World End Echo is a lewd match-three and visual-novel game about a man that must beat a game to save his life.


At-a-glance


(Adult) Content?
(F) Nudity.

Censorship?
No. Woot! Woot!

Hours of Gameplay?
Seven or eight hours.

Modding Support?
No.

Patch Available?
Download from Steam.



Gameplay

World End Echo is a linear visual novel with match-three combat. There are no player-choices whatsoever during the visual novel portions. Combat is battled via several rounds of match-three, with every win depriving your opponent another article of clothing. You literally can’t lose — anytime you run out of moves, you simply restart the round. The match-three portions become surprisingly difficult as new mechanics are added with each encounter. Matching rows of four or more will grant special pieces — don’t forget that by “right-clicking” special pieces, you can change their properties!

There is, however, a slight problem with the game’s RNG.

I can’t count the number of times I lost due to poor RNG. Many match-three games feature “skills” or “spells” which can help mitigate bad RNG (such as the ability to remove pieces without a row of matching colors.) In World End Echo, you will often have to navigate obstacles which color-specific weaknesses. If the playing field isn’t populated with the correct pieces, sometimes you just lose. I suggest saving on your last move before losing a round. That way, you can reload until you “roll” for an ideal playing field by reloading until you like what you see.

. . . yes, this is a game you can play one-handed!

Story

In a nutshell. . .

There’s this ordinary gamer guy, and he’s got his hands on the latest RPG — Oasis. He plants his head inside his shiny new VR headset, only to find out that he has been injected with a deadly, timed poison. He must beat Oasis within an allocated time frame in order to receive the antidote. Between him and the final boss are a string of mighty (womanly) warriors, whom prefer to fight-it-out than to talk-it-out. Will our gamer friend live to see the end of Oasis?

. . . out of the shell (with spoilers!)

Some guy dons his X Play Head 6 gaming headset, and with a turn of the key he is immersed in the world of Oasis, a long awaited RPG. He is greeted by Angel, who explains the predicament he (unwittingly) placed himself into. By entering Oasis, a virus has been injected into his brain (some. . . how.) Until he defeats the final boss of Oasis, removing the Play Head peripheral will have deadly consequences. He blacks during his first quest. When he wakes up, he is greeted by Steel Shield Maiden. She asks for the man’s name.

To his dismay, Angel set his Oasis username to Loser.

Loser defeats the Shield Maiden, and she points him to his next objective — the head of the maiden. Upon reaching the next checkpoint, Loser is confronted by a Maiden guardswoman, Hilda. Unfortunately, Loser does not win the following battle — rather, he is taken in by Hilda as prize for her mistress Tara. She explains that Loser will become the next sacrifice for the Maidens’ ritualistic Wild Hunt. He will be released into the Labyrinth, where he will be hunted (and killed) by prospective Maidens that seek the title of “Iron Hunter”.

At this point I feel like the writers just sort of rolled for generic fantasy names and copy/pasted ’em the story.

After Hilda has her way with loser, he fed and rested for the upcoming Wild Hunt. On that night he is released into the Labyrinth. He sets a trap to capture the first Maiden that pursues him, only to face Tara herself. She falls victim to Loser’s machination, and he threatens to leave her to fellow warriors’ will bound and naked. In exchange for her freedom, she leads Loser out of the Labyrinth.

Next stop for Loser is an unnamed bridge ahead.

Suddenly, a shield conveniently falls from the heavens, granting its user protection from an unknown “red alloy”. Loser faces this red alloy shortly after reaching the bridge. He is confronted by Vesta, and (for no good reason) she intends on killing him with her red alloy crossbows. With the shield in-hand he defeats Vesta and she grants him passage to her hometown of the Red Furies. Loser is escorted to Queen Octavia, who demands that he prove his worth through combat. Loser bests the mighty Fury in battle, and she guides him to his next objective, Last Refuge.

From the Last Refuge Loser manages to royally piss-off the local priest, Deva.

She ties Loser to pillar and with some creative use of the game’s mechanics he pockets his bindings and makes a break for it. He slips inside a portal to the Goddess’ realm, where he is found by Lexa. Loser leaves her bound and gagged and borrows her flying horse. With winged stead between his legs, Loser sets off to confront the final boss, the Goddess herself. He is guided to the final location by one of her personal guard. When Loser enters the Goddess’ chambers, he is met with a. . . plot twist!

The Goddess. . . is Angel (and honestly, I didn’t that coming!)

As it turns out, Angel is a representative of the company behind the Oasis game. She is tasked with selecting the best of the best to playtest their upcoming games. However, Angel is fuming with Loser’s . . . promiscuity. With every woman he defeats, he winds up invading their mouths in a heated passion. Loser suspects jealousy (and this character conflict goes nowhere.) He defeats Goddess and claims the antidote to his poison, only to stumble upon a hidden hatch from beneath her alter. It leads to a room with a hunched-up, fearful woman. When Loser questions Angel, she shoves him from her tower and initiates the ending screen.

. . . and just like that, it’s all over.

Upon reentering Oasis, Angel is nowhere to be found. Everyone he met has no recollection of meeting him. All Loser has is a secret code, but he has no idea what it belongs to or why the mysterious woman was held hostage by Angel. The main campaign ends, leaving both loser (and myself) with more questions than answers.

Visuals

I was thoroughly impressed by the titlescreen — it looks great! From “Settings” you may adjust audio, display, and language preferences. You can review unlocked CGs from the “Gallery” without any sort of user-interface. The “Controls” selection does not allow you to remap keys. Rather, it shows what keys do what (and frankly, all you need is a mouse to play this game.)

The Goods

There are eight static CGs to unlock, each depicting a female character in a provocative position. The artwork is high quality, but something about the style strikes me as amateurish. While male-on-female sexual intercourse is glossed-over in-game, there are no CGs that show sexual content. I would have liked to have seen variations of each CG, perhaps depicting stages of undress or orgasm.

Verdict

I definitely recommend this game — for the price of two USD, World End Echo is a steal. The story-telling and sexual content leave something to be desired, but the gameplay and interesting setting make up for it. This is a legitimately challenging match-three game featuring a cool story and lots of waifus. The sexual content is sorely lacking, but there is a lot of great nudity to see. Overall, I am impressed by World End Echo, and I hope to see more adult-releases from Graven Visual Novels.