The World Next Door is about a girl named Jun who goes to a portal that connects Earth with this other world and then she gets stuck with her kawaii alien friends who work to return her home before she perishes, as Humans can not survive on this other world.
I found the game lacked balance between the start and the ending. The game starts off with a lot of energy and story that reminds me a lot of Night in the Woods or Oxenfree. It then quickly begins to turn into a monster of the week like crawl through what short bites of story you get and finally lands in a room temperature bowl of chicken noodle soup, lacking any satisfactory closure to the many plot threads that exist.
The action combat is puzzle based but I found avoiding damage to be tedious and cumbersome so I just turned damage off. Even then it can still be a chore to fight through some of the enemies who can use the runes on the board, making it nearly impossible to build large combos.
I’d be happy with the experience if it was on sale but at full price it felt lacking.
Ending Discussion (Major Spoilers)
So in the ending I received and I’m assuming they’re all rather similar to one another from a few YouTube playthroughs, but basically the dude with a ball in his head (Cornell) reveals that Jun’s father is actually a Emryn and that her mother is from Earth, thus she’s half Human / Emryn, he was sent forthwith to bring her back to her dad. From what I’ve seen no matter if you agree to join him or not, it’s basically extra content. It then moves through the same sequence of Jun being confronted with her friends betryal, the final boss fight and then some cut-scenes showing Jun returning from the portal.
What I have issue with is that:
- Most of the conversations with others between dungeons is a requirement to learn almost anything about the world and even then I felt like I don’t know much.
- You do not really find out what happened to the missing kids, at least in any playthrough I’ve seen so far.
- Is Cornell involved with rigging the lottery?
- Who were the enemies at the end of the dungeons, why were they there, what is the consequences of defeating them?
- Why wasn’t going to the police the smart play? Why wasn’t anything communicating with an adult? I talked to I feel like everyone and no one really said there was a known consequence for a Human in Emryn other than the whole dying thing.
- It went way too fast from the middle to the ending. It felt like at least one or two more dungeons were necessary to flesh out the story.
- There isn’t much character development in the sidequests to return to the dungeons. You don’t learn any new deep facts or hear any stories. You solve puzzles and get a high five.
I feel like this is part 1 of at least a 3 part series. I actually think the story is good if it was expanded on. I know there is a prequel comic but I haven’t found it yet.
Anyway that’s my thoughts on The World Next Door. Should you buy it? I don’t know. I did and I’m not crying about it, but it’s sort of like the same feeling if you bought Gone Home full price and found out it was a very short walking simulator.