‘World NeverLand: Daily Life in the Elnea Kingdom’ Has a LOT Going On and I May Be Dating a Cult Leader

Japanese life-sim series World NeverLand has been around since 1997, but it’s never been localized in English until now.

Daily Life in the Elnea Kingdom for the Nintendo Switch allows you to create a new resident, take on hours of tutorial quests, make friends, battle monsters, and plenty more, albeit it’s not pretty to look at and its plethora of options are quite daunting if you’re easily paralyzed by choice like I am. It also doesn’t support the Pro Controller, which took me by surprise.

 

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Visuals are about equal to a high-resolution port of a DS game, which certainly feels dated in 2018. Especially for $29.99 USD.

 

Getting it out of the way early, yes, the visuals aren’t very good. They’re not what I would call “awful,” but by 2018 standards they’re definitely dated by several console generations. Everything is sharp-edged and blocky, and character models resemble low-resolution Miis. None of Elnea Kingdom’s various zones are very remarkable, either, which cover typical playgrounds like forests, caves, farms, etc. It has an incredibly generic, dated, sometimes horrendous look and feel, but sets out to provide a casual life sim that lets you dictate how your character spends their time — and, to its credit, mostly succeeds. It’s not necessarily fun to me, but I wasn’t bored (if that makes sense).

This is a $29.99 USD port of the free-to-play mobile version on iOS and Android, though without in-app purchases and ads. That’s a pretty steep price for something that feels like a direct port of a free game, though I’m admittedly unfamiliar with the in-app purchases and their pricing structures.

 

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6-years-old may seem young, but it’s explained early on that citizens in the Elnea Kingdom age three-times faster than what we’re used to. So Debora, the 6-year-old Citizen, is actually 18. Alrighty then.

 

As for the game itself, it’s very menu heavy. You’re free to explore a massive kingdom with opportunities to socialize, fish, shop, gather, eat, and battle as you see fit, but most citizens spout off the same mundane dialogue unless they’re dressed in work attire (knights that patrol the forest, or scholars, for example). Greeting any of the hundreds of citizens opens a menu full of reply options, offering the chance for small talk (“nice weather!”), asking where they’re headed or what they’re holding in their hands, and (if they don’t blow you off because you’re annoying) repeatedly asking them the same questions eventually elevates them to “friend” status.

Since the dialogue window typically closes after each question, there’s a lot of mashing the A button and hoping you don’t accidentally talk to any of the other 20 people nearby. Should you eventually make “friends” with anyone, you can fast-travel to their location at any time, ask them out on dates, offer gifts (they’ll actually wear the clothing you give them), and sometimes despawn for no apparent reason. My first date was to gather herbs with Cecille, but they’d apparently had enough after 5 seconds and disappeared into thin air. I wonder where they went? Maybe Elnea Kingdom has a secret hell underneath where bad NPCs who abandon their dates float alone forever? I like to think that’s where Cecille is. Fuck Cecille.

 

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Elnea Kingdom is quite big and confusing to navigate, but you can fast travel just about anywhere from the L-button menu.

 

At the start, you’re given plenty of quests from the local barkeep which serve to familiarize the player with World NeverLand’s gameplay features, and while you can certainly explore the Kingdom on your own, everything can be fast-traveled to.

With a simple press of the L button, you’re greeted with another menu that lets you fast travel to Elnea Kingdom’s various locales, save your progress, check out your inventory, view a list of friends you’ve made thus far, change equipment, track quests, and get lost in a sea of Elnea Kingdom’s bulletins concerning policy statements, military budgets, and other information I found no reason to know about. Have I mentioned how overwhelming this game is?

 

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You can invite “friends” to explore caves and forests in order to battle monsters and collect rewards. You can choose your character’s attacks if you want, but I’ve yet to find a reason to turn auto-combat off while she shoots things.

 

I’ve been casually playing around with World NeverLand for about three hours and it feels like Animal Crossing if all of the sliders were cranked up to the max. The world is gigantic, there are way too many people to keep track of, and I’m still not 100% sure if there’s a goal beyond gaining citizenship within an in-game year.

I know you can get married, have children, and invite friends to go dungeon crawling (combat is mostly automatic and feels like a generic idle “clicker” game, though you can customize your attacks and choose between three different weapon types). I watched others play and they were mostly harvesting materials while ignoring everything else. Much like Stardew Valley, if you like the idea of having free time to spend on these aforementioned activities, you’ll probably find World NeverLand: Daily Life in the Elnea Kingdom more enjoyable than I am. Again, it’s not as if I’m bored, I’m just easily paralyzed by choice. It’s also difficult to recommend a $29.99 USD mobile port when said mobile version is free and translated into English.

 

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If your social level with a certain NPC reaches certain heights, you can take them out on dates. Doesn’t this look… lovely?

 

I’m not giving up, though. I’ll keep chipping away at quests and figure out what in the hell I’m going to do with all of these fish, vegetables, and stained glass fragments residing in my inventory. I’ve become “close friends” with someone named Linda, who appears to run off in the middle of the night to an area I’m not welcome in because I don’t have the proper attire. She’s old, married, and only likes me because I accidentally gave her the perfume I was carrying. A perfume I needed for a quest. A perfume I had to replace with my own money. Since she likes to hang out in places I’m not welcome, I’m starting to think she either has commitment issues or she’s in a cult. Ohhhhh, I hope she’s in a cult. How romantic.

World NeverLand is just as confusing as real life.


A complimentary copy of World NeverLand: Daily Life in the Elnea Kingdom for the Nintendo Switch was provided by the game’s developer. Due to the sheer nature of the game, I know I’ll never invest the time required to finish it. However, I still wanted to share my impression of the game’s opening hours and critique it accordingly.

3 thoughts on “‘World NeverLand: Daily Life in the Elnea Kingdom’ Has a LOT Going On and I May Be Dating a Cult Leader

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