World End Syndrome tries to split a mystery story and romantic adventure together in the sunny holiday setting, but rather surprises us all with a special game structure.
Mihate Town, a sleepy little town on the Japanese coast, but with a peculiar penchant for the occult: this place is where our playable protagonist, who is allowed to live for a year at the local high school, ends up. Not only is there a regional radio show called the Worldend Syndrome, which deals with the city’s myths and past, but also the gossip about the Yomibito legend, which revives individuals from the realm of the dead every hundred years and causes trouble to the public.
World End Syndrome starts off fairly linear and allows the necessary time to establish figures and places. The game tells the story with a good pace without cumbersome dialogues that last for minutes, which is not unusual for visual novels. One after the other we meet the classmates and some inhabitants of the city. Although they come from the cliché-drawer, they can keep you busy with many humoristic peculiarities.
The most striking thing is that most of them are female and artificial fan service scenes are not neglected. This is not unusual for dating simulations, but World End Syndrome also tries to create a ghost story that unfolds after the first few hours. if you question of whether these contrary moods between the colorful setting full of fan service and clichés and a horror story goes up, we can definitely confirm that it does. One of the best things about World End Syndrome is that these elements actually go hand in hand and are not mutually exclusive. But that does not change the superficial fan service.
After a leisurely start, the summer holidays start in Mihate Town; The freedom of the students also has a playful effect on us. The available leisure time is at our fingertips. you can explore areas such as the local shrine, the coast or the nearby forest. To explore means to click on a city map where you want to go. Depending on the time of day there are also friends or certain individuals in these places. You can spend some time with the characters there and get aura points that will be important for how the game will play out and the ending you will get. you can repeat these events for a whole ingame month until you unlock the different endings. If you do not succeed, the secrets remain un-discovered and you have to start this section of the game again. That should also be the rule at the beginning, because not infrequently you can feel quite helpless, since the game also gives you no feedback at all if you are on the right track. But that also gives you the idea that you are playing a true mystery that needs to be unsolved, which is great for the horror part of the game (and to get some more ecchi fanservice).
Besides, it’s the little things we liked about World End Syndrome. The well-integrated controls and interfaces (our bag including inventory, for example, represents the menu) and many text options such as scroll speed contribute to the atmosphere and good playability equally. While the handdrawn backgrounds are already of clearly superior quality, they were additionally enriched with small animations. Through such small movements, be it treetops in a storm or a wind turbine in the background, Mihate Town is immediately inviting and lively. Very short video sequences reinforce the impression that the World End Syndrome in any case had a higher budget flowing than in an average visual novel. The very beautiful color and light moods complete the relaxed atmosphere with the quiet soundtrack. In the setting of World End Syndrome everyone would definitely want to go on a holiday, and we don’t mean this for the fanservice.
Anyone who expects a pure mystery story in World End Syndrome is deterred by the extensive character interactions, including some romantic aspects. They are not bad, but both topics go hand in hand and are equally relevant. I quickly got sucked in the story, but unfortunately I do not really like the game structure. I do not mind the repetitive elements that are found in the middle part of the game and finally unlock new endings. But without any specific tips or walkthrough, I’m never sure if I’m on the right track during game play. As compensation, I see the quiet atmosphere and the artistic places where I feel like i’m on a real vacation. I would love to explore them in a “real” three-dimensional game world. A higher praise is hard to get in any sort of visual novel.
World End Syndrome is a technically strong and atmospheric visual novel that provides plenty of great romantic and horror elements in the games structure.