It's a Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 03.10.2006 16

Review for It

Square Enix delicately dipped its toes into the murky waters of Nintendo DS development with Japanese launch title Egg Monster Heroes. Thankfully it came away with a warm fuzzy feeling that led to it giving much more support to the fancy portable. Fast forward to today and we find a brand new property being made for the system – It’s A Wonderful World. What are we being faced with though? Let us take a look…

So far we have seen Square Enix crack out all sorts of goodies on the Nintendo DS, but all have been from long-standing, extremely popular franchises, unlike back in the days of the NES and SNES when both Squaresoft and Enix were regularly working on new content for Nintendo platforms, rather than churning out sequel after sequel. Therefore, when it was revealed that the Kingdom Hearts team was creating an original project for the DS called 'It's a Wonderful World', ears pricked up and eyes opened a slight bit wider across the world. Just what was to be expected?

Screenshot for It's a Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) on Nintendo DS

Well, it seems that the developer has taken a good long, hard look at the DS hardware to weigh up exactly what parts of its unique structure can be used at any one time in a new game. Subarashiki: It’s a Wonderful World (to give it its full name) definitely does this – utilising the two screens throughout and making great use of the touch-screen capabilities. The team has taken an interesting direction with the graphical style of the game, choosing to opt for a hard-edged, unique appearance instead of the lavish 3D engine used in Final Fantasy III or the gorgeous hand-drawn look found in Children of Mana. But it definitely gives the game its own sense of identity, lifting it above the competition and grabbing your attention thanks to the work of Tetsuya Nomura and Gen Kobayashi. And it is not like the main action just takes place on the one screen, with a little bit of two-screen action. Nope, Wonderful World’s gameplay relies of the use of both screens at all times, making the experience far removed from traditional role-playing games on other platforms.

The expansive adventure centres round a spiky-haired young boy by the name of Neck, a child living in Tokyo that has been faced with a severely horrifying realisation – the God of Death has made it so he only seven days left in his life! Now, the game is set in the real world, so anyone that knows the Tokyo area will be familiar with the locations. Names, however, are changed for legal purposes (obviously), so as Neck wanders outside and looks at the world’s largest, multi-storey Starbucks, in the game the name will be ‘Outback Café’ instead. It will not affect most of us, but to those who do know Tokyo well it will be strange. It is like if I played a game based in Manchester and the large Arndale Shopping Centre was called ‘Market Central’ or something similar. Anyway, staring up at the structure he realises that there will be both many great things to do with his mysterious powers, as well as several dark ones.

Screenshot for It's a Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) on Nintendo DS

To help him along the way he has Tsuki, a cute young girl that appears to like showing off a rather surprising amount of skin (little hussy...!). From what Square Enix has so far revealed, they will team up to fight through the game and uncover the story behind a group of monsters called 'Noise'. Their only hope of keeping Neck alive is to gain this knowledge and use it to its full effect. What is quite unusual is how the Noise that you battle are basically everyday creatures, with a slight twist. So far we have seen evil takes on birds and dogs, with tall hairy beasts dressed in Harajuku clothing! Crazy, but very cool indeed...

Adding to this 'cool' factor is how when controlling Neck between battle scenarios you are walking about in downtown Tokyo! Our Sora-like protagonist can even access the thoughts of people wandering around. When you wander past someone, their thoughts appear in a bubble above their heads, which can then be tapped with the stylus to dig deeper into their personal world (you have to hope their thoughts are NOT like mine...or the rating of the game may go up!). Everything serves a purpose as clues and information can be gathered to help beat the game Death is playing with you.

Screenshot for It's a Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) on Nintendo DS

But what about the actual meat of the game, the fighting? Well, it has the funky name of 'Stride Cross Battle System' and has you controlling both Tsuki and Neck at the same time. Sounds confusing? Well, in video clips it certainly does look so. Thankfully fears have been laid to rest by various hands-on with the game at the recent Tokyo Games Show at the end of September. The way it works is Tsuki resides on the top screen, whilst Neck is controlled directly on the bottom screen using the stylus. For Tsuki you must play the game a bit like a rhythm title, using the directional pad to bash out the correct combinations to access whichever of her moves is necessary for the despatch of the enemies. At the same time you use the stylus to manoeuvre Neck around the bottom screen, shooting off special abilities (such as lightning bolts and fire) with ease, whilst also managing items on-the-fly by simply tapping them. His mental powers also come in handy as it means he can move objects around the battlefield to your advantage. Everything may look crazy, but it really does appear to be a refreshing break from the RPG norm.

Screenshot for It's a Wonderful World (The World Ends With You) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Okay, now it might be because I love my RPGs, especially those of a Square Enix variety, but It's a Wonderful World looks so damn impressive. Unique style, tonnes of charisma and superb use of the Nintendo DS system itself make this one to watch out for in 2007. Let us hope the Japanese background does not prevent an official translation...

Also known as

It's a Wonderful World


Square Enix


Square Enix





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (19 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


neat looks neat

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hells ya

I'm definitely keeping my eye out for this one.

I love Kingdom Hearts II, so can't wait to get my hands on this (technically their first Nintendo project, I believe?).

Should be interesting fighting against frogs, tall wolves and evil birds :lol:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I am losing count of how many games SE has planned for the DS, this one slipped way of the radar but saying that it's looks great, definitely has potential.

Great preview Raz, you little RPG nut

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

Sounds interesting...Gonna be cool to see if they pill it off...

should be cool, like the look of it up to now. is there any word on any wi-fi stuff?

Sounds cool! Good stuff as usual RPG God!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Looks pretty damn interesting indeed! From what I've seen, it may look crazy in battles, but it becomes much more natural the more you play.

Nice to see a bit of innovation mixed into RPG battling for a change...

*RPG God?* *RPG Nut?* :lol: Thanks guys! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Can't wait for this. Should be a big hit in Japan, with any luck, so it gets a Western translation.

At least nowadays Square Enix doesn't have to rely on Nintendo to publish its titles abroad, thus lifting the chances of us actually seeing them!

Prediction for Japan? ~300,000 units, although it is the holiday period around that time (launches on 14th Dec), so it might be lucky and get above that with a decent start.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I'd say around 300k.

DQM and Tales of Tempest along with FF3, CofM & Slim Slim Mori plenty of RPG competition at Christmas time

Mike Gee of iZINE said, "...The Verve, as he [Richard Ashcroft] promised, had become the greatest band in the world. Most of the critics agreed with him. Most paid due homage. The Verve were no longer the question mark or the clich. They were the statement and the definition."

Are not too many people interested in this or something? It just seems like people don't really care, yet the more Square Enix support the better!

Good call Ashcroft :Smilie I really hope that it doesn't flop...but Square Enix is definitely doing a brilliant job of pushing its titles nowadays.

And Hmm, I think you're right - strange how people are shunning the yellow fluffy Chocobo. But that could just be the people on this site...maybe it's going to set the charts alight! We shall see...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

It looks really great, chocobo games tend to be a bit shit but it looks like they have put a bit of effort into this one :P

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Children of mana?

That came out in it wont be that much of a competitor at christmas

And i got children of mana but i wish i'd waited for all these new 3d games

Avoid Games Like the Plague, productivity++

Drakengard 2 is actually a very good game, but was overlooked in the US and Europe...and the S-E developed Fullmetal Alchemist games aren't bad either, so the fact that the main guy from those is doing this bodes well...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Oh this should be GOOD

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