Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4
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We've all seen the hand wringing over the hefty price that The World Ends With You: Solo Remix has been given. $17.99 does indeed sound a lot for a game when there are countless other options on the App Store for $0.99, and there's no Universal option. All that annoyance falls by the wayside, however, once you start playing. The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is an incredibly high quality game and one that richly deserves the extensive praise it garnered upon its original DS release. Its iOS port is similarly well done, a few minor gripes aside.
Players control Neku, a distinctly emo teen protagonist JRPG fans have probably seen before. That's where the predictability nearly ends, however, as The World Ends With You: Solo Remix offers many more original flourishes. Set in a modern Japanese city, Shibuya, the visual style is like nothing else. The graphics pop while the J-Rock soundtrack fills players' ears with wonder, all while players are caught up in deadly "games" against the evil Reapers. Like any JRPG, it takes a little while to get going but the Japanese aesthetics ensure things feel fresh early on.
Partners such as Shiki Misaki, Joshua and Beat help Neku throughout the game. Combat is where they prove particularly useful, even with a single screen. The Solo Remix in the title refers to the fact that previously The World Ends With You relied upon the dual screens of the DS to control players on separate screens, with the iPhone only offering the one screen, things have been changed around quite significantly.
Players control Neku with a summoning system that enables the other characters to assist in attack. It makes the system much easier than before, but it's a decent adaptation to the one screen. Problems only emerge when it comes to moving around on screen. Combat moves are initiated through swipes or taps, just like moving around. The World Ends With You: Solo Remix does struggle to tell the difference at times, which gets irritating when it happens repeatedly. It's unfortunate given how, otherwise, the combat is great fun and makes a refreshing change from the turn based attitude of old. A series of Pins affect what abilities can be used during combat and are pretty varied, both in terms of how they're used and what they do.
Originality is clearly something that The World Ends With You: Solo Remix is far from short of. I've played many JRPGs in the past and there's nothing quite like it. The iOS conversion is pretty good, even despite the screen restrictions, and it's all forgiven when you're wrapped up in the storyline so much. It's an expensive purchase but one that will offer you dozens of hours of memorable gameplay. When you think of it like that, it really doesn't sound so bad.