'NEO: The World Ends With You' review: 2021’s most stylish video game (2023)

The most visually distinctive video games often aren’t the ones with the biggest budgets.

Each new generation of gaming hardware has inched tantalizingly closer to photographic realism, with expansive landscapes, remarkably expressive faces, and staggering setpieces. AAA games are often big and bold. But eventually, they begin to run together in a Marvel movie kind of way. They’re pretty, sure, but somehow bland too. NEO: The World Ends With You strives for something cozier, with a more handmade feel that’s altogether different.

At its core, NEO: TWEWY is a game about style, centered in the kaleidoscopic heart of Tokyo’s street fashion scene. While elements of Square Enix’s latest will invite comparisons to Persona, The Hunger Games, or Kingdom Hearts, there’s no other game quite like it. At every turn, its immersive story and unexpectedly deep combat eagerly invite you to let your freak flag fly.

Weaving a plot

The sequel to a cult-hit 2007 Nintendo DS game, NEO: TWEWY captivates as a standalone story but offers plenty of shout-outs and connections to satisfy longtime series fans. Like its predecessor, the game plonks you in the shoes of an unwitting teen participant in the Reaper’s Game — a week-long gauntlet of challenges that include defeating hordes of enemies known as Noise and solving a variety of puzzles orchestrated by the Reapers, a group of cooler-than-thou twentysomethings tasked with overseeing the game for mysterious reasons.

There’s just one big problem — it’s not totally clear if the players are dead or alive, and in order to avoid being “erased,” you’ll have to win the game. It’s a team competition, so as protagonist Rindo, you’ll need to find some allies. Accompanied by his chipper bestie Fret, an oddball otaku girl named Nagi, and the former Reaper Minamimoto, Rindo’s tasked with leading the Wicked Twisters to victory over the long-dominant Ruinbringers.

The relationships between the Twisters are as “realistic” as the fantastical scenario can allow, and it’s consistently compelling to watch them alternately grow closer and butt heads. While there are a few too many secondary characters to keep track of, the story consistently keeps its hooks in you, thanks to the intimacy of the core group and the tight focus on Reaper’s Game. You’ll be eager to see what happens next, but you won’t be totally lost if you step away for a few days.

(Video) NEO: The World Ends With You Review - The Final Verdict

A deadly game

NEO: TWEWY serves up a satisfying variety of mission types for each day of the Reaper’s Game. One day, you’ll have to find a series of clues spread across multiple neighborhoods to solve a mystery. On another, you’ll play a high-stakes game of capture the flag with the other teams, or have to defeat hordes of Noise in order to satisfy the demands of the villains behind the game. The game does an admirable job of alternating between short and long missions, keeping things varied while also bringing out more challenging iterations of familiar challenges to create a satisfying feeling of progress.

The streamlined combat prioritizes rapid-fire action while still leaving room to develop your own unique strategies and playstyle. Your party members acquire new abilities by wearing pins, each of which is assigned to a particular button. Since any character can equip any pin, you can essentially change their role on the team whenever you choose. While you’ll only be able to use four kinds of skills in battle at any given time, that also means no one’s locked into the role of healer or long-range attacker, as is common in the RPG genre. It’s a gratifying level of freedom and one that encourages the player to experiment with wacky setups.

(Video) Is NEO: TWEWY Good?? - Neo: The World Ends With You [SPOILER-FREE] Review

If you’re stuck on a particularly challenging boss fight, overhauling your pin setup will usually do the trick, but the game’s difficulty can also be adjusted at any time — it’s a nice option to have if you’re feeling frustrated or just want to wrap up a chapter before bed.

That unexpected freedom also carries over to your party’s threads or defensive equipment. All of your “armor” is based on bespoke streetwear designs inspired by the trendy boutiques of Harajuku and Shibuya, from feminine lacy frocks to spiky leather trousers. If your style level is high enough, you’ll unlock special abilities like damage boosts or resistance to certain types of attacks. Any character can equip any item, regardless of gender — if you want to dress Rindo in the sweetie-pie designs of Top O Topo, there’s nothing stopping you. It’s a shame these outfit choices don’t translate to the character models and portraits, but it’s a welcome tweak to the usual way of doing things in these kinds of games.

Oozing personality

I played the PlayStation version of NEO: TWEWY on PlayStation 5, but I was struck throughout by how this feels distinctly like a handheld game — in the best possible way. That’s partly due to the intimacy of its scope; it’s roughly a 30 minute IRL walk from one end of the map to another. It’s also because the game feels like playing a manga — cinematic cutscenes take a backseat to a rapid-fire progression of panels and portraits as the characters react to the story’s twists and turns. All the while, it’s easy to lose yourself in the rhythm of the eclectic and toe-tapping soundtrack, which ranges from thrashing rock bangers, synthy City Pop earworms, and funk-laced pop bops.

(Video) NEO: The World Ends with You | Destructoid Review

Completionists will savor this sequel, as there are literally hundreds of pieces of clothing, soundtrack entries, and pins to collect. While you’ll initially find yourself browsing through your collection of threads for more info about perks and stat boosts, you’ll get lost admiring the level of detail and sheer cool factor of each entry. The clothes in this game include everything from T-shirts to beanies to platforms and petticoats, each belonging to one of more than a dozen remarkably fleshed-out fictional brands.

The 3D environments of NEO: TWEWY are a substantial visual upgrade over the side-scrolling pixel art of the first game. The environments and map designs are almost unnervingly accurate to real-world locations. Persona 5 and the Yakuza series have been praised for their virtual tourism factor, and NEO: The World Ends With You belongs in that same category of wanderlust-inspiring titles. If you can get through a 40-hour playthrough without getting lost down an online shopping rabbit hole trying to find websites for some of the real-life stores on Cat Street or Spain Hill, you’ve got more willpower than I do.

If you enjoy Japanese role-playing games but shudder at the thought of labyrinthine stories and 100+ hour playtimes, NEO: TWEWY serves up a tightly paced narrative with impressive mission variety and unmatched panache — in half the time.

(Video) Neo The World Ends With You Review - Noisy Pixel

8/10

NEO: The World Ends With You comes to PC, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 on July 27. Inverse played the PS4 version on PS5.

INVERSE VIDEO GAME REVIEW ETHOS: When it comes to video games, Inverse values a few qualities that other sites may not. For instance, we care about hours over money. Many new AAA games have similar costs, which is why we value the experience of playing more than price comparisons. We don’t value grinding and fetch quests as much as games that make the most out of every level. We also care about the in-game narrative more than most. If the world of a video game is rich enough to foster sociological theories about its government and character backstories, it’s a game we won’t be able to stop thinking about, no matter its price or popularity. We won’t punch down. We won’t evaluate an indie game in the same way we will evaluate a AAA game that’s produced by a team of thousands. We review games based on what’s available in our consoles at the time. And finally, we have very little tolerance for junk science. (Magic is always OK.)

FAQs

Is The World Ends with You Neo worth it? ›

NEO: The World Ends With You tells a good story, and has exceptional gameplay. Fans of the first game will enjoy it. Newcomers will surely want to hold out over Week 2, but stay for the tunes and the fights. I know I'm certainly glad I did.

Do I need to play anything before NEO: The World Ends with You? ›

The short answer: No, you do not need to have played the original The World Ends With You to play NEO. However, you may enjoy NEO's story more if you do, or watch the anime that retells the original's story. Though the main characters are different, there's a lot of revisiting of the first plot.

What type of game is NEO: The World Ends with You? ›

Neo: The World Ends with You is an action role-playing game co-developed by Square Enix and h.a.n.d. and published by Square Enix. This game is a sequel to the 2007 video game The World Ends with You. It was released for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 in July 2021, and for Microsoft Windows in September 2021.

How many hours of gameplay in NEO: The World Ends with You? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, NEO: The World Ends with You is about 40 Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 104 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

Does Shoka have a crush on Rindo? ›

Shoka smacked by Soul Pulvis after trying to save Rindo. After this, the two are allies, and eventually become good friends. It is possible that Shoka may also have a crush on Rindo, based on her frequently blushing around him.

Is NEO: The World Ends With You like Persona 5? ›

While it's true that there are a handful of comparisons between the two that can be made, The World Ends with You plays very differently than Persona 5. From the brief glimpses shown in the announcement trailer, it looks like NEO: The World Ends with You won't follow a traditional, turn-based JRPG gameplay style.

Is Neo the world ends with you connected to Kingdom Hearts? ›

Despite lots of fan theories saying otherwise, Kingdom Hearts 3 and NEO: The World Ends With You aren't connected to one another.

How many endings are in neo the world ends with you? ›

There are only two endings to focus on in NEO: The World Ends With You, which makes the game a bit easier to manage. The critical aspect is that getting the endings is a linear progression, and there's no need to search for hidden items, unlock critical events, or get to a special place to get them.

What the difference between neo the world ends with you? ›

The most obvious change is Neo: The World Ends With You being rendered in 3D instead of 2D. The game is still confined to a set amount of locations inside of Shibuya. It isn't a sprawling open-world game like some other recent Square Enix RPGs. There also isn't a camera system meaning that every angle is predetermined.

Why does Rindo wear a mask? ›

The mask is a parallel to the previous protagonist (Neku) wearing a symbolic item on their head to represent an aspect of their personality as a sense of distancing from other people. Specifically, Rindo prefers communicating through texting instead of speaking to other human beings face-to-face.

Is The World Ends With You anime the same as the game? ›

It should also be noted that, as the anime series is an adaptation of the original Japanese version of The World Ends with You, the anime is even more different from the English localization of the game, particularly with how the characters are portrayed.

How do you unlock ultimate mode neo the world ends with you? ›

Easy and Hard are unlocked via progressing through the main game, while Ultimate can be obtained at Shibu-Q Heads after earning (S) Game Cleared and unlocking the Chapter Selection Menu by clearing the main game.

What is the longest game in PS? ›

There is plenty of content to keep players engaged. Farming Simulator 19 is the longest game in PlayStation 4 history, with an average playtime of 143 hours.

What is the password NEO: The World Ends with You? ›

The password is: "the river flows swift and clear."

How well does NEO: The World Ends with You run on Switch? ›

Overall, NEO: The World Ends With You runs relatively smooth on Switch in docked mode.

How old is Rindo? ›

Rindo Kanade is the 15-year-old main protagonist of NEO: The World Ends With You.

Who is Rindo? ›

Rindo. One of the newest Players in the Reapers' Game, Rindo is a high schooler to whom searching for info on his phone is second nature. He prefers to go with the flow, and although he doesn't go out of his way to interact with others, he won't turn them away if they come to him first.

Who is swallow in neo the world ends with you? ›

They are Rindo's online friend, who he met through the FanGO app. Swallow's identity and gender is unknown – they are represented with an icon of a barn swallow. Swallow's first appearance is when Rindo walks to 104 to meet Fret. They promise to tell Rindo about any nearby rare monsters.

What rank do you need akechi for true ending? ›

In order to get the true ending in Persona 5 Royal you need to do the following: Reach Confidant rank 9 with Takuto Maruki (Councillor) by Nov. 18. Reach Confidant rank 8 with Goro Akechi (Justice) by Nov.

Which Persona 5 ending is canon? ›

From the start, the Phantom Thieves had one goal: to change the world. By freeing the world from the clutches of Yaldabaoth, Joker and his friends accomplished that goal, making this the true, canonical ending of Persona 5.

Will there be a Persona 5? ›

"Players will take on the roles of their favorite Phantom Thieves and fight to change the world." A co-operative Persona 5 Royale strategy card game is releasing next year.

What level should Sora be at the end of the world? ›

Talking numbers just for a moment, it's best to hit End of the World around Level 50, or just a bit more. If the party needs some toughening up, go fight in Traverse Town or the Coliseum, where the Hades Cup is now underway.

Will The World Ends With You be in Kingdom Hearts 4? ›

But Nomura confirmed in an interview with Famitsu (as reported by Polygon) that these locations are two separate entities, so it seems that a crossover with The World Ends With You isn't in the cards for Kingdom Hearts 4.

How do you beat pig noise in Neo? ›

Therefore the best way to beat pig Noise is to use pins that either knock an enemy back, make it pause while being attacked, or equipping clothes which give the player free Fusion Stars, so the player can do a Fusion attack at the start of the battle (in remix versions, pigs are immune to fusions).

Why was NEO: The World Ends with You recalled? ›

Following an accidental leak of the full retail version of NEO: The World Ends With You, Square Enix is revoking licenses for the game, effectively scrubbing the game from their account until release date.

Will there be a world ends with you 3? ›

Hirano says straight away that Square Enix doesn't have any plans for what's next in The World Ends With You series. However, he encourages fans of the franchise to continue sharing their love for the two games with Square Enix.

Will neo The World Ends With You have a sequel? ›

With that in mind, the future of the series is uncertain. However, in an interview with Nintendo Life, NEO: The World Ends with You producer Tomohiko Hirano has confirmed that the development team has ideas for another TWEWY sequel if given the opportunity to make it happen — and if fans make their support vocal.

Is The World Ends With You final remix worth it? ›

Because of the Switch's two modes, The World Ends With You: Final Remix is simultaneously a good port and a bad one. Using handheld mode and touchscreen controls, Final Remix holds up as a great JRPG with tons of depth.

Is NEO TWEWY better on Switch or PS4? ›

NEO: The World Ends with You PS4 vs Nintendo Switch graphics

NEO: The World Ends with You looks great on Nintendo Switch for the most part. The 3D gameplay portions on Nintendo Switch, while nice looking handheld (and less so docked), lack good post-processing, so there are a lot of aliased elements.

Why did Tsukasa Eishi join Central? ›

Seeing the extent of Sōma's abilities, Eishi immediately developed a desire to have Sōma be his right-hand man in Central. Sōma is flattered by his offer, though he ponders if he would be willing to share the Yukihira Style.

Does Rindo like Tsukasa? ›

Whether she criticizes Eishi's nervous behaviour and tries desperately to make him more assertive or just playfully talks to him, Rindo shows that she deeply cares for Tsukasa, even aiming to become the second seta simply because she knew he wanted the first.

Is Joshua in neo Twewy? ›

Yoshiya Kiryu (桐生 義弥, Kiryū Yoshiya), nicknamed Joshua (ヨシュア, Yoshua), is a major character in The World Ends with You and a playable character. He is Neku Sakuraba's second partner in the Reapers' Game during its second week. Joshua also has a small role in NEO: The World Ends with You.

Is there a last game anime? ›

Last Game Vol. 1 (original black and white edition) will be released for the first time in print in North America in May 2023 for $14.99 USA / $18.99 CAN, with the series available in single large-trim editions. An ebook edition will also be available on digital platforms.

How long does it take to play The World Ends with You? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, The World Ends with You is about 25 Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 128 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

What does Twewy stand for? ›

The World Ends with You.

How do you raise your VIP level in NEO: The World Ends with You? ›

By going to a branded store and buying up all their goods, you can quickly raise your VIP level. Some players even constantly buy and then sell back brand pins to rank up quickly, although this is a bit hard to do at the beginning of the game as it's pretty costly.

What game takes longest beat? ›

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is a contender for the greatest game of all time. It is, however, an open-world game that takes the longest to beat. Quests in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim regenerate, so there is seemingly no end to the game.

What game took longest to make? ›

Duke Nukem Forever went 5,156 days from its announcement in 1997 to its release in 2011.
...
Beyond Good & Evil 2 overtakes Guinness record holder Duke Nukem Forever as game longest in development
  • Speed.
  • 0.5x.
  • 0.75x.
  • Normal.
  • 1.25x.
  • 1.5x.
  • 2.0x.
3 Oct 2022

What is the longest game to 100% complete? ›

Single-Player Games That Take The Longest Time To Fully Complete
  • Baldur's Gate 2 Has An 88 Hour Average Completion Time. ...
  • Final Fantasy 12 Averages 92.5 Hours To Complete. ...
  • Completing Assassin's Creed Valhalla Takes Over 90 Hours. ...
  • 96 Hours May Be Needed To Become Elden Lord In Elden Ring.
9 Jun 2022

Did Neo World Ends With You sell well? ›

Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda stated, “While NEO: The World Ends with You was well received by users, it has underperformed our initial expectations.” Weak sales of NEO TWEWY had long been suspected after the game's subdued debut in Japan back in July, and now we have the unfortunate confirmation.

How many hours of gameplay in neo the world ends with you? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, NEO: The World Ends with You is about 40 Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 104 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

Should I play final remix before Neo? ›

Those who played a prior version of TWEWY and paid attention will be able to figure out what's going on in NEO fairly easily. But players who want to be completely up to speed need to complete Final Remix's A New Day episode first. The new content explicitly bridges the game's events to those of NEO.

Is World's End Club worth it? ›

Word's End

World's End Club isn't a bad game, yet it's not a good one either. It has a great deal that could have made for a compelling experience. However this is marred by some simplistic – yet – frustrating puzzle design, and a weak narrative.

How well does neo The World Ends With You run on switch? ›

Overall, NEO: The World Ends With You runs relatively smooth on Switch in docked mode.

Is World's End club dark? ›

World's End Club, previously called Death March Club, is one of the darkest games I've played so far on Apple Arcade. It's packed with twists and turns right from the beginning. If you're an anime fan, definitely check it out.

What is the code in World's End Club? ›

The complete password is 596214.

How many endings are in World's End Club? ›

There are two different endings, the first and the true, but you should be aiming to get to the true ending.

Is Neo Twewy better on Switch or PS4? ›

NEO: The World Ends with You PS4 vs Nintendo Switch graphics

NEO: The World Ends with You looks great on Nintendo Switch for the most part. The 3D gameplay portions on Nintendo Switch, while nice looking handheld (and less so docked), lack good post-processing, so there are a lot of aliased elements.

Videos

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2. NEO: The World Ends with You - Easy Allies Review
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5. The World Ends With You: The Peak of The DS
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