Bring the noise
Combat in The World Ends With You is handled by using the touch screen and d-pad. At any given time you can scan the area you’re in and the screen will be engulfed in a blue hue. From here you’ll be able to read people’s thoughts or fight enemies, called Noise, that are represented by floating icons. You can make your choice by tapping one of the icons of course.
Once you’ve tapped an enemy icon, you’re whisked away into battle and you’re responsible for combat on both of the DS’ screens. On the bottom screen you’ll be using Neku who has various upgradeable attacks activated through “pins” that give him a wide assortment of attacks. Movement and attacks are handled by the stylus, with offense initiated by slashing, sliding, tapping, pressing or drawing a circle. You can customize the way you want to fight by equipping up to 6 pins total as the game progresses.
On the top screen you’ll be in charge of Neku’s partner who will vary depending on the chapter you’re playing. Neku’s partners’ attacks consist of pressing the d-pad or buttons for lefty’s, and following the button prompts to the end of a chain, which will initiate the attack. You can go up or down along the chain on the screen, and this comes further into play as the game progresses because in order to activate powerful finishing attacks you’ll need to connect with certain prompts at the end of the chain input.
If this sounds like a lot to keep up with, don’t worry, the game allows you to set the parameters so that you can put the top screen on autopilot should you get in over your head. What’s nice is you that you have different options for when autopilot is activated. You can let the computer take over immediately, or from up to 3-10 seconds after your partner sits idle.
You gain experience through battles which will level up your character and more importantly your pins, some which can evolve into more powerful pins. And you can also increase your stats by eating a variety of food or wearing different clothes all purchased in stores throughout Shibuya. The World Ends With You has a lot of depth in the equipment department. The stats of what you are wearing can be enhanced or a hindrance depending on the clothing trends in the district you’re in. Eventually, you’ll be able to influence the trends which in turn makes this system irrelevant, but early on a nice touch.
One of the great things about the game is that you earn experience for your pins even when you aren’t playing. Depending on how long you are away from the game after you save it, the game will build-up experience and distribute it to the pins you are where wearing last time you saved when you boot the game up again.