, especially the intro song.
Our World Is Ended is a decent visual novel. On the surface, it sounds and looks great, with gorgeous art and great music. The story as well is also great for the most part. I love the concept of being in a game development studio, and the build-up early on is phenomenal. However, it is heavily hampered by some really unlikeable characters and some really perverted undertones throughout. If you’re a fan of visuals novels and like a bit of perversion in your games though, you’ll find a great time here.