Developer: Spicy Tails
Length: 10-30 hours
World End Economica is a visual novel written by the author of Spice and Wolf, Isuna Hasekura. It is released by episode. As of this moment, there are only 2 episodes released.
I'd highly recommend this for those who like slice of life and heartwarming stories. There's a bit of drama in it too, but it's the insightful kind.
*Warning! Contains spoilers!*
The protagonist is Yoshiharu Kawaura, who was born and raised on the moon.
Yoshiharu goes to a cheap internet cafe, Big Bull Cafe, and looks at the Lunar Stock Exchange, which is how he primarily earns money because it doesn't require him to break a sweat. His goal is to earn enough money and live in the center of the lunar city, where most of the rich moon people live. Once he learns from the clerk that the police are on the way inside, he makes a quick escape to avoid getting caught. Law states that those below 18 years old had to be part of an educational institution. Since Yoshiharu is below 18, he has to avoid the police.
He decides to have lunch at the Lunar Chinese Restaurant instead since he can't go back to the internet cafe. He turns on his PC again to continue where he left off. The waitress there asks him a bunch of questions, which he found annoying. Just as he was about to have dessert, the police enter the restaurant and have lunch there. The waitress helps him escape, so he takes off and arrives in some sort of atrium.
A dark figure starts searching his bag. He tackles the figure and finds out that it was a black haired girl. She contacts someone, and the waitress from the restaurant arrives. A tracking device was apparently placed in his bag by the waitress, allowing them to find him. The waitress, who introduces herself as Lisa, invites him to stay with her, saying that it's her 'hobby' to take in lost kids like him. He agrees to go with her. The black haired girl, whose name is Hagana, complains about being unable to stand because he tackled her earlier, so Lisa forces Yoshiharu to give her a piggyback ride.
They arrive at what seems to be a church. He takes a bath for the first time since he ran away from home. After his bath, he finds Lisa reading a book. They talk about Earth, Lisa's hobby, books, and religion. There, he reveals his real name to Lisa. Their talk is interrupted by Hagana who suddenly appears in somewhat revealing clothes, making Lisa scold her.
The next day, he gets back to his usual activity of trading stocks. He does not reveal to Lisa what he does on the PC, but she doesn't seem to mind as long as it's not anything illegal. With Hagana busy, Yoshiharu and Lisa have dinner together without her. Lisa tells him that he has to work for his meals and lodging, so she mentions a bunch of jobs Yoshiharu can do. The earnings from those jobs are way less than what he usually makes when trading stocks, so he declines. He takes out 200 moules and gives it to Lisa as payment for staying 20 days. She looks baffled about how he produced the money. He assures her that it isn't 'dirty' money. She then decides not to inquire further.
Yoshiharu makes a visit to Newton City to boost up his spirit. When he returns to the church, he hears the troubled voice of Hagana. He runs to the kitchen, which is now a mess, and finds a man there with her. Yoshiharu takes down the man and restrains him, thinking he was a burglar. He soon realizes that the man is a debt collector, who is there to collect the 200 moule interest. He pays the man and lets him go. Hagana asks Yoshiharu to help fix the furniture and cover up the scene. She finds 2 lilies missing from the vase, so she asks him to find 2 lilies. He uproots lilies from a nearby area and teaches her how to cut the stems. Afterwards, he spends the rest of the time in his room reading the news and checking his e-mail. An e-mail about an investment contest comes in. He saves it in case he decides to join in the future.
Lisa arrives with leftovers from the Lunar Chinese Restaurant. During dinner, Lisa finds out about the debt collector's visit. Hagane kicks Yoshiharu under the table before he could disclose any details about how the room was a mess. After dinner, Lisa makes a visit to Yoshiharu's room and invites him to her room while Hagana is in the bath. She serves him some alcohol (whooahh... giving alcohol to minors, eh, Lisa?) and begins inquiring about the debt collector's visit. After learning about everything, she tells Yoshiharu about the debt.
The next day, Lisa asks Hagana and Yoshiharu to eat lunch together. When they do, he tries to apologize, but Hagana gets angry and reveals why she didn't like him: because everyone else is doing their best to survive, while he just spends the day in front of his computer and doesn't work. (She's just jealous that Yoshiharu puts in less effort and earns more money than her. lol) Yoshiharu heads to his room and begins thinking about his life. With all the dull market days, he is unsure about where he is going in trading. Additionally, there's Hagana adding to his stress too.
Right in the middle of Yoshiharu's mental struggle, the doorbell rings. It's Mr. Toyama who is looking for Lisa, saying he has something important to discuss. He waits in the living room for Lisa's return. He and Yoshiharu have a decent conversation, making Yoshiharu realize that he's not a bad guy. When Lisa returns, they leave the room to speak in private. Afterwards, Lisa comes back with a serious look on her face.
The next day is a day off for Yoshiharu, since the stock market is closed. He heads out to look for Chris and asks her what Hagana likes. Before she could answer properly, they see Hagana approaching, so Yoshiharu leaves before he is spotted. He goes back to the church. A while later, he receives a call from Lisa asking him to prepare hot cocoa and a bath. She gets back and he hears Hagana's door slamming shut. Lisa tells him that Mr. Toyama wants the debt paid back in full. Hagana caught wind of the situation and confronted Mr. Toyama, so Lisa stepped in to stop her and Hagana's elbow accidentally hit Lisa's eye. Yoshiharu decides to help Lisa through the investment contest so she doesn't have to sell her precious books, but he needed Hagana's help. They head to Hagana's room where she is curled up in the corner crying. Lisa gives her a hug and explains what they decided on. Right after that, Yoshiharu begins teaching Hagana about the stock market.
They also spend the next day teaching Hagana about stocks. In the middle of the lesson, they spot Chris at the window spying on them and blushing, probably misunderstanding something. She takes off once Yoshiharu catches sight of her. They continue with the lesson.
Once Hagana learns all she can, she mentions that they need a programmer to build them a program for their calculations. They pay a visit to Serrault, a friend of Lisa's who is a programmer. When they follow the directions of where his place is at, Yoshiharu finds out that Serrault is the afro guy from the Big Bull Cafe, the cheap internet cafe he always visits. Hagana describes the program they want him to make, and he accepts.
While the program is being constructed, Yoshiharu does all the trading. Hagana wants the program improved, so she asks Yoshiharu to accompany her to the Big Bull Cafe (cause afros scare her lol). When they get there, Yoshiharu opens the booth Serrault is in and finds him sleeping while leaving a porn video on. In panic, he tells Hagana to wait outside while he wakes Serrault up and pull the plug of the monitor. A clueless Hagana soon joins them. After doing their business, they start heading to the church, but Yoshiharu tells her to walk home alone because he wants to eat out. Hagana tells him she wants to join him. They decide to buy bread and eat at the tunnel, since Chris usually eats there too. Hagana has a hard time moving herself up the tunnel, so Yoshiharu carries her. (omg XD) They savor the amazing view together until Chris arrives.
Finally, they test out the program. When the prediction works, Hagana breathes a sigh of relief. They start relying on the program and slowly increase their rank in the contest. Yoshiharu decides to try out the program in the real market despite Hagana's pessimism about its efficiency. The program does work and soon people who also owe money to Mr. Toyama like Chris' family hear of what they're doing, so they entrust their savings to them to use for trading.
As the days progresses, Hagana's program improves and they begin relying on it so much. Yoshiharu loses his passion for trading and feels useless. He feels he has to catch up with the program or he will be replaced. He decides to see Barton again. Barton teaches him about getting insider information, and other predictors of the rise or fall of businesses, He also mentions that Yoshiharu's trading style became stabilized and wonders if he was working with one more person, which he terms as a 'quaint'. Yoshiharu admits that he is working with Hagana. Barton then advises him to part with her, because the essence of trading lies not in mathematics.
Yoshiharu decides to aim for first place in the contest, so he can give the money to Hagana and cover her living expenses before she enters the university. That way, he won't have regrets when he leaves to join Barton. Set on getting first place, Hagana and Yoshiharu work hard on trading. They end up sleeping together on the bed for a few days. Hagana asks why he wants to aim for first place. He mentions his intention to leave and follow his dream, which was to become an investor in Newton City and fund an expedition for Mars. Hagana starts crying when he tells her the money from getting first place is for her.
During the last day of the contest, Yoshiharu makes an attempt to raise enough money to get to first place, but it fails. Hagana is disappointed, but Yoshiharu tells her that it was a fun journey anyway.
Suddenly, Mr. Toyama and Serrault show up. Mr. Toyama wants to entrust his money to them too. They explain that they only have one week to raise enough money to pay back the debts. So, Hagana and Yoshiharu get to work. However, things don't go well for them. There's not enough time for them to raise the money, so Yoshiharu asks Barton to invest in him, but his offer was declined. However, Barton gives him some 'insider info' about which stock to look out for.
Yoshiharu trusts Barton's hint, which causes them to lose all their money. Barton tricked him. Yoshiharu collapses and falls into a coma from the shock. He is hospitalized and wakes up 10 days later. Despite him losing all the money, Chris and those who entrusted their money to him still visit. Apparently, Barton stepped in and helped reduce everyone's debt to 50,000 moules, so they're safe for now. When Yoshiharu returns to the church in a wheelchair, they find out Hagana ran away. The game ends there.
This game was a roller coaster ride of relief, tension, happiness, and sadness. I like games like these that don't follow the cliche plot where the protagonist endures hardship then wins it all in the end. Rather, what happened was the opposite. Choosing to end the story that way must have been done on purpose to make readers realize that what can't be severed by money are the strong bonds you make with people who care for you.
I was drawn into the story right around when Yoshiharu/Hal starts living with Lisa and Hagana. Lisa was an interesting character. She was like a mother or older sister figure who held with her the remnants and values of Earth culture. Honestly, I wanted to slap Hagana several times for being so judgmental at the beginning. Right around the second half of the story, she became more likable. I particularly admire her genuine desire to help people paired with her straightforwardness. She and Yoshiharu make a great pair.
And now for the not plot related things...
I love the music in this game. It definitely gives a 'moon' or space-like atmosphere to it. It sorta reminds me of Terraria music though. The background music was utilized pretty well when the scene was tense.
There were a lot of CGs in the game. Well, it is a pretty lengthy game. I love the one where Hagana and Yoshiharu are on top of the tunnel, savoring the view. It was just perfect for the scene.
Overall, this game is worth playing. You don't just get entertainment, but also added knowledge on stock market trading and insights on life! I can't wait to play the next episode.