This Week in Visual Novels: World End Economica Episode 1

Chris, Gaming Director:

Hey guys! Your gaming director coming back at you for another sick gaming review. I’m not sure if I mentioned this at the start of my first review, but one game I was originally thinking of reviewing was World End Economica Episode 1. I finally got around to playing (more like reading) it, so now I can actually review it.

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So what the hell is this game? World End Economica is a visual novel written by Isuna Hasekura – most well known as the writer of the Spice and Wolf light novel series (if you haven’t heard of it, go watch the anime adaptation because it’s fantastic). Combined with the forces of certain artists – the Spicy Tails development team was formed!

Unlike traditional visual novels, there are no choices that the reader is able to make. In other words, the “player” just reads the story, takes in the visuals and hears the soundtrack. If you’re an avid visual novel reader this may seem weird/infuriating/etc., but you get used to it after a while.

The story takes place on the moon 16 years after humans have finally colonised its surface. It follows the story of Yoshiharu Kawaura, a boy born on the moon aged 16 who has run away from his family in order to pursue his dream of exploring new frontiers for mankind and now spends his time holed out in various internet cafes in a particular outer district of the moon. He constantly trades on the Lunar Stock Exchange on his computer each day in order to make money to keep himself afloat – all the while keeping a lookout for authorities who have been trying to locate him since he disappeared from his family. One particular day our protagonist meets Lisa, a part-time worker at a local Chinese restaurant who ends up saving his skin in a close run in with the police. He then takes up residence at Lisa’s place, which happens to be a church, and gets given the nickname Hal. He meets another runaway girl living there around his age named Hagana, who despite being very cold, cares about those close to her and is an amazing mathematician. It is these mathematical skills, combined with Hal’s trading prowess, that hold the key to solving problems that these 3 face in the coming months.

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While the game obviously lacks in the choices department, it makes up for it in other ways. The plot itself is quite good – there’s a few twists and turns thrown in to keep the reader reasonably excited/anxious. The art overall is quite fantastic, although I feel it could have been used more since there are numerous scenes where there is text displaying for a long time but no visual to go with it except a black screen. Although this allows the readers imagination to come into it a bit, it is quite underwhelming. A big strong suit of this game (more like book amirite?) is the lovely soundtrack. Although not consistently good the whole way through, some tracks really shine and set the mood. This one’s probably my favourite of the bunch.

Now for the bad parts. First of all, the first 1-3 hours of the game is not very exciting. While it does set the background story nicely, I feel as though Hal’s character traits are exggerated and not particularly interesting – mainly in the way he looks down on others. I get that the author is trying to show Hal thinks he’s top shit and better than people from Earth – but some of his phrases just come out as completely unnatural, even if that person was a complete arsehole.

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As far other bad parts – there are so many typos in the script it is ridiculous. For a game 10 hours in length, it’s not hard to get someone to proof-read the script reasonably thoroughly to find these errors. When they keep popping up it is highly distracting and just annoys the crap out of you. Another thing that’s very annoying is in 99% of cases the background music doesn’t even loop properly! This is so annoying because it really affects the flow of your reading when music is constantly stop/starting instead of smoothly transitioning into a nice loop – especially when it happens every 2/3 mins over the space of 10 hours. Also the changing font functionality didn’t seem to work very well when I tried it.

Slightly irrelevant to this game as a standalone, but there’s also a few inconsistencies from episode 1 and its sequel.Because a different translation group are taking care of the sequels, various names are different. In the sequel, Hal is Haru, Lisa is Risa, Serrault is Cerrow etc. There’s a few others as well, which just take a while to get used to after 10 hours of reading the first episode.

Overall while the plot doesn’t start strongly it becomes quite an entertaining read. The music issue and the typos I talked about definitely detract from the experience however – hopefully Sekai Project fixes a lot of these issues when they go back and improve upon the release. I’d probably give this a 7.5/10, which is pretty generous given the issues stated above – but the story is definitely worthwhile at the end of the day, even if bits are predictable. Definitely recommend to anyone who is a fan of Spice and Wolf, because it is quite a similar narrative in many ways. If you’re interested, Episode 1 and 2 are available for purchase on Steam and aren’t too expensive.

Hope you enjoyed my review!

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