I bought The Wonderful End of the World on the Steam Indie sale a few months back as it reminded me of Beautiful Katamari from the Xbox 360. This, coupled with its cheap price made it so appealing that I bought it in a heartbeat, without really reading anything about the game and mainly judging by the screenshots alone. This past week, I managed to play the game from start to finish, and got every achievement, making sure I explored every nook and cranny this game had to offer, so without further ado, here’s what I have to say about The Wonderful End of the World.
You start the game with the main menu screen (see above). From here you can change the settings if you desire, check out your trophies (they’re the same as the steam achievements), or play the game. Once you start the game, you’re presented with all the levels in the game, most are locked, but its up to you to decide how you go about progressing through them and which level you choose next. The first level you choose gives you a quick and brief tutorial, which sets the tone that this game is a carbon copy of Beautiful Katamari. You get dropped into the level, and have to instantly start collecting items to slowly make yourself bigger, trying to pick up everything in the level before the timer runs out. It’s a nice mechanic, and one that certainly makes you replay levels over and over to try and find the best route possible, but in doing so, it makes the whole game rather short. In some instances during play, it’s hard to determine whether you’re big enough to pick up a item, something the arbitrary score in the top right hand corner doesn’t help resolve. Once your timer is finished or you become big enough to finish the level (whichever comes first), you get a score screen with a rank at the bottom. This rank is determined by the final size you grew to, but is a bit vague when it comes to pinpointing exactly what you need to do for each rank.
Levels are unique, each having its own taste and design aesthetic, which really adds to the charm and personality of the game. You go from a shopping centre, to a café, all the way up to gobbling up a city, getting bigger and more ambitious as each level is finished. One of my favourite levels is of a 2D billboard town using vector graphics; It’s aesthetically very pleasing and unique, (if not a little bit sickening too) and makes it stand out compared to the game it’s imitating: Beautiful Katamari. One major pitfall of the levels is their size. They’re all very tiny, meaning the 3 minutes you’re given to collect as much as possible is trivial and easy to finish. I found that on my second playthrough I was getting A+’s on every level without trying, and finishing a level well within the time limit.
Past the fun and simplicity of it all, The Wonderful End of the World isn’t without it’s flaws. The game has no narrative, meaning that if you’ve never played a Beautiful Katamari game, you almost certainly won’t understand the purpose of the game. You keep seeing pictures of a woman with red hair (seen in the pics I’ve posted), but no context is given as to who she is or of what value she plays in the game. The total game time as well is extremely short, meaning I completed the whole game (100% achievements) in a little over 2 hours (This included restarting my progress and playing the whole game a second time).
In conclusion, I can’t help but say that The Wonderful End of the World feels more like a college students final year project than an actual full retail game. It’s fantastic proof of the concept that they can program this all from scratch, but the game leaves a lot to be desired, coming across as an unfinished mess rather than a brilliant take on an underrated genre it had the potential to be (much like Beautiful Katamari).