Games: World Ends Again on Switch
LAST Wednesday, the caffeine-jacked masses of Nintendo's most rabid die-hards pulled an all-nighter, waiting Godot-like for the firm's latest YouTube communique. Despite amounting to little more than a corporate newsletter, the sheer anticipation for a Nintendo Direct really shows the hype surrounding Switch.
As the wee hours ticked by, zilch surfaced, bar Nintendo's own gentle trolling of fans through numerous Twitter feeds. By Thursday, though, white smoke. A glut of new titles to ensure no dust settles on their latest, with Western gamers perhaps most enthralled at a remaster of Dark Souls, which launches on May 25 (almost seven years after its PS3 debut).
With the infamously punishing death-sim now portable, even toilet-bound play is possible, gamers now free to mix Dark Souls with dark soils as they meet a porcelain demise, Elvis-style. Though it's perhaps not the greatest idea to have such rage-fuel on a console so easily flung at walls.
For my money, however, Nintendo Direct's stand-out was the return of a 10-year-old DS effort, and one of the hoary handheld's best. Fans have been hankering for more of The World Ends With You since the original lit up the twin screens of the DS in 2008.
An RPG set in Shibuya, a band of teenagers find themselves caught in a battle for their fates in an adventure stuffed with genre-bending innovations, mixing graffiti-infused J-Pop with youth culture in an alternate reality Tokyo. Teamed with a variety of partners, young Neku uses his psychic powers in role-play battles that ditch the orcs in favour of an edgy, real-world feel and demand beat-perfect button combos.
Between battles, players can keep abreast of the latest trends and trade items with friends in an amazing marriage of style and gameplay. Set for release "sometime this year", The World Ends With You: Final Remix is a remake of the original with touchscreen controls and Joy-Con support. It's the end of the world as we knew it, then, though fans are promised "a sizable new scenario that gets right to the heart of the story".
Hopefully it'll work as well on the Switch's solo screen as it did spread-eagled across the DS' double doors. The cult hit of 2008, the game became something of a phenomenon in its native country, spawning comic and soundtrack lines. As part of that generation first introduced to the bonkers delights of Japanese culture through Monkey, Battle of the Planets and Clive James pouring himself into a capsule hotel, TWEWY is like a love letter to Godzilla's stomping ground.
And while Neku has made cameos in other games, it remains one of those rare classics never to receive a follow-up. If Final Remix isn't quite a new game, it at least requites the love shown for Square's original, giving today's generation of thumb-bandits the chance to discover its cooler than thou, oh-so Japanesey charms.