Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

The World Next Door

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
The World Next Door Game Poster Image
Beautiful anime adventure has clever gameplay, profanity.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Loyalty and the bonds of friendship are the core of the story. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters in the game span a large range of personalities: they can be kind, snarky, studious, rebellious or shy.

Ease of Play

Match-three combat takes quick reflexes, but puzzles take organized thought.

Violence

A good part of gameplay is combat, but it's bloodless fantasy battles against magical monsters. 

Sex

There's some talk of secret admirers and crushes. The curvy main character wears a bare midriff shirt and short shorts. 

Language

Frequent use of words like "s--t," "asshole," g-ddamn," and mild curses like "damn," "hell," and "crap." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mention of teen characters drinking beer. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The World Next Door is a downloadable single-player anime-style adventure game for the Nintendo Switch and Windows Pcs. The storyline revolves around two kidnapped teens and follows a group of teenage friends who drink beer, break the law by entering off-limits dangerous places, conspire to hide a friend from the authorities, and get arrested. The gameplay featuring profanity like “s--t” and “g-ddamn,” and fantasy combat that's frequent, but without blood or gore. Teen characters talk about partying and drinking beer and engage in mildly flirtatious dialog.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

THE WORLD NEXT DOOR is a fantasy adventure game with match-three puzzle elements. It follows Jun, a human teenage girl attending an interplanetary festival on a magical world called Emrys. The portal between Earth and Emrys closes, trapping Jun on Emrys; unfortunately, since humans can't live long on Emrys, Jun and her friends must find a way to reopen the portal. Gameplay alternates between talking to friends either in person or through a phone chat interface and fighting monsters in a series of themed shrines. The latter involves casting spells on a 2D playing field by matching three or more colored runes. Puzzles involve a similar approach: players match colored runes either to destroy a target or eliminate the runes from the board. Exploration rewards players with items and Achievements, as does completing the various side quests.

Is it any good?

This game's clever premise, gorgeous art, and fresh take on match-three gameplay make it a standout even among much bigger games. The space magic premise of The World Next Door will surely win over would-be planet-hoppers, and if it doesn't, the colorful, anime-style graphics are sure to seal the deal. Art and design are stellar here, and the vibrant color palette (taken right from a candy box) screams “magical world.” The dialog keeps things familiar though, and characters contend with the same relatable fears most teenagers face. The talky bits are good, but the action sequences are even better thanks to a smart reimagining of match-three gameplay. Match-three becomes combat as the heroine dashes around what looks like a light-up dance floor, casting spells by matching colored runes. And though her squad tends to stand by and let Jun do the fighting, she can activate their unique skills by matching runes so they form special shapes. The process makes combat fast-moving and challenging, and though controls are simple enough, (provided you use a game controller; keyboard controls are not so good) winning takes forethought and quick reflexes. Beyond combat, this unique matching mechanic's also used for slower, more cerebral puzzles.

With such a heady mix of graphics and gameplay, The World Next Door should be perfect. Unfortunately, the writing knocks it down a star. Not the writing as a whole; the story's interesting and the dialog's funny and believable. The problem is that a core mystery's established at the start of the game that begs for resolution, but in the end it remains unsolved. It's a surprising let-down that could leave a bad taste in your mouth after so much time spent getting invested in the characters. Still, even with this disappointment, The World Next Door is great-looking, interesting, and fun, and interplanetary travelers will agree it's well worth a visit. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media reflects teen life. Do you think they get it right? Why or why not? 

  • What are you willing to do for your friends? Why is being loyal important for your friendships and relationships?

  • Is there ever a time authority figures shouldn't be obeyed? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love adventures

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate