Viz Media and Rose City Games will launch The World Next Door on March 28, bringing this unique blend of anime-inspired visuals and puzzle-inspired gameplay to Mac, Windows, and Nintendo Switch.
Players control a teen named Jun, who is transported to a fantasy world full of other teens — it’s just that these teens are monsters. She must help them take down the evil forces plaguing their realm while looking for a way back to her human realm. To do this, Jun buffs up relationships with the other high schoolers, while also using an abundance of runes in grid-based battles. (When I played it at last year’s GDC, I found the game to switch between visual novel dialogue sequences and complicated battles, which developers referred to as Tetris-like.)
This is Viz Media’s first attempt at an original video game. The manga and anime publisher emphasizes the influence of its best-known work on The World Next Door, which definitely recalls a fantasy action anime with teens at the front. Meanwhile, Rose City Games has collaborated with Viz on other game-adjacent projects before; this is the Portland studio’s first internally developed game.
The World Next Door will retail for $14.99 at launch, and it will be on sale at Steam, itch.io, and the Humble Store, as well as Nintendo eShop.