Like a lot of gamers out there, I'm tired of your standard JRPG protagonists. They're always the same, always sullen, good-looking lone wolves with tragic pasts. The headphones-wearing, purple-vested Neku Sakuraba of Square Enix's The World Ends With You: Solo Remix [$17.99 / $19.99 (HD)] is no different but that's okay because it's still a ridiculously brilliant game.

Why am I so willing to forgive its faults? There are a lot of reasons. Some of them are connected to the fact the game's an audiovisual feast for street culture enthuasists, others to the fact that the gameplay is, even now, a refreshing change from the norm. Most of all, however, it's because the emo-ness actually makes sense here. The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is a story about children transitioning from a safe environment into a darker, grimmer world. It's a game set in freakin' Shibuya, a place where high fashion and high pressure meet. If there's anyone who deserves to be a little neurotic, it's the kids in this game.

Before we get into the review itself, there's something I have to tell the card-carrying members of The World Ends With You fan club:

The answer is yes. Yes, yes and yes again. Square Enix actually did an exemplary job at porting everyone's favorite DS cult classic to the iOS platform. Sure, they could have made the price of entry a little lower and, maybe, asides from offering a Universal build, cleaned up the iPad version a little bit more (I can see the pixels, you bastards!), but by and large, it's stellar work. I'm especially impressed with how they're revamped the combat system to better work with iOS surfaces, but we'll get to that in a bit.

When I said that The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is a treat for the senses, I meant it. There are certain caveats, of course. If you find graffiti and Japanese youth culture appalling or think there's just too much damn anime in the world already, you probably won't like the aesthetics found in this game. The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is a heady, hap hazardous mix of all those things. The enemies are half-beast, all tribal tattoos; the characters a stable of too-skinny kids with thick, comic-book lines and clothes befitting Shibuya royalty.

And the music? It rocks. Specifically, it's J-Rock and J-Hop and a whole bunch of other things wrapped up into one groovy medley of tunes. I won't go too much into it but let's just it's one of the few soundtracks I own.

As for the tale itself, it's an interesting one. You play as the amnesiac Neku, a boy with a hatred for the masses and an unusual predicament. Unlike others, who come and go as they please, you're trapped in Shibuya, a pawn in the Reaper's Game. It's a game you're going to have to play. Failure to do so will result in erasure.

Invisible to all but a select few and doomed to experience what you hate most (close proximity to others), you find yourself flung into an eclectic company of people. There's your first partner Shiki, a fashionable girl with a seemingly indomitable sense of good cheer, a guy named Beat who ends every other sentence with the word 'yo', his androgynous-looking friend and more. They're a familiar group of archetypes but framed against this weird universe, they work in a strange way. (A partial spoiler: the story is far darker than you might initially think it to be.)

In regards to the gameplay itself, there's a wide variety of things to do in The World Ends With You: Solo Remix. On the most basic level, you're going to have to figure out how to fulfill the missions you receive each day. This can mean anything from battling the spirits haunting cursed statues to restoring power to a concert hall to collecting 1,000 Yen pins from the Noise.

The Noise are the half-animal foes I was talking about earlier. Comprised of everything from frogs to kangaroos to sharks, the Noise are only visible to those involved in the Reaper's Game. While some boss battles initiate on their own, a majority of your fights with the Noise happen when you tap one of the red Noise icons after you've scanned your surroundings (scanning also lets you do nifty things like look into the inner thoughts of random people and is accomplished by clicking on the little Player pin on the bottom right of your screen). Once you've done that, you'll be transported to the fight.

Like the original, the iOS version of The World Ends With You: Solo Remix makes creative usage of touch controls. Some abilities, or Psyches as they're called, will ask you to tap feverishly on the screen while others may require you to draw lines of fire across the screen. It all varies, depending on the kind of Pin you have equipped. I haven't been able to verify this for the iOS version just yet but in the DS version, you even had Psyches that required you to shout into the microphone. The fact this game is incompatible with microphone-less iPod touch devices could be telling.

Unlike the original, however, there's no dual-screen combat. Everything happens within the space occupied by your character. Here, in the Solo Remix version, your Partners function very much like another Pin except for one major difference. For best possible results, you'll have to alternate your attacks with theirs to increase your sync percentage and to increase damage. Once your Sync rating has hit 100%, you'll then be able to unleash an all-out, screen-wide attack.

Yes, it's definitely a significant change and one that can make the game feel a little too easy for veterans. Nonetheless, it does make The World Ends With You: Solo Remix considerably more approachable, something that may well help it earn a new following among iOS users.

By the way, your Pins can be leveled up. Depending on the Pin, they might even evolve into something else. There are two ways to make these things happen. The first method is to engage in gratuitous amounts of combat. The second is to simply keep the Pins you want to level up equipped when you exit the game. You'll earn a certain amount of Pin Points during this down period.

What else is there? There's equipment you can purchase from the various stores in Shibuya, stickers you have to collect to upgrade your two-man party's strength, food to eat and fashion trends to worry about. (Fashion trends are actually important here. If you're dressed in the wrong threads in the wrong place, you might find yourself at disadvantage in your next fight. Eek.) Oh, and there's a mini-game called Tin Pin Slammer that you can choose to lose yourself in.

Long story short, you should probably buy The World Ends With You: Solo Remix. Yes, the price tag is rather astronomical when compared to bargain-bin, $0.99 titles but there's a reason for that. The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is not a game built for five-minute diversions; it's a solid game, one meant to leave a permanent impression. Square Enix probably could have done the port a little better (Universal build, anyone?) but all said and done, I couldn't be happier.

[For another look at The World Ends With You: Solo Remix, check out our recent TA Plays video.]

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • http://twitter.com/sekr3t sekr3t

    I enjoyed this game quite a bit on the DS.  I definitely won't be picking it up for twenty bucks just so I can play it on my iPad.  If I wanted to play it again I would just use my DS.  The game is awesome and you'll be spending $20 for it anyway so why not get it on the iOS platform.

  • Bobby

    Now this, unlike Mikey Shorts, is truly a 5 star game in my opinion. Square Enix has been hit and miss on iOS, but it would have been really hard to screw up a game which was already perfect for touch controls. Developers, take note, this is how you port a game.

    • JCman7

      Mikey Shorts is definitely a 5 star game

      • 1@N

        Agreed

      • Bobby

        Mikey Shorts is a very polished game, I will give it that. The fact is that it offers nothing else that other, better, endless runner type games don't already have. Anybody remember Super QuickHook, Hook Worlds, and Hook Champs? The indie developer, Rocketcat, in each of these games,  has included a customization shop vastly superior to the one Mikey Shorts has and these games have been out longer. Hook Worlds received a 4.5 star rating, Hook Champ 4 Stars, and lastly SQH received 4.5 stars. These games had very good controls and great art, but reading the reviews were critiqued at a higher standard.  Mikey Shorts basically just rips off this model, with different pixel bit art style, and offers nothing else. I'm not insinuating that they are copying, but that they are not differentiating themselves. I'm disappointed in the new TouchArcade reviewers because I fear they are overvaluing Indie Developer offerings and are not critiquing it at the same level other games are being scrutinized. I'm all for supporting Indie Devs, but when it's easy to see some hints of being bias just because they were active on the forums, it disgusts me. The resulting lack of critical thought and unintelligent review is appalling. If it becomes acceptable to give every developer who comes up with an above average game with a 5 star rating, then this site doesn't really serve it's purpose towards it's readers. Mikey Shorts comes up as a shallow offering that stands out in no way compared to similar apps in the genre. A site like TouchArcade easily results in hundreds, if not thousands of sales for developers, we need to be able to trust TA as a legitimate source of opinion that does not hold different standards. Five stars implies that the game is outstanding, that it stands out above everything else in the genre (it's the best), that it is incredibly fun with loads of replay value. Mikey Shorts becomes tedious after you reach three stars in every level and it is way too easy to purchase everything in the store within a couple hours of play.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        And yet, at the end of the day, you're spending one dollar on a video game for your telephone. 

        I played Mikey Shorts for 7 hours straight the day I got it, beating every single objective, unlocking every item, and getting #1 on every leaderboard.

        If that's not a 5 star game, then I don't know what is.

        People seem to be hung up on this "forum members make game" thing, which sucks, because to us it's just an interesting side story. Yet people can't just enjoy it for what it is and insist on twisting it into some conspiracy theory.

      • Bobby

        OK, even if you disregard the whole forum members idea, what are you left with? 

        I never complained about the value. Hell, I'm very grateful for how much entertainment I receive for each game on iOS, especially when there are sales regularly and a lot of great games go free. However, you can't just decide to knock criticisms away from a game just because it is cheap, you still gave it the highest rating possible. Just because it's an addictive game, doesn't make it great. Games can be addictive without having significant substance, I thought you guys would know this better, having reviewed Kairosoft game.
        I would hope that a reviewing site like TouchArcade would be more holistic in its approach. There's several games that provide the same amount of value as Mikey Shorts or more but I just don't see why people think it's so great. In the review, Nissa admitted that there were a few rough edges, but left it at that and didn't elaborate. I would hope that she would at least consider the monotonous tone of the game and the trivial value of the unlockable items, which effectively have no game value other than for ostentatious purposes. Lately TA hasn't been giving good constructive criticism of games and readers are left to find negatives ourselves after buying the game.  Nissa talks about how great the accessibility is but neglects to mention how accessibility  always comes at the cost of difficulty, gameplay, and overall purpose. Nissa makes a bold comparison at the beginning of the game to relate it to feel of Super Mario Bros and she does not sell very well how one could possibly feel the same way. The atmosphere of each world of both games is nowhere near comparable. The feeling of getting a mushroom, throwing a koopa shell at enemies, breaking a block, or even getting a fire flower is quite different. The depth isn't there and Mikey Shorts is just one bland race.

        As an individual I can rate the game five stars because it did help pass time but as a review site, you're expected to be held to a higher standard and to be a bit more objective in your approach. Perhaps, all the grinding of playing through several casual games on iOS has led you guys to become soft in all your reviews. For some reason sometimes when a console quality game makes it over to iOS, such as Street Fighter IV Volt, Chaos Rings II, which you both only gave 4.5 stars, you guys will be more critical in your approach compared to casual games. Now, however your lack of substance in casual game reviews has began permeating into all your reviews and the result is reviews such as that of N.O.V.A 3. 

        Am I being harsh? Sure, but mobile gaming sites as a whole are less and less critically approaching games. iOS gaming is moved forward by recognizing games that are actually great and separating games that are merely just distractions. Why should developers strive to make great games when sites like TA are so quick to give 5 stars?

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        God, how on earth do you have time to argue this much about a one dollar video game? I wish I had that kind of free time.

        First off, you're trying to make the star rating into some math equation. It's not. It's merely a recommendation level for a game. In Mikey Shorts' case it's the game I've recommended to every iOS toting person I've seen since it came out. I've showed it to my non-gaming friends who were intrigued and downloaded and instantly picked up on it and started having a good time. It's a game I'll be recommending for a long time to come.

        That doesn't mean a 5 star game can't have flaws. For Mikey Shorts I'd say its biggest downfall is that it's overall a pretty easy game, as long as you're not bothering with any leaderboard stuff. Just playing through beginning to end and collecting all the stars isn't that difficult. Believe it or not, that's actually a huge positive for a lot of people.

        Second, your opinion of the game is different than ours (and the majority of Mikey Shorts players for that matter, if you just take a casual glance at reviews across the web and people in the forums. It's almost universally loved). You chastise us for not calling attention to its "monotonous tone" and "trivial unlockables", but we didn't feel that way in the least. The unlockable items were one of my favorite parts about the game in fact, I can't count the number of times I've laughed out loud just by throwing together a random costume. Should I not be allowed to enjoy that because those costume items don't have a greater purpose?

        Bottom line is Mikey Shorts didn't do it for you like it did for just about everyone else. That's cool, reviews and tastes in games will never jive with every single person. But you're trying to find some deeper meaning, some sort of flaw in our review process that somehow allowed a game like Mikey Shorts to get 5 stars. And there just isn't one, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself. "People from TA have a blast with a video game, award it 5 stars. Film at 11." There's really no greater story than that happening here.

        Finally, you completely missed the boat on the SMB reference. She clearly states her fond memories of playing SMB as a kid and how great it felt to run through levels, memorizing the platform placements and making perfectly timed jumps all the way until the end. And she got that same warm fuzzy from playing Mikey Shorts. It's a totally apt comparison, and I felt the exact same thing. But she's definitely not saying MS is SMB, or even in the same league, so I'm not sure where you got that from.

        Ok so it's pretty easy to write really long responses I guess, apologies for making fun of you before. Though sadly, this will still inevitably end up being a huge waste of time.

      • HelperMonkey

        Regarding the first paragraph--
        Is your lack of free time for arguing about one-dollar games due to that time being consumed by your job writing about one-dollar games?
        ; )

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        Basically. If I could find a way to get paid for arguing about one dollar games then I'd be set :)

      • lena98765

        Didnyou notice that many other review sites also gave Mikey Shorts top stars/points? Kind of hard to argue that there is a TA bias then. Check out Mikey Shorts' Metacritic rating.

      • Bobby

        I wouldn't put too much credence into Metacritic as a good source for judging iOS games. MikeyShorts is currently the number one rated game on iOS of all-time with a score of 98. You can't tell me that the game is better than mobile platform defining titles like World of Goo, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Real Racing 2,Plants vs. Zombie, etc. 

      • HelperMonkey

        Then ignore all reviews, my friend. It's clear you put credence in your personal opinion alone. That's fine, but it does make it rather hopeless for you to try convincing others that they should adopt that same standard.

      • Qmish

        THE PROBLEM that there is ONE appstore both  for little  casual games and for huge "console-like" games! And i  see worst things in appstore rpg  section like pet sim

      • Benjamin Rodriguez

        exactly, there are the casuals, and there is the hardcore. And you can't really get mad at either side because they will both support their own either way.

  • Ajstadel

    Just a heads up, you say at the end, "The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is a game built for five-minute diversions". At least in my experience, that doesn't work with this game. Shouldn't there be a "not" in there? Otherwise, great review! I don't see why there's no iPod touch 4 support (the RAM issue can't be that hard, just dial down the graphics a bit), but that's my only complain with this app.

    • casskhaw

      (%(@# agh. I'll tell my editors.

      • Spamstic

        Also..

        'And the music? It rocks. Specifically, it's J-Rock and J-Hop and a whole bunch of other things wrapped up into one groovy medley of tunes. I won't go too much into it but let's just it's one of the few soundtracks I own.'

        Might want to edit that.

    • VeganTnT

      The iPod Touch being unsupported is most likely a cause of Square Enix putting a hardware restriction on the iPhone version. The game requires that your device have a camera flash which means it's locked to not play on iPod Touch and iPads.I seriously doubt this needs more that 256mb of RAM and it's more about the iPod Touch getting caught in the crossfire to force customers into double dipping if they own an iPhone and an iPad

      • Ajstadel

        Hopefully Apple will step in and make them remove that restriction.

      • geoelectric

        People who have installed on iPod Touch by circumventing the false camera-flash restriction are reporting a bunch of crashes, so it apparently does need the extra memory. It's a little surprising since the DS only had a few MB of RAM, but there you go.

      • Ryan Gill

        My friend tried this, and it ran pretty well on condition that he closed all apps and restarted. No worse than, say, Infinity Blade.

  • http://www.handsometrustworthy.com/ Armaan Khan

    The night I bought TWEWY, I started it up just to check it out for a few minutes and ended up playing for 90 minutes straight. I only walked away because I really couldn't procrastinate any more. It's worth every single penny SE's asking for.

    Incidentally: how do you unleash the screen-wide attack at 100% sync? I didn't even know that was possible.

    • Ajstadel

      You have to be on the 3rd day I believe, and you just tap on the Shiki pin.

  • Onikage725

    I was going to buy it, but I have tmobile (no iPhone). And my Itouch isn't supported. So, I just popped my ds version in so I can ride some of the fandom resurgence.

    • MrAlbum

      Glad you're enjoying TWEWY ^_^ I've played both DS and iPhone, and both are awesome in their own ways.

      The iPhone port rocks. But so does the original DS version.

      Heck, you could port TWEWY to the freaking original GAMEBOY and still have tons o'fun!

      Yes. It's that freaking good. 8D

      • Onikage725

        Not my first rodeo with TWEWY lol. It is far and away my favorite DS RPG, unless one counts Chrono Trigger. Probably followed by SMT Strange Journey and Radiant Historia.

      • Onikage725

        Oh this isn't my first TWEWY rodeo! One of my favorite DS RPGs hands down. Right up there with Chrono Trigger, SMT Strange Journey, Radiant Historia, and the Devil Survivor games.

  • http://blucurv.com Ben

    Man, this game is awesome. I'm excited to see that SE is starting to take iOS more serious now. Instead of the old ports and Chaos Rings (which are neat but repetitive), this port feels oh so natural on my iPhone. Can't wait to hop on the Caltrain, plug in my headphones and blast my ride away with TWEWY. LOVE IT.

    Maybe we'll see Agito some day?

  • geoelectric

    The iPhone link should probably be updated to say "(iPhone only)" as well.

  • Adams Immersive

    I watched TA’s extended gameplay video with commentary, and I still don’t have any idea what playing this game is like! Which is intriguing enough to be worth a shot, I think...

  • rodgerodger

    I wanted to like this game. I wanted to give it 5-stars as well.

    Then I found out that Square Enix added a block to the iPhone version so it's technically impossible to play on an iPad. Bleep that noise. Apple needs to put a stop to such practices, now.

    • VeganTnT

      Hopefully they will.

      The iPad is sold with a key feature being it's backwards compatibility so Apple doesn't allow you remove iPad as a device from iPhone games. The only loophole is the camera flash restriction because you wouldn't need a flashlight or strobe app on anything that has no flash.

      The developer guidelines specifically state that you can't interfere with your app running in compatibility mode.

      Unfortunately developers also use push notifications for ads and self promotion which is also against the rules...

      The rules don't mean a whole lot til Apple starts enforcing them. 

      That's why it's important to keep vocal about it, enough notice and Apple has to do something to save face.

  • http://lectiblog.blogspot.com/ lecti

    I'll ask again: does the US version include the original Japanese on it as an option?

    • MrAlbum

      My guess is that it's an unlockable option. TWEWY takes its time w/ unlocks :/

    • Onikage725

      Original Japanese what? Acting? The game doesn't have a whole lot of that. A line here and there, and some battle quips. FFX this is not. Music wise, I think many of the Japanese tracks are mixed into the English soundtrack (and game).

  • islesfan

    $20?!? And they think anyone will buy that? What are they smoking?

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I guess if you don't want to spend $20 on the iPhone/iPad version you can spend $40 and play it on the DS?

      http://www.amazon.com/The-World-Ends-With-Nintendo-DS/dp/B00136MBHA/

      • Bobby

        Some people just want to have their cake and eat it too. 

      • Ryan Gill

         If you spend $40 you're doing it wrong. That very listing also has it priced at $19.99 from sellers new, and $30 used. And their are local stores. I've rebought it twice from Gamestop for under $15. Long story short, I sold it, rebought it and let a friend borrow it, and then bought it again when he lost it. When he found it, I just sold that online for about $20.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        That amount of hassle sounds like a great use of time. I guess on the up side at least you get to rage against the App Store machine in the process.

      • Onikage725

        Was that to me (Ryan)? In what way did I rage about the app store? My little anecdote aside, the point was that I've bought it from chain stores on two occasions for $15 or less. And also, on that very amazon link, you are one single click from a notice that says "buy it new from $19.99." Hardly a hassle, and just plain smart if you are going for the ds version. I am in no way bashing this port or its price. But people acting like the ds version is this ogre battle/valkyrie profile-esque rarity that can only be found at inflated prices are not looking hard enough. And by hard enough, I mean by about another five seconds of effort.

    • wingz

      WHY IS EVERYONE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE FUCKING PRICE?!?! AT LEAST U CAN BUY THE GAME I CANT EVEN FIND THE GODDAMN APP ON THE APP STORE!!!!!!!!

  • readysetboom

    I'll wait until it goes on sale. Everyone love it but the videos can't be doing this game justice.

    • MrAlbum

      They are not. Rest assured at that ^_^

  • Ryan Gill

    I'd love to buy this and support the title, but I can''t unless they expand support. I can't believe that it can't be made to work on a 4th gen iTouch at least. I mean, I can run cave shooters (previously the king of "this wont work on your old device because of the frantic sprite action"). Heck, I can play GTA3 and Max Payne (PS2 ports!), and Walking Dead and Black Ops Zombies (games otherwise found on current gen home consoles!). It can't be impossible.

    • MrAlbum

      Sure, it may not be impossible. But consider this:

      The artwork was re-drawn and the music uncompressed and expanded upon in the porting process. The result is the current version.

      People who have attempted to get this to work on an iTouch have found that even IF they manage to get it on the freaking iTouch, the game repeatedly crashes because of the lack of memory available on even an iTouch 4G.

      With that in mind, Squeenix will most likely have to re-draw/re-compress and/or pare down the music tracks to get this to work on an iTouch as well as it does currently.

      It's not just that, though; the game keeps track of how long you've been away from the game, the Twitter integration, the mingle points, etc... which would inevitably severely increase the memory requirements, on top of smooth gameplay operation.

      Combine that with the HD artwork/expanded musical repertoire.

      Ouch :(

      Yeah, it's definitely a Sad Panda thing, but there may not be a solution.

      PLEASE let Apple come out w/ a new iTouch! We NEED those peeps to support this awesome game!!!!!!!!!

      • zergslayer69

        If I'm not mistaken, the new "iPod touch" would be the rumored iPad mini. That's how I'd think apple would move at least.

      • Ryan Gill

         It's not my intention to rag on the devs, as I'm not one myself. But,
        just speaking from personal projects, having to recompress audio to fit
        smaller size requirements falls into the "annoying" category. It takes
        an hr, maybe two...and that's with no one paying me. Again, I'm sure
        this is more complicated than anything I've worked with, but audio
        compression isn't this crazy concept that automatically ruins an
        experience and takes a full team months to complete. One guy + 8 hr
        shift = more than adequate time to compress and check the audio, I'd
        say.

        Galaxy on Fire 2 vs HD, and Espgaluda II are decent examples
        of a higher res version for 4S/iPad 2 vs lower res version that works
        on iTouch and iPad 1. heck, squenix could even slot it in as a $16 SD
        version, which I'm sure they'd love. Would they have to redraw
        everything? They own the art assets to the DS version. They'd only have
        to rework the battles in so far as the partner pin is concerned, right?
        I'm not saying it isn't work. Just that, it shouldn't, in theory, be all
        that much work if you think about it. I know rom hackers who could (and
        have) tackled fan projects for free with similar goals and pulled it
        off. The pin tracking shouldn't be an issue. The original did that, it
        just checks the clock when you turn it back on. Is Twitter integration
        persistent? I mean, the game works if you aren't on wifi, right? I have
        games and apps with various social integration, and they don't destroy
        my ipod.

      • MrAlbum

        You brought up the artwork. In order to keep the same general port quality that this version has now, the artwork would probably have to be re-drawn for the iTouch devices because of the difference in resolution.

        The DS had a resolution of 256 x 192. The iTouch 4G has a resolution of 960 x 480. That's 9.375 times the DS's resolution. Considering that the DS has two screens, then the number could be fudged to 4.6875, but you should be able to see my point. The art would have to be re-drawn, or else it would look pixelated and fugly. Thus, the original DS assets would not survive the transition gracefully.

        Now consider the gazillions (hyperbole, but there are a LOT) of hand-crafted sprites in the game. Also consider that, at any time, the game has at least thirty detailed and mostly unique (i.e. few repeats) sprite animations running at once, which are fluidly operating at a blistering 60 fps. That frame rate would have to stay, or the port would be inferior and people would complain.

        That kind of optimization would have to be carried out, or else it would suck balls, to use vulgarities.

        Plus, what's the color palette of the iTouch like? Can it support ALL the colors of the iPhone 4 in all its Retina Display glory? I highly doubt it. Thusly, the colors might have to be optimized as well.

        That could take several months, depending on how many devs and artists Squeenix had available to work on the port. And one of the main draws of the port is that the sound is uncompressed, which allows the full audio glory of the music to shine unhindered by technology. As a result, I don't think compressing the audio to reduce file size is an option, since it's an advertised feature of the port.

        Again, it's not a question of "Can an iTouch port work?" It's more a question of "Would such a port suck because of technical limitations?"

        And such a port very well could, unless Squeenix really takes the time to work out any logical/illogical compatibility issues like the ones I brought up. Who knows; it could be that the higher-ups at SE probably wanted to tangentially market Kingdom Hearts 3, by releasing a port of TWEWY, since TWEWY characters are going to be in KH3. To be timely, the porting devs may have had to focus on maximizing the full iOS potential, which is the higher-end devices. To prevent people from having a sub-par experience with the iOS hardware that does not match the iOS cutting edge, they thus do the now-hated lock-out of the older devices.

        Thus, this issue could have arisen simply because of dickish business moves and devs trying to soften the blow. It could be the case!

        If the game performs well enough, then Squeenix might get generous and perform the above optimizations for older devices. Until such an event, we're just going to HAVE to be Sad Pandas.

        That's just GOT to be the fourth time I've used that phrase! What's UP with me?!

        In any case, these are just my thoughts on the issue.

      • Ryan Gill

         You know, I honestly don't know. Like I said, I'm not a dev, and know little of iOS game development specifically. I'm not trying to sound TOO presumptuous. I know they did it in reverse, adding retina support to FFT (looks so good that if you run it on a new iPad or with the JB program RetinaPad on an older device, there is almost no need for the "HD" version). I don't know the color palette compared to the iPhone 4, but according to Apple's marketing they should be about the same. It has Retina, and certainly looks a lot better than my iTouch 2g. Heck, I upgraded this yr primarily for games like Chrono Trigger and FF Tactics, which is why I'm a SAD PANDA (:p) to see the lack of support. So, someone more knowledgeable can break it down if this is wrong, but according to Apple the iTouch 4 is basically a non-phone iPhone 4. The only key difference being the RAM.

        I know TWEWY has a lot going on, but most of it is this side of static. The crowd doesn't move that much. Not in comparison to the chaos of a Cave bullet hell, which the iTouch can handle with ease (granted, not the HD iPad2 versions, but the iPhone 4 version no problem). Heck, even my iPad gen 1 can run the original releases of those games, and it has a crappier processor than the iTouch 4.

        And companies DO do it, but I've never seen one enable support to a device that was locked out. But then, I've never seen a game that was iPhone 4 compatible that didn't run on iTouch 4 at least...so this is new territory. Sky Gamblers ran like crap at first, but an update came out shortly thereafter which has erased all issues, just by way of example.

        I don't know about the art, as I've never done my own art for a game project. But I know a number of ways to down sample a video or image file if size or memory is a concern. So, in theory, it just doesn't seem like it would be THAT difficult or require a team of artists to redraw. I'd go so far as to say it would be in character for Squenix to NOT overstress matching DS to iTouch/iPhone resolution...Chrono Trigger anyone??

        It's not THAT big of a deal. But I wanted to show my support, and I had some extra cash this weekend. If it at least hit android I'd do that, but they say Android has its own team. And that team must have the cushiest job in the universe. The Android Squenix store consists of FF 1 and 3, Crystal Defenders, and Imaginary Range lol. I just contented myself with throwing in the DS version, and next yr when I get an iPad 2 I may get the larger version. Or I may not...part of the appeal right now is pocket TWEWY, not a need to experience (I'm about to finish my third playthrough).I guess that cash can go towards FF VII on PSN (Vita's finally got PS1 support), and The Walking Dead ep 3.

      • geoelectric

        iTouch 4G has a Retina display, albeit not an IPS one. I doubt the color gamut is significantly different, if it's different at all.

        I really suspect the only issue there was RAM utilization. Given that the DS has 4MB RAM, seems to me like they could have worked with 256MB on the iPod Touch if they cared enough. Plainly they didn't.

      • Ryan Gill

         Well, the problem there is that DS games ran off their carts. So RAM wasn't nearly as much of an issue. It is the one advantage Nintendo has utilized over disc-based gaming whenever possible.

      • geoelectric

        That's a good point. I guess I figured the cart would be used as a storage mechanism, same way the app bundle is now, with only a portion loaded in RAM at once.

      • Ryan Gill

         I'm farrrrr from an expert, so I don't know that you are wrong. I'd imagine some games may have done it differently. I've heard that cited as the reason TWEWY ran so smooth and with no loading, though.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4YD3BC2NSED77ASDXXIJBG6MRA AV CLUB

    I'm not complaining about the price. I have no problem with Square charging what the market will bear.

    However. You don't have to slam devs who charge less for their games to justify the price in your review. 

    Saying 99 cent games are "bargain basement" and only good for "five minute diversions" does a huge disservice to a hell of a lot of indie developers who have created low priced games that actually are "solid" and leave a "permanent impression." And it's odd coming to see this coming from a site that's ground zero when it comes to promoting the iOS community.

    • Benegesserit

      You might want to cite at least one example.

  • themostunclean

    Don't find Japanese pop culture appalling, it's just a regurgitated, fake and ridiculous re-hash of American culture after all. I do find the Americans who endlessly fawn over it because they mistakenly think its unique appalling though. Basically the entire audience for this game.

    • Bobby

      I'm not a fan of Japanese pop culture, I'm just a fan of good gameplay and story. This game definitely has that. Remain in your ignorance if you wish to deprive yourself of a great gaming experience, no one else cares.

  • Spamstic

    Hmmm.. It's ok so far I guess, the endless cut scenes are annoying, and I'm finding during combat I'm stabbing tapping slicing randomly at my screen, nevertheless I will persevere with it. hopefully it will get better with more pins level ups etc. It must be good to generate this much hype.

    For now thoug I'm failing to see what all the hype is about. Even finding the characters unlike able, I guess it's not for everyone. Still I want to like it. I will keep playing.

    • Benjamin Rodriguez

      it's more like it's individual notes are of high quality, and as a whole you may not notice them individually.  While I can see that the game is not for everyone, it does get better. I know I wasn't into it in the beginning but as combat got more complicated I got more into the customization of it. Although this was on the DS version, even though combat may be less intuitive, I can't imagine the customization is gone. 

  • ktml

    Too bad it's not a universal app, now I have to decide if I want to get the HD version or not! iPhone or iPad (2nd gen)? Ummmmmm...

    • http://flavors.me/kioshi kioshi

      The iPhone version doesn't run on the iPad at 2x, Square went against developer rules (according to the forums) to make you buy both if you wanna run it on the iPad too.

  • http://www.games.99k.org/ games

    hey cool review i never heard of this game before but i be sure to check it out now seems good

  • http://twitter.com/awp69 awp69

    Although I can't play this game regardless (on my 3GS), it would be nice to see a review site actually do a story about the rules Apple doesn't seem to enforce. SquareEnix and Apple are more likely to respond to a media request to address the whole iPhone version blocked from the iPad question than an average Joe. I'd be curious to know the response of both SE and Apple.

  • Benegesserit

    Cassandra, honey, you can see pixels always on the latest iPad. It's not actually retina. They've resorted to false advertising ever since their fearless leader passed on.

    • casskhaw

      ^_^;;; I have an iPad 2. I would not know what the latest iPad looks like.

  • kacorGS

    Hi everyone, I am stuck at day 3, concert stage boss. The DS method doesn't seem to work since there are no bats and the lights won't turn on no matter how long I can stay alive. The boss is invulnerable in the dark. Can somebody please help me? Thx!

  • Qmish

    2.3 GB!   THATS what kills me.. do we really need lossless music? 

    • ducksFANjason

      With this game's siundtrack? Yes... Yes we do.

      • kioshi

        I don't see people complaining about sworcery's music and the game is 191 mb so doubt it's lossless. The NDS version ROM has 65 mb, this shouldn't be almost 40 times the size.

      • Qmish

        in NDS music is  generated like  synthesis, and  here uncompressed wave  sounds . and maybe they  use 1024 * 768  bmp? oh  anyone, plz  open  .IPA and    say  what's on it..or  i'll wait until i'll buy  and look

  • Tatiana

    SO good! The price doesn't turn me off at all.. The tough part is the size, but there's tons of games I'm not playing right now, so it wasn't a huge issue. Just a gorgeous game with awesome music and a great story. Get in Square Enix. 

  • http://twitter.com/Supagoat Supagoat

    I wanted to like this game on the DS, but it just wasn't very good.  The polish of this port may be good, but the fundamental game kind of sucks.

  • http://twitter.com/acidbrn Aaron

    Anyone know if this has support for Gamecenter achievements?

    • Tondog

      yes it does.

  • Marc Chow

    Which version to get? the iphone with true retina or not real retina for the new ipad?? 

    • http://flavors.me/kioshi kioshi

      Square shamelessly blocked the iPhone app from running on the iPad so unless you mess with the files, the iPad version is the only way to go if you wanna play on the tablet.

  • geoelectric

    Keep in mind that the iPhone w/ Retina is still lower resolution than the iPad without it. It's just more compressed so has higher PPI.

    I don't see significant pixelization at all on iPad. It's not super-sharp like Retina, but it's not blurry or grainy either.

    • MidianGTX

       Looks blurry as hell to me, on just about any iDevice. I couldn't bring myself to slap 5 stars on something so obviously ugly in comparison to the DS version.

      • Qmish

        "blurry is hell" is  chrono trigger on ipad,  not  this

      • MidianGTX

        I'm sorry my opinion isn't good enough for you! However you look at it, it sure ain't crisp. At least the DS version was created with the correct resolution in mind.

      • Qmish

        Sorry, just wanted to mention that about CT

  • http://twitter.com/acidbrn Aaron

    Awesome! Glad to hear it has achievements.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francis.fabie Francis Timbol Fabie

    Hey, can anybody answer why Squeenix doesn't support retina display for anything?

    They already piss us off with their pricing their even pissing us even more with lack of support.. :(

  • XarethTitan

    Looking forward to getting this game!

  • timothymnk

    I LOVE this game. I think I'd only give this 2 stars JUST BECAUSE they lied about their data! The game was almost 2.5gb!!!! Can someone bring this up to square Enix please? If you guys don't believe me and have it click settings<general<usage and you can see for yourself.

    • Baracus

      You do realise that with ALL apps, the displayed size is the 'compressed' download size? They are always bigger on device once installed! :p

  • http://www.facebook.com/arisa.hirano.94 Arisa Hirano

    I really love this game, totally worth it. I also want it on my DS >_<
    The only problem I have is that it doesn't save while in dialogue. And once I finished killing the third boss, in the dark, it goes through lots of dialogues and then it crashes before the app can save :/
    I do have lots of room for memory and yet it still crashes
    Help anyone?

  • Nathan R

    Is the reviewer still around for some constructive criticism?

  • Ab0veAv3ragE

    Hey guys I'm really enjoying this game I just have a few questions. Since some pins require you to tap the enemy (thunderbolt as an example) how can you incorporate that with your partner attacks because she/he attacks as soon as you tap, what if you don't want to do both at the same time you know? Other question is when you sync to 100% are you supposed to get like super moves or something?

The World Ends with You: Solo Remix Reviewed by Cassandra Khaw on . Rating: 5