A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that World's End Club is an adventure game available for download on Apple Arcade. The story follows the adventures of twelve 12-year-old kids in Japan. The game's audio is in Japanese, but the game is subtitled. There's occasional foul language and some violence, but nothing that's too rough. Action is more of an interactive story, with the weight put more on story. There are a lot of interstitial videos, occasionally broken up by some fairly easy gameplay. And the game ends with a cliffhanger, which leads into an upcoming Nintendo Switch version of the game.
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What's it about?
In WORLD'S END CLUB, 12 students are on a bus ride when a meteor strikes the earth. They wake up to find themselves in a sub-oceanic amusement park, being forced to participate in a game clearly taken from the movie Saw. Only one can win, while the others are turned to goo. After playing through the "Fate Game" to find that none of their friends were actually killed, the 12 find themselves back above ground, over 1,200 kilometers from home, in a world that's abandoned and occupied by mutated plants and creatures. They make it their mission to return to Tokyo. Along the way, several develop superpowers that help them defeat enemies (such as giant roly-poly bugs).
Is it any good?
It's hard to classify this adventure as a game, since so much of the player's time is spent watching narrative segments. Adventure games always have a strong story element, but World's End Club is more story than game (and the parts where you actually do interact with the game are incredibly easy -- presumably so that you'll continue on to the next narrative segment). That's annoying, but the game holds your attention nonetheless, in large part because of its wonderful atmosphere. World's End Club looks like no other game -- and it doesn't rush anything.
The biggest ding against the game, though, is that it ends in a cliffhanger -- and to see how the story ends, you'll presumably need to buy an upcoming version for the Nintendo Switch. Characters are a bit one-dimensional, and many of the surprises are telegraphed pretty far in advance. It's the sort of game that's worth spending a couple of hours with if you've already got an Apple Arcade subscription, but certainly not one that's worth signing up for.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about conflict resolution. If you're arguing with friends, how do you resolve it? Are there ways to handle disagreements without resorting to violence?
Do you stick with a friend even when you're mad at them? Is there something that a friend could do that is a step too far for you? Why is loyalty to friends important?
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