Game Review: The World Next Door
by Bryan Scheidler
VIZ Media is the largest distribution company for anime and manga in the United States. They represent some of the most significant properties in the industry like Weekly Shonen Jump, Pokemon, Death Note, and more. However, VIZ Media just launched something new with its first original video game The World Next Door. The World Next Door is a story-driven action /puzzle game that fits nicely in the gap between AAA titles and mobile games.
The World Next Door is from VIZ Media, so the first thing to discuss is the story and art. As you would expect from VIZ, the art and story are great. The world of Emrys is a dynamic and engaging world and the story of how our protagonist Jun gets there is very compelling. The characters we meet along the way are also just as colorful and diverse as the world and help give The World Next Door real depth. Unlike most current games the overall storyline in the early parts of the game feels very personal to your character. You aren’t some chosen savior who will save the world; you are just a girl trying to protect herself with the help of new friends. The scope of the story makes the game more engaging instead of just distracting.
As enjoyable as the story is, no game can survive on that alone (unless it is a virtual novel I suppose). At first glance, you might think the gameplay is just a new take on games like candy crush, but really it is so much more. While a core element of the puzzles is matching 3 or more symbols, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Then throw in that each set of symbols represents a different spell and you need to cast all these different spells while in combat and the game becomes something different altogether. Since it is a familiar style of puzzle game, it has a gradual learning curve. The difficulty does ramp up quickly though as the enemies become more aggressive, giving the game a nice challenge for any player. Of course, I never felt like the game was too difficult, even for a casual game player.
Ultimately The World Next Door is an excellent addition to anyone’s game library. It is the perfect game to play when you need a break from games that are more intense or demanding. It is available on STEAM, Nintendo Switch, GOG.com, itch.io, and the Humble Bundle Store
A review copy of this game was provided by the publisher.