[REVIEW] The World Next Door is a Narrative Heavy Artistic Experience

[REVIEW] The World Next Door
credit// Viz Media

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Viz Media and Rose City Games' The World Next Door is a narrative based action anime game which follows rebellious teen Jun who gets stuck in a world of demons. Thr game is a combination of third-person isometric exploration, puzzle solving, and narrative choices.

The levels are designed rather simply, but with immense detail and fantastically rendered art by Lord Gris, which makes the exploration a treat despite the relative simplicity of thr various levels. The puzzle solving is essentially the game's combat system is unique and fast-paced for what is essentially just a match-three.

[REVIEW] The World Next Door
credit// Viz Media
However, The World Next Door's biggest strength is also its greatest weakness. The game is published by Viz Media and follows in the anime/manga tradition of being dialogue heavy. Which is fine except you have to click through every line of dialogue, and much of the early game is just exposition layered upon expositon. Which can be incredibly grating.

That said, you do get some decent narrative freedom with at least two choices for each decision point. The reputation system for each character is also suitably complex, and will affect the ultimate narrative.

The story itself is somewhat bland at the start. Protagonist Jun gets sent to Emrys, the world of demons, for just a day and gets to meet some of her online friends. From there, the group stumble into some trouble and Jun gets stuck in Emrys after her portal home closes. The story does pick up from there and gives players a decent bit of freedom over their character arc, which can lead to some surprisingly deep moments. However, outside of those brief snatches of brilliance, the narrative is pretty standard anime fare.

There's little to hate about The World Next Door, but it can be a bit of a struggle to truly get involved in the game early on. However, about two hours in things kick off. And its a short enoug game that a two-hour long slog is a bit too long. But if you don't expect anything too groundbreaking, it will do nicely to keep you entertained for a night or two.

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About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.

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