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Bev Chen
19 Jan, 2011

The Wonderful End of the World Review

PC Review | Not so wonderful.
What do you really expect when you dive into a game with the title The Wonderful End of the World? It was a bit of an impulsive purchase for us so the description wasn’t looked at too carefully, but we expected an artsy sort of puzzle game, perhaps with soothing music in the background, but what The Wonderful End of the World delivered was nothing of the sort. What The Wonderful End of the World did bring us however, was a title that was aiming to be like the games in the Katamari series, in terms of not only gameplay but in charm and aesthetic appeal. In short, it doesn’t succeed.

Given the sparseness of this stage, it’s highly unlikely that the main character will have any fun with the items we’ll gather up.

Given the sparseness of this stage, it’s highly unlikely that the main character will have any fun with the items we’ll gather up.
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There’s a storyline somewhere in The Wonderful End of the World, but it’s unnecessary to the gameplay itself and largely unnoticeable if you don’t read any synopses beforehand. Unless of course, you listen really closely to the song that plays on the game’s main menu. But the things we do for you, dear readers. The Wonderful End of the World’s story goes roughly as follows: the world is about to end, so a girl decides that she wants to gather up as many things on Earth as possible. So cue her/your avatar, which starts off as an invisible puppet with floating particles attached to it to mark its approximate location and shape. The puppet strolls around with the help of your trusty mouse and keyboard and absorbs various items smaller than itself.

So what goes wrong? Pretty much everything. Visually, the game is pretty poor considering the game was released in 2008, but players with lower-end PCs might still find it sluggish. Gameplay-wise, absorbing things that are smaller than you works more in the way of items being sucked up automatically if you are in a close enough vicinity to them. A mild irritant, but it would be fine if the game wasn’t so picky about whether its core mechanic actually wants to work that way or not. In many cases, it takes several tries of walking back and forth past a single item before it actually gets absorbed. Keep in mind that you have a strict time limit to adhere to as well. Even more annoying is the fact that large objects bump you away off high platforms and the like, even if they are completely motionless.

Don’t mind me, just getting ready to fall off this table.

Don’t mind me, just getting ready to fall off this table.
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Another issue with The Wonderful End of the World’s physics is highlighted in the game’s treatment of what should be, in theory, solid objects. Instead of obeying the laws of science though, the game occasionally allows you to pass straight through such objects, but at other times leaves your puppet avatar stuck against them before literally throwing you back onto the level. It’s an annoying glitch that is almost certainly unavoidable and makes the game feel clumsy and unfinished.

But at least the way stages unlock on in the game is quite encouraging, with one or two stages being unlocked every time you get a ‘passing grade’ on a level. Mind you, we didn’t ‘fail’ any stages, so maybe it isn’t even possible to fail a level. There are a total of twelve stages, which for the most part are dull and don’t really have anything unique about them to make them memorable enough. There are a couple that stand out though, being as surreal as they are. The small number of stages may suggest a lack of replayability too, but to partially subvert this, there are three different modes. The default is Timed mode, with the other two named Timeless and Exploration (both self-explanatory). They don’t make the game too much more interesting to play, but they are good additions nevertheless. The music in the game isn’t bad either, although don’t be surprised if you get sick of the main menu music very quickly. Also to its credit are the twists The Wonderful End of the World provides on common video game conventions. The options menu is structured much like a questionnaire (“Would you like to hear music during a level?” “Sure!”) and an empty high score table does not display numbers, but rather several words that all mean ‘zero’.

Arcadia is one of the more interesting levels on offer.

Arcadia is one of the more interesting levels on offer.
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Unfortunately, a game is not measured by how unique its options and high score menus appear. Overall, The Wonderful End of the World simply isn’t a good game, especially given its Steam price tag of USD$9.99. It tries very hard to reach the standard set by the Katamari series, but instead plummets back down. Maybe on its way down, it will cause the end of the world. But it wouldn’t be a very enjoyable apocalypse.
The Score
With its familiar but poorly implemented game mechanics, The Wonderful End of the World comes across as trying to be a PC take on the Katamari series. But for the USD$9.99 price tag, you’re better off saving the money for something else. 4
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 Comments
3 years ago
Wow, was quite surprised to see a review of this game up given it's age and relative obscurity. Had been looking at buying this on Steam too, looks like I dodged a bullet there icon_razz.gif
3 years ago
i got it for free with AaaAAaAAaaAAaaaaa (etc)... on special... so was worth it IMO... lol
3 years ago
we are trying to resolve this spambot issue, please do not click on any of these links, it is not an affiliate catch.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  25/01/2008
Publisher:
  Dejobaan Games, LLC
Genre:
  Adventure

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