Though I have a great love for comic books, of the superhero variety, I never got much into the Manga style. Though I don’t mind the anime style in my cartoons and video games. A fact that can be backed up by my love for Speed Racer, Ultraman, Gigantor, and others. A “light novel” is a style of Japanese young adult novel writing primarily targeting high school and middle school students. In the States, these types of novels are typically called “Young Adult”. One particularly popular Japanese light novel is the Spice and Wolf series written by Isuna Hasekura.
Now Isuna has taken to authoring a visual novel aimed at gaming systems, most notably previously Steam and now the Nintendo Switch. We had a chance to look at this “game” called WORLD END ECONOMiCA ~Complete~ and we’d love to share our thoughts with you!
It’s A Story About A Boy Named Hal
This “complete” edition includes all three episodes of the “novel” WORLD END ECONOMiCA. The story takes place in the far future on the moon where humans have now begun to colonize. A young boy named “Hal” has been chasing his wildest dream. His dream is expensive, and in order to fulfill it, he needs capital, an insidious amount of capital, or money. What better place to get that amount of capital in a short period of time other than by playing the stock market? The story is told from Hal’s perspective.
Know What You’re Getting Into
I enjoy “graphic novels” as much as my fanboy comics. I originally approached WORLD END ECONOMiCA assuming it was a graphic novel. My definition of a graphic novel is panels of unique pictures with words to read within each panel. This is where my time with WORLD END ECONOMiCA fell short for me and I’ll explain why.
To be frank WORLD END ECONOMiCA is less “game” and more a true “visual novel”. You’ll essentially be hitting the “A” button to proceed to the next “page” of scrolling text and a 2D styled drawing. There is no interaction here, e.g. dialogue choices or puzzle solving. And when the text meets the 2D artwork this is all quite good. And I’m fine with “gameplay” as I’ve played many low interactive, graphic novel-based games and enjoyed them. My issue here is that there are too many of the same, or similar, static images used repeatedly. In some sections, there is actually no artwork, just a black screen. Not just one, but several screen’s worth.
When artwork is presented it is quite lovely it’s just the sections where stagnant art or no art at all that the boredom started to settle in. During these times this “visual novel” felt more like reading a true paperback novel and it started to lose me. Maybe there was a technical reason for these lulls, e.g. to keep the memory footprint smaller? Even so, the “game” takes up 4.5 GB of Nintendo Switch card space.
From A Book Perspective
The story is a telling of Hal’s story told by Hal. We learn how to play the stock market, Hal’s ups and downs in the market, and his life in general. We learn about the people he meets along the way, and how to make dreams come true. For anyone who truly loves to read books, this one will probably be a great addition to have on your Nintendo Switch. If you’re like me and like a little more dynamic, changing artwork then it might become a tad boring.