All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
World's End Club, originally announced as Death March Club, is a game developed by Too Kyo Games that features a mix of puzzle and Visual Novel gameplay. It was given a partial release on September 4, 2020 for Apple Arcade, with the complete game and a Nintendo Switch version with English voiceover released on May 28, 2021.
In Japan, there is a class of underachievers gathered together from across the nation called the Go-Getters Club, who are noted to be unusual compared to their peers. One day, on a school trip, the class is caught in a rockslide while on the school bus and awaken in an abandoned underwater theme park.
Soon, the students encounters a robotic clown creature named Pielope, who tells them that they are now in a game of death where they will have to kill each other in order to win. Soon, the Go-Getters Club finds themselves embroiled in a game where they will have to fight for their lives, as mysterious powers awaken in them...and the world above starts to undergo some shocking changes of its own.
So begins a game of death for children, by children, starring children.
This game features examples of:
- The '90s: The game's set in the time period, with the opening movie setting it in July of 1995, with the rest of the game taking place a year later in July of 1996. This is neatly depicted through many of the character designs, many of which resemble trends with Japanese children of the time.
- A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: Reycho is given position of the Go Getters Clubs leader from Kansai. This later goes to Pochi after Reycho is destroyed and was revealed to be a robot.
- Affably Evil: The Master kinda comes off as this, being warm and welcoming to the kids when they arrive at the cult in Ehime. Even when his sinister intentions of sacrificing the children are revealed, he still remains very cordial. In the credits of the true ending you can see Mowchan cooking food for him and the cultists, with him seeming to be quite happy, implying that he was either freed from brainwashing, or befriended the children after MAIK's defeat.
- Arc Words: Paths. Mentioned in the intro and when Pielope explains the death game.
- Art Shift: The in-universe TV show that the Go-Getters are watching in the opening cutscene is depicted in a more realistic and gritty art style than the rest of the game, making Pielope stand out like a sore thumb in said show.
- Art-Style Dissonance: The art-style is decidedly cartoonish and exaggerated...which would make it all the more horrifying if the death game portions of the story were actually relevant.
- The opening scene as seen at Tokyo Game Show 2019 has a particularly meta one, given who is involved in this game. We see a scene that seems eerily reminiscent of Danganronpa or Zero Escape, with several high-school-age students trapped in a room with a cutesy mascot telling them the rules of the death game they are about to begin. In particular, the "bracelets" the mascot mentions are strikingly similar to those seen in Danganronpa 3, and the gritty art style is reminiscent of Virtue's Last Reward or Zero Time Dilemma. And then... the game pans out to reveal that this is just a show that the Go-Getters Club are watching on TV while on a bus trip through the countryside.Vanilla: What a weird show...
- The entire premise itself, as the game is written by the same team infamous for creating very murderous and brutal Deadly Game plots. This game appears to start the same way, but the death game is abruptly canceled and the game shifts gears to a puzzle platformer.
- The opening scene as seen at Tokyo Game Show 2019 has a particularly meta one, given who is involved in this game. We see a scene that seems eerily reminiscent of Danganronpa or Zero Escape, with several high-school-age students trapped in a room with a cutesy mascot telling them the rules of the death game they are about to begin. In particular, the "bracelets" the mascot mentions are strikingly similar to those seen in Danganronpa 3, and the gritty art style is reminiscent of Virtue's Last Reward or Zero Time Dilemma. And then... the game pans out to reveal that this is just a show that the Go-Getters Club are watching on TV while on a bus trip through the countryside.
- But Thou Must!:
- In the full game, when the Go-Getters Club is confronted by Pielope on a train, the only option you're initially allowed to take is to separate the train cars. The alternative, pressing the Emergency button, can't be selected until you've cleared the first route.
- At the end of the game's prologue Reycho won the Game of Fate and was awarded the magic key. However before he could use the key the way Pielope expects him to, Vanilla intervenes and points out that there is also a keyhole on the Sludgebot's belly. You are then given the option to approach either the Sludgebot or the theme park's exit, each with a set of disapproving comments from Pielope or Vanilla respectively. However Vanilla's dialogue will loop endlessly leaving you no other choice but to release your friends from the Sludgebot.
- A similar situation happens late in the game. Pochi, after remembering he is an X-Type, asks the Otherworlder, aka you the player, to help him. You then go to the typical decision selection screen giving you the choice of either helping Pochi or remaining silent, implying you are reluctant to help. Choosing the remain silent option cues Pochi asking why you aren't and continuing to beg for your help. You are then sent back to the selection for you to pick the other option.
- Butt-Monkey: Both Pielope and the Master are at the expense of a lot of comedic moments in serious scenes, from simply being ignored to straight up being made fun of by the children.
- Cliffhanger: The Apple Arcade early release version originally ended on a cliffhanger, until the complete version of the game was released in 2021. It's revealed that Reycho was a robot being remote-controlled by Pochi, and outing him as a MAIK mole when he refuses to fess up, causing him to run away. After making it back home, everyone then discovers that Tokyo has been reduced to ash, and when MAIK forces show up to attack them, Pochi comes back to save them, where it's revealed that he was also a robot called PCH-01, and is taken back to the club's old classroom as he falls into despair due to betraying them. The story ends on an apparition of Yuki promising to sort things out, with Pochi musing on who she really is.
- Chekhov's Gunman: A meta example with all of the Go-Getters Club (sans Reycho). It looks like they would all be background characters who would die in the game of fate, but after the Bait-and-Switch happens they all become very important.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Tattsun's Buddy Skill allows him to transform into the antihero, Electro Ranger Black. While in this form he is condescending and frequently insults people, friend and foe alike. He is also takes risks that he normally wouldn't take like firing a blast at Pielope that would've potentially killed two of his friends if Pielope didn't dodge it.
- Dead All Along: Subverted with Vanilla, who apparently died a year before the Go-Getters Club was kidnapped, but eventually turns out to be in a different sort of Heaven. Her "ghost" was actually her Buddy Skill, Ultra Soul, which allowed her spirit to separate from her physical body.
- Deadly Game: A variant is played as the game's prologue. The characters all have to complete a Task, and the first one to do so gets a Magic Key that opens the only exit. (In actuality, no one actually dies.)
- Defictionalization: In-universe, the Game of Fate first appeared to the Go-Getters Club as a TV show before they were forced to play it.
- Developers' Foresight:
- If you make decisions that avoid various confrontations with Pielope, unique dialogue will emerge on the first unavoidable confrontation. Specifically, the cast will have forgotten Pielope and will treat its Evil Costume Switch as a new, ugly threat rather than the Big Bad.
- During the Deadly Game, it is possible to fail Reycho's task by waiting 50 minutes in real time. It's near impossible to do so by playing normally, but if you do, then a unique scene with Pielope plays. Additionally, out of the tasks that need to be done within a time limit, Reycho is given the least time to do so, preventing any other character from completing their task before the aforementioned scene appears.
- Downer Beginning: The start of the game shows the Go-Getters Club going up to face MAIK, but then getting one-shotted by one of MAIK's servants and completely wiped out. The game then shifts back in time to the start, saying that there may be a way to avoid such a fate for them.
- Downer Ending:
- Not the whole game, but the cliffhanger ending for the Apple Arcade early version has Pochi having visions of the Go-Getters Club calling him out on being the traitor, and sending him into a state of despair while trapped in their old classroom. A vision of Yuki, however, promises to sort things out.
- In the full version of the game, the "Ending 1" route has the entire Go-Getters Club die in a helicopter crash right as they reach Tokyo's remains.
- Exact Words: "Vanilla has gone to Heaven" turns out to refer to a place called Heaven, specifically a secret research facility.
- Expy: With her black-and-white color scheme, red misshapen left eye, and status as the voice for the mastermind of a Deadly Game, Pielope is meant to invoke the same vibes as Monokuma. Makes sense, considering some of the creators of Danganronpa also worked on this game.
- The Faceless: Those at the religious cult in Ehime that warship MAIK wear masks that cover their faces.
- During the Deadly Game, Reycho has Vanilla's task on his bracelet, which was to "Eat a Marshmallow". Unlike everyone else's task it doesn't relate to any of the other Club members nor does it have anything to do with the Amusement Park environment. It's also potentially straight-up impossible since there's nowhere to even get a marshmallow. This foreshadows that Vanilla is the odd one out/a ghost, because her being unable to complete her task guarantees at least a living member of the club can win. It also foreshadows that she's the Mastermind, because anyone else whose task becomes impossible is sludged immediately.
- Whenever Reycho is shown talking to someone or is being directly addressed, Pochi can be seen playing on his handheld game, hinting at the fact that he's controlling Reycho.
- Vanilla is the only Club member aside from Reycho to not get captured at the end of the Deadly Game, despite the fact that he already completed his task and her own task was likely impossible to begin with.
- Reycho, Pai, and Pochi are the only people to acknowledge Vanilla's presence. Especially egregious during the Deadly Game where Reycho, Vanilla, and Aniki were at one point the only ones left standing with the former and latter being the only ones Pielope acknowledges.
- After the group jokes about how Pochi hasn't been all that useful, Pochi sulks before facing Reycho and asking "Do people like me exist in your world...?" After playing through the game it becomes apparent that Pochi wasn't talking to Reycho but to the Otherworlder.
- When the gang speak with MAIK during the route towards the true ending, whenever a cut-in of everyone's shocked reactions appear, Yuki's expression is strangely more reserved and unsurprised, foreshadowing the fact that she's one of MAIK's subpersonalities and knows more than she lets on.
- During this confrontation, MAIK says that there isn't a single member of the Go-Getters Club who hasnt awoken to their Buddy Skill, despite Yuki apparently being skill-less. This foreshadows that Yuki wasnt meant to have a Buddy Skill at all.
- After Pielope's last defeat, she reveals herself as a sub-personality of MAIK, Yuki for a brief moment gets an worried expression. This is due to being aware that she is also a sub-personality that originated from MAIK.
- Genre Shift: The death game is cancelled early on, and stages after that mainly take a puzzle-platformer approach.
- Harmful to Minors: The Game of Fate is set up as if 10 of the 11 initial children will die. Subverted when it turns out they didn't really die, and especially when Vanilla is revealed alive as well.
- Double Subverted in terms of the rest of the game. A group of kids, all 12 years old, travelling on foot all across Japan After the End, running into otherworldly aliens and beasts that can kill them, being kidnapped by monsters, having to deal with a cult with half of the students being planned on being used as a sacrifice for said cult, being hunted down by a vengeful robot...The list goes on, to say the least.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: Pielope. At the start, she seems to be the villain. After it's revealed that the Deadly Game was harmless, it seems she was Good All Along... except by then, she's already been taken over by MAIK, and is genuinely trying to hurt the kids. With her being repaired by Yuki in the end credits, she might legitimately turn good, but this is left open-ended.
- Heroic Mime: Reycho never talks, even in dialogues or when stages focus on other kids. This is averted in the true ending of the game when he speaks after becoming self aware.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- The main catalyst that causes each of the Go Getters Club members to unlock each of their Buddy Skills.
- A literal example happens when Reycho dies after throwing himself in front of a UFO to save his friends. Downplayed when it's revealed that Reycho was a robot and was controlled by Pochi to do that.
- Another examples comes during a flashback, when it's revealed that Vanilla didn't run out into the street carelessly. She knowingly threw herself in front of a speeding truck to ensure the safety of her friends. This was when she unknowingly awoken to her Buddy Skill, Ultra Soul.
- How We Got Here: The game starts off this way, with the Go-Getters on their way to confront MAIK before facing an enormous creature and getting vaporized instantly. This ends up getting subverted when it turns out that scenario actually occurred in an Alternate Timeline.
- Interface Screw: In the first playthrough of the train level, when another choice selection occurs. Just as the choices appear, an unknown force suddenly prevents the "emergency stop button" option from being selected. Its only after viewing "Ending 1" can the option be chosen.
- Aniki, especially during the Deadly Game due to brainwashing. He's not much better afterwards, being very cold and distant to the others and not entertaining the notion that Reycho, Pai, and Pochi are seeing his sister's ghost. Justified due to blaming himself for Vanilla's death.
- Kansai also has his moments, letting his self-appointed role as leader go to his head and being straight up rude to his friends.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: The February 17th Nintendo Direct trailer for the game casually reveals that the Deadly Game is called off suddenly and the game becomes a puzzle platformer. Of course, the context behind the spoiler itself is never actually mentioned in the trailer.
- Lighter and Softer: The 'Game of Fate' the children are forced to play is far less dangerous than to be expected from the creators' other works. The tasks the children are forced to complete are simple and not very threatening, such as riding a Ferris wheel car, going down a slide, or giving a male student a hug. The penalty for losing isn't immediate death, but being captured and placed inside a robot that is said to slowly digest them. This all foreshadows that the Game of Fate isn't actually trying to get them killed at all.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Pai forgets who the mastermind is before she can reveal it to the others, as a result of almost getting squashed. This was completely unplanned by, but fortunate for, said mastermind.
- Meaningful Name: Potentially justified if these are nicknames.
- Aniki is Vanilla's older brother. His name literally translates to "Big Brother" in English.
- Chuko's character design references mice. "Chu" literally refers to the Japanese onomatopoeia used to describe the squeaking of mice, and "ko" is the typical kanji that translate to "Child".
- Missing Mom: Nyoro's mother is never mentioned, despite her father having a role in the plot.
- Multiple Endings: There are two endings. The True Ending can only be accessed after getting the first Bad Ending, with the implication Reycho gained the knowledge of the timeline after experiencing it.
- Mythology Gag:
- Pielope being an expy of Monokuma as the host of a Deadly Game.
- For the Zero Escape series, after the initial completion of the train level. During the second time, The Otherworlder realizes that they already experienced this moment, and quickly have to make an alternate choice to avoid the Bad Future.
- Only One Name: All of the characters seem to not have any last name given to them.
- Parting Words Regret: The last thing Aniki says to Vanilla before her (apparent) death was to go get marshmallows herself after she threw a fit over there not being marshmallows at the barbecue. Aniki was really devastated about it, therefore this leads to him distancing himself from others.
- Plot Hole: Mild one, but there is no indication in-game on where Nyoros dad was being kept or how Nyoro even managed to find him at the end.
- Product Placement: The game usually averts it, using Bland-Name Product for things like the Takarazuka Revue, however it does contain actual product placement for Karamucho and Lifeguard, with the former being central to Chuko's superpower and the latter being usually sold up as a miracle drink.
- Quicksand Sucks: Non Quicksand example: A game over involves Reycho Vanilla and Pochi slowly sinking into pink coloured water at one point.
- Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Averted. Reycho is a Heroic Mime but the other characters simply reply to him as if he said something, rather than repeating what he couldve said.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: The TV show that the Go-Getters are watching in the opening cutscene has the cel-shaded and cartoonish Pielope interacting with realistic humans.
- Sadistic Choice: The Go Getters Club end up facing the option to either become Shepherds or let everyones Nanomachinces in their brains explode.
- Second Hour Superpower: Reycho gets the ability to throw things very hard and far at the end of the death game, with the other club members (except Pochi and Yuki) unlocking their own powers later on. Subverted with Reycho, with his ability to throw things just being an augmentation of his model's physical capabilities.
- Story Branching: At points in the story, the group splits up, and Reycho can choose which group to join. They will all eventually meet up at the same location, taking different paths. After reaching "Ending 1", you unlock the ability to go back to previous stages and take the other path, and many of these alternate paths are required to beat the game.
- Take the Third Option: What the Go Getters Club ultimately try when confronted with MAIKs decision.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Chuko gives a scathing one to Kansai if the group goes to Osaka, which Kansai was pushing for, the reason being that Kansai is not a very good group leader, having been making reckless and selfish decisions that affects the rest of the group. Kansai initially denies it, even kicking Chuko out of the group temporarily, but later acknowledges it to be true, giving his leader badge to Reycho, seeing him to be a better leader.
- The Theme Park Version: Of a Deadly Game. Especially because it literally takes place in a theme park.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The Nintendo Direct trailer for the game reveals the Bait-and-Switch cliffhanger from the original version, where the "death game" is cancelled and the cast now finds themselves trekking across the country to get back to Tokyo.
- Twice Shy: It's blantantly obvious Aniki and Pai have feelings for each other, but it's held back by Aniki distancing himself from the group after Vanilla's death. Even after he mellows out, both he and Pai are still too nervous to admit that they are in love.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Chuko. It's becomes apparent that she had spent a lot of time hanging out with Kansai before the events of the games. And soon becomes even more apparent that Chuko has feelings for Kansai, but Kansai seems to be more interested in Yuki. This is ultimately averted by the end of the game when Kansai admits that he has also had feelings for Chuko.
- Vocal Dissonance: Most of the Go-Getters Club have this in both Japanese and English. Nyoro, Jennu and Aniki especially.
- Wham Episode: The first stage, and the death game itself, ends with Pai kicking Pielope to bits, then announcing the game is cancelled, a message given to her by the mastermind.
- Wham Line: One in Hyogo that cements the reveal. It's slightly different depending on which path the player took.(option A) Chuko: "Vanilla died two years ago..."
(option B) Chuko: "Because last year, Vanilla... She died..."
- Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Some sprites have characters do this when they are in a state of suprise or fear. Kansai and Chuko are the most notable ones.
- Where It All Began: The final few stages bring the Go-Getters Club back to the underwater amusement park from the very beginning of the game as that's where the Heaven facility housing both MAIK and Vanilla is located.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: After the Go Getters Club finally defeat Pielope, they find out MAIK was not in the location they thought he was and that Pielope actually tricked them.
- The road is so long, the nights are so cold,
But our friends have been there from the start.
Even if the world comes to an end,
Go-go-go-getters will never fall apart!