World II World Review – A Split-Screen Rising Star Stuck With Flaws


While DeskWorks and Aniplex already have a glowing reputation with their fully hand-painted RPG Time: The Legend of Wright, their creativity jumps to the next level by applying the Nintendo DS’s split-screen system to the mobile game World II World. The visuals and core mechanics of World II World are close to what a traditional JRPG is proud of, but what makes it different is that players can experience the journey of two different characters at the same time!

World II World builds upon the generic JRPG, and experiments with the duo protagonist trope literally; the featured protagonist can be swapped at any time with a single tap on the top or bottom portion of the device anytime regardless of what’s happening, even in the middle of combat. 

Unfortunately, while the split-screen presentation is interesting to work with, World II World struggles to become more than just a novelty; the game has some noticeable flaws that hold back its potential. 

An Overarching Plot That Needs Time to Pay Off

World II World begins by describing a once-united world of Humans and Machina, who coexisted peacefully until they were forcefully divided apart by Divan, a malicious entity that wants to destroy humanity. The player meets Weave, an angel that wishes to reunite humanity and machina, and is tasked to guide her actions.

With Weave as an intermediary, it’s up to the player to reunite these lost Humans and Machina together once more, and defeat Divan at the Borders! Each chapter is divided into several quests and features two characters from different worlds, which is a nice touch with respect to the game’s overall theme. 

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The first two characters introduced to the player are Fujo and Lacca; a hot-headed Human boy with a prosthetic arm, and an emotionless Machina undergoing repairs in the Celestial World. The technological gap between the two is a clear indicator of the divide between the two races, which gets muddled when Lacca swaps her arm for Fujo’s prosthetic. 

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A brief introduction to the world’s history is given in the first chapter, which normally wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, as soon as you complete chapter 2 the player is forcibly switched to another pair of characters in a completely different setting, and has to manually return to the previous world after a lengthy introduction to continue. 

Combined with random battle encounters that feel shoed in, and World II World’s overall story is oddly paced with how quickly you pick up and drop important characters.

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Integration of Story and Game Mechanics Is A Mixed Bag

As part of World II World’s lore, the game distinctly separates the two main characters on screen, divided by a barrier to represent the physical distance between the pair. 

The visual feature pays off whenever the main characters meet each other for the first time; after getting used to having two smaller screens to work with, seeing the barrier disappear as Fujo catches Lucca is one of the game’s high points right from the tutorial.

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Being able to swap between worlds at any time mutes the audio of the story you’re leaving, which is a great narrative tool to emphasize the separation between the main characters. However, it can be disruptive if you accidentally tap the other world while in an important cutscene!

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One of the most pressing problems with this ‘separation’ theme is in World II World’s gacha. The standard banner only has characters, but these characters are locked to being usable in only one of the two worlds in the set. 

You can end up with a significantly unbalanced roster, putting one of the protagonists at a disadvantage! The protagonists of each chapter are useful, but it still feels awkward to have one party be so much smaller than the other due to something out of your control. Gacha characters also can’t be used in other worlds, which limits their viability.

You also gain very little gacha currency from completing each quest, so it can take a long time before you can attempt to grow your roster unless you are willing to pay.

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Interacting between the two screens in real-time is a feature I hoped to encounter when playing World II World, but my hopes were dashed as there weren’t any opportunities available to try this out. The game’s split-screen system is a novel mechanic that reminds me of the Nintendo DS, but this system feels disappointingly limited in its current state. However, as World II World is still a new game, future updates might add more opportunities to take advantage of this feature. 

Cute Art Style With Questionable Presentation

The aesthetic of World II World is on the simple side, favoring chibis and relatively sparse environments for each distinct level. 

It makes sense that low-key graphics are used, as the inactive world still moves in real time even if it isn’t directly controlled and uses more of the device’s resources. Consequently, this choice diminishes the visual impact of this game, especially during combat.

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On the other hand, the animations for each character are very fluid, even when moving both characters at once. While this would be praiseworthy, most of these animations are ‘stock’ animations that apply to different characters, rather than being unique to a character. Not only that, but the transition between a character’s idle pose and some animations feels clunky, and appears unnatural. 

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The graphics shouldn’t be an issue by itself, but there isn’t a Settings Menu to use if you want to adjust anything, which is surprising. The game’s visuals aren’t very taxing for most modern devices, but I’ve noticed a few instances where the characters sounded quiet compared to the rest of the game. 

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World II World Needs Some Work

The marriage of gameplay and story of World II World is one of the game’s high points, but in practice isn’t nearly as effective for what it’s trying to achieve. While the game has a strong focus on the single-player experience, the lack of a “Friends” system or any social networking feature is still surprising in modern times.

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Despite World II World’s faults, players looking for a simple JRPG should consider trying out this game, as more worlds are being released over time. Desktop and Aniplex’s devotion toward this theme is admirable and definitely worth a look! 

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peBDAUE1KKduR1vvWqqcG8pY86Krpt5js4ir TtRM CP3KBuS95M6ZAwR7aKzssnTFc World II World Aniplex Inc. Rate: 3.6 Download