With thanks to Circle Ent. for the review code.
If you were given the power to respond to the prayers of people around the world, to change their fates and make them happy, would you? WILL: A Beautiful World plays with that question. What’s the catch with this premise of playing god?
The story takes place from the viewpoint of Myth and Will, a pair of gods possessing the power to assist those that earnestly pray to a higher power, with the reader specifically interacting from Myth’s perspective. By altering events that have occurred before a person’s plea, they can drastically change its outcome. But even the tiniest of changes to someone’s life can trigger the ever-infamous butterfly effect, drastically altering someone else’s life in the process. But there’s more than meets to the eye to this otherwise selfless quest of life improvement that the gods are unaware of.
There are two things worth stressing about the story. Firstly, like pretty much any visual novel in existence, it really wants you to go in unspoiled given the kind of twists the plot employs. Secondly, those disclaimers at the beginning are there for a reason. They inform you with a sense of black comedy that the game includes occasional **** plots, to scream loudly in surprise to disturb your neighbors, and to have tissues ready, which is funny…until you start playing. It looks cutesy at first glance with a moe-ified personification of urban legends and her adorable canine looking companion solving problems of mere mortals, but no, the subject matter in this VN is not for the faint of heart and more than justifies the Mature rating it has. Tread carefully if you decide to get into it.
Compared to the plot, gameplay is much easier and shorter topic to tackle, because there’s little of it. To anyone familiar with VNs, this should come as no actual surprise. The modicum of gameplay involved in WILL revolves around rearranging events happening within the letters sent to you, and it’s gradually expanded upon over time. Often, you’ll need to arrange events between two letters simultaneously, with different conditions for success and failure. To ultimately proceed forward, you need an S rank outcome for any letters involved for the current scenario. For a majority of the game, there’s no serious punishment for failing since you can redo letters as many times as you need until you find the correct solution. There is a significant change to this formula further down the line, but it involves plot spoilers and thus won’t be touched upon. Otherwise, that’s it. This is the entire thing, which some might understandably find shallow. Either way, WILL is driven more by its story than gameplay, at any rate.
A good story is key to any VN, but for one to really solidify its grip on a player a VN must have good presentation to go along with it. WILL mostly succeeds in this regard. Artwork for the main characters is excellent, going through a rainbow of expressions for whatever the scene demands. The occasional presence of well-drawn stills adds extra character to a letter when they’re used. And the background music is thematically appropriate for each letter, going from somewhat cheerful to outright depressing; there’s that reminder of the content warning for you.
There is a definite low point to the presentation, though, which unfortunately is in the bulk of letters themselves. Whoever the current letter revolves around will be represented by their figure covered in shadow, which on one hand feels appropriate as a manifestation of their inner monologue, but on the other hand feels remarkably lazy and doesn’t show off more of the great artwork, which the characters clearly have. It’s not enough to diminish the overall value of the presentation, but it is glaring.
If you’re in the market for more standard games, then WILL isn’t for you. VNs have a very specific crowd as is. So in the rather limited market of VNs on Switch, how does it fare?
By no means is WILL: A Wonderful World perfect, but there’s something of a unique experience attached to it. It’s structured gameplay-wise in a way that is very easy to get into. The stories can be engaging and heartbreaking in select cases given the subject matter. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but the experience of trying to help someone advance with their life can be compelling. If this kind of story seems interesting to you, then this VN may be worth buying.