In the game you play as Neku Sakuraba, who wakes up in the busy Shibuya district of Tokyo at the beginning of the game with no memory of who he is or where he came from. It is revealed to him that he is playing the Reaper's Game, a 7 day long game in which he must fulfill various missions to progress onward and win the game. He teams up with his partner to erase Noise, monsters that exist in the Reaper's Game, and to solve different riddles and puzzles laid out by the Reapers.
The game is incredibly unique in many ways. First of being the battle system, in which you fight on dual screens at once. You control Neku with the stylus, using various movements to activate 'pins' he wears which give him 'psychs' or abilities. Neku's partner is controlled with the control pad or alternatively with the ABYX Buttons. A 'Light Puck' travels back and forth which increases the attack of the characters moves the more combos they preform in sync. Occasionally there are slight changes in partner controls, but it overall remains the same layout. The system can be difficult at first, but is actually rather enjoyable once gotten the hang of.
The game has unique brand/infulence system in which if you wear a brand of clothing that is trendy you get bonuses to attack. But if you wear clothes that are out of style, the game employs a penalty on you. Switching brans of clothes and pins to suit your surroundings help, but you are not completely lost if you don't have what's hot at the moment. By wearing clothes and fighting Noise you increase the popularity of the brands you're wearing.
The game also has a system which encourages players to eat to gain attack and defense. The player has several options to reduce Neku's attack and deffence, for added rewards. The game comes in several settings: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Ultimate. The higher the level the higher the enemy attack and defense, but the better the rewards. Chaining battles together, fighting more than one fight in a row, also increases the likeliness of getting better pins. The player can voluntarily reduce Neku's level, decreasing his attack and defense, but increasing rewards.
The story is very compelling, filled with twists and turns you won't see coming. The characters are deep and rich, each with lots of personality, and personality flaws. The story explores problems that all teenagers have, such as fitting in, lonliness, jealousy, and trouble trusting people. Through out the story Neku learns how to put faith in people and trust them, unlike before. Like many Nomura games, the plot focuses on people and how they relate to one another, on both a small and massive scale.
The game was made by the same team that made the international hit Kingdom Hearts. Production for the game began roughly after Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories was complete.
The World Ends Wth You was recieved with high praise for its graphics, soundtrack, storyline, and innovation. It was the second top selling DS game in Japan, and the top selling DS game in the US on the week of its release. The overall reception of the game was very high by game critics, earning a 9/10 from IGN, Gamespot, and GamePro. X-Play, a popular video game rating television show, gave it a 5/5. As of August 2008, the game has sold around 240,000 copies in North America, topping the earlier-released Japanese version.
(Not all of this information may be 100% acurate. Dates and statistics may be slightly off. Most were double checked however. Some of the statements above are opinions of the author and are based on hands on experience.)