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The End of the World – Android

The End of the World – Android

Platform: Androidunnamed

Developer: Sean Wenham

Publisher: Sean Wenham

Genre: Adventure

Release Date: December 11, 2015

Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10

It’s not often that a game is viewed as a piece of art, or can be seen as something the the developer poured their heart into. Not many games force players to stop and think about what’s going on and how the world got to where it is all while maintaining an immersive and interactive experience for the player.

The End of the World for mobile platforms does just that. It takes players on a journey through love, loss, and growth; wrapped in a beautiful environment and an involved, albeit short story. It involves a young man living in a world that he perceives has ended after the loss of his lover. While it may not seem like much (and believe me this game is shockingly short), the storytelling elements, artistry, and player involvement make the game worth a couple of replays.

trasition

The first cutscene in the game shows our character reminiscing a time when he once shared his bed with his lover.

Players start off by going through a brief tutorial that goes over controls and the interactive elements of the game. The controls are simple; press and hold the bottom left or right of the screen to move, and flickering objects are interactive. That’s it! With controls that simple, one can imagine the game runs pretty smoothly.

Interactive objects are easily identified against the backdrop, be it the protagonist’s apartment, the streets of the city he lives in, or the many locations the player can have him visit.  Interaction plays a vital role in bringing some light to the dark narrative. Players can have the young man drink coffee, smoke a cigarette, or chug a bottle of wine; all of which are coping mechanisms to deal with his deep depression.

teotw

Though dark and gloomy, the environment looks beautiful!

Initially, the protagonist’s perspective is a little..well..gloomy. Walls of his apartment are grey and damp, the sky is a solid overcast, and buildings are dark, dilapidated, and really nothing to write home about. However, the minimalist art style and hand painted characters, environments, and cutscenes are beautiful in their simplicity. While things are almost always depressing, all of that changes when the player comes across a clock. When pressed, clocks show a pleasant memory of the player with his lover (or ex-lover). These scenes are typically full of vibrant, warm colors, beautiful settings, and accompanied by a light, uplifting melody that brings forth feelings of comfort and remembrance. That is, until the clock is released and the setting returns to the sad, cold, lonely world from before.

While the story doesn’t spell it out for players, the protagonist is trying to get over an obviously harsh break up. Players are essentially tasked with helping the man get over his ex, or chase the idea of getting her back. The clocks scattered about various locations give some insight into how lover-boy feels about a certain place or instance, and why it is significant to him. Each memory viewed by the player is progress in the story. I see it as a way for the protagonist to reflect on the mistakes he made along the way that made her leave him. I also see it as a way of helping the player determine what path to take in the game’s final option.

teotw4

The End of the World is unique in that it was designed, developed, and published by one man, Sean Wenham. Sean is a former environmental artist for Ubisoft Reflections (Grow Up, Grow Home)  and currently for Heavy Spectrum (Shadow of the Beast). The sound effects and music were created from outside sources and assimilate well with the game’s atmosphere. Most of the game is silent, save for various sound effects such as wind blowing, a cup clanking against a counter top, or a door opening. The music, as mentioned above, is actually relaxing and worth listening to. All-in-all, it’s really a piece of living art.

tumblr_nxh2pzaJUH1tg3ia3o1_r1_540While The End of the World is an excellent game that takes players on an emotional roller coaster, it is a little bit short and almost doesn’t feel like a game at all. It falls more in line with an interactive story as the only choices the game presents involve where the player sends the protagonist and the order in which memories are accessed. The game does move at the same pace no matter what, after each memory is accessed, the game skips to the next day without allowing players to really experience every memory in a single playthrough. This warrants a solid one point deduction; I would have liked a little more gameplay with the narrative. Apart from that (somewhat minor) hiccup, the game is a complex masterpiece and a brand new experience all together. If you have a few minutes to have your heart broken while admiring a beautiful, yet depressing world, please give The End of the World a play.

Written by Poseidon

Poseidon

NC, born and bred.

I love my girlfriend, my dog, and I guess I like video games.
Also, I’m vegan so there’s that.

Twitch: PoseidonNB (schedule TBA)
PSN: MilesBirch
RuneScape: Not Zack

 
 

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