HomeReviews3.5/5 Reviewthe World According to Girl Review

the World According to Girl Review

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It’s the end of the world as we know it.

This is apparently the case in the deck-building roguelike from developers Yondray, the World According to Girl. It’s a game that wants you to be the last hope to save what remains of humanity by executing a plan that’s out of this world. Should you revel at the opportunity to become a saviour in the World According to Girl, or is it an experience which is doomed to fail from the get-go?

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What is the World According to Girl?

Set in the future, you’ll take on the role of a Commissioner who’s in charge of the most important project known to mankind. The objective is to nurture a nameless girl into a well-rounded person, preparing her for a trip to space. Essentially she must be capable of communicating and interacting with other lifeforms in the galaxy. A lot of effort has gone into hiding all of this from the girl though, to the point of hiring actors to portray her family and to populate the city in which she resides.

There’s instant The Truman Show vibes for the narrative, and the foundations of it are pretty interesting. However, the execution of the storytelling through a visual novel style approach isn’t great and it’s unlikely to captivate you. I think it’s partly due to the translation from Japanese to English as this occasionally brings some slightly confusing dialogue and spelling errors. Furthermore, it’s actually hard to build an emotional connection to the characters because they lack identity for the most part.

Things get off to a rough start in regards to the gameplay too, with no proper tutorial in place to guide you. There’s a ‘Help’ section, but it doesn’t have the depth required to convey every aspect sufficiently. Hence, it’ll take at least one run through to grasp enough of what’s going on, which isn’t ideal.

The aim is to nurture the girl, mainly by using those around her, to increase four different attributes – Charm, Intelligence, Kindness, and Vitality. A playthrough consists of seven years in total and within those are six seasons, where a season is basically a turn. At the end of a year, there’s a test and succeeding will allow you to keep investing in the girl. Conversely, failing to pass the test leads to failure and you must start afresh, so the stakes are rather high.

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What area will you work?

On a single turn you’re initially tasked with picking a card from a trio of randomly selected cards and these feature actors to hire for a specific role in the plan. They’ll automatically be assigned to one of the areas in the city, before deciding which part of the city you wish to then energise by spending seasonal points. The higher the energy of an area, the more likely the actors there will influence the girl and improve her attributes. For example, if there are idols in the Entertainment zone, they’ll impart their stats on the girl should all go well.

Afterwards, you can tutor the girl for a guaranteed attribute boost, which could make the difference come the end of the year test. Known as the ‘Abigail Test’, the girl must respond to examiners who ask questions related to the aforementioned attributes. The answers are garnered from the girl’s memories acquired throughout the playthrough, awarded for certain achievements and interactions. You get points for selecting the most suitable memory, with more points given if the girl is particularly strong in the relevant stat. Passing the target score for two of the categories is seen as a success. Any less and it’s all over.

Focusing on the positives first, I think the actor card variety is decent and the abilities some possess are potential game-changers. Populating the city with people who’s skills have great synergy is a difficult, yet enjoyable, activity. The random interactions that occasionally occur between you and the girl are clever because the questions posed are really interesting and creative. She might ask you about Pi, a famous quote, or the Japanese wrestling promotion Dramatic Dream Team. Depending on your answer, it may lead to positive or negative reactions.

On the flip side, the random element is a real killer. Getting rubbish card offerings, failing to gain attribute boosts from an energised area, and experiencing a disaster event, can all limit your chances. I’ll never forget having every area at over 75% energy in a season and not one of them reaped rewards. Worse than that though, if you are too intense with the plan, there’s a risk of the girl figuring out what you’re up to, which brings about a sizable decrease in her stats. While it’s good that there’s a visible meter to keep an eye on in regards to exposure, it’s absolute balderdash.

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Hard to fully recommend

Somehow, during my best and most strategic run, the girl caught on at 0% risk. This random chance aspect affecting almost everything derails your momentum in an instant, and it’s tough enough to progress without bad luck intervening. The pass rate of the test is so high that you’ll scrape through at best until year three, which is when a rival shows up with almost double the power of the girl. Everything in the years prior has to go perfectly to even have a sniff of overcoming this competitor.

The small mercy here is that getting back in a new run is relatively painless as you can skip through the sections of the story you’ve already seen, or simply play without the story being present. The swift nature of the turn-based gameplay is a blessing too, so you seldom feel as though time has been wasted upon failing.

the World According to Girl has an interesting premise, but rather fittingly fails to execute the grand plan and falls short of being the great game it could be. After a rocky first playthrough, it’s easy to jump into for a few attempts here and there, with an addictive gameplay loop in place. The interactions are really smart and the range of personnel to hire is interesting. Unfortunately, the storytelling suffers for numerous reasons and so it’s hard to invest in that sense. On top of that, the chance element is a kick in the teeth given the fact it’s already very difficult to succeed, and is very demoralising.

It’s a tough one to recommend whether or not you should spend your cash on the World According to Girl. There’s something good hidden underneath its faults, so it all depends on if you want to seek it out.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Interesting premise
  • A handful of clever ideas
  • Addictive, with a quick turnaround after failure
Cons:
  • Too many random elements
  • Excessively difficult to succeed
  • Poor storytelling and text errors
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, AMATA
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch
  • Release date and price - 15 February 2024 | £8.58
James Birks
James Birks
Been gaming casually since the SNES as a youngster but found my true passion for games on the Playstation 1 (the forbidden word ooo). My addiction grew to its pinnacle with the purchase of an Xbox 360 & Xbox Live Service. A recovering GS hunter that will still play literally any game.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Interesting premise</li> <li>A handful of clever ideas</li> <li>Addictive, with a quick turnaround after failure</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Too many random elements</li> <li>Excessively difficult to succeed</li> <li>Poor storytelling and text errors</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, AMATA</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, Switch <li>Release date and price - 15 February 2024 | £8.58</li> </ul>the World According to Girl Review
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