One thing I really like about outlandish games is seeing how far I can push their boundaries. As an interactive art form, games are uniquely in their ability to react to impulsive desires. For instance, in The World is Your Weapon from Japanese developer kagaya (@qqrypwqy), you are thrust into the world as Weaco, a young girl who works as a Weapons Merchant. Here, everything is a possible bludgeon for you to wield against monsters. It’s incredibly silly to pick up a full-sized tree over your head and slap about some slimes with it. It’s even sillier to have that tree break mid-battle, so you pick up one of the slimes, and use them to beat down the rest of their compatriots.
Things don’t end there, though. Your mind starts racing: “What can’t I pick up?”. So, you try everything you come across. What about this lake? It does 18 damage. This house? Has a great knockback effect. Surely, absolutely, I can’t pick up this story-critical NPC as a makeshift mallet… Yet, you can, and she buffs you each time you swing her. It’s a gleeful experience when a game offers a possibility space of a fully orthogonal basis, and takes its options to their extreme logical conclusions. Every time you doubt the game, it doubles down and has you rethink, one step further, how you can interact with the world.
The World is Your Weapon is presented with a thick, gloppy coating of JRPG fare: a dead father gives way to a quest to gain a legendary weapon, leading to the mission of toppling the Demon King, biding his time before he unleashes hell on the world. You move about in a grid-based environment, enemies moving in response each time you do — much like a classic roguelike. Defeating them results in experience gains, which in turn grant you higher levels with better stats. Where The World departs from these predictable hallmarks, though, is in the obscene amount of freedom it affords the player.
Beyond the obvious, like hoisting a dog over your head to beat down some demonic entities, The World offers no strict, linear path to which you’re bound. Immediately after the tutorial, you’re thrust into the whole wide world and may go wherever you please. Your only objective is to try and adventure to find a legendary sword, with some further direction offered down the line in the form of dungeons to tackle. Puzzles await you in their depths, along with bosses you’ll have to give your all to defeat.
Or, you can just pick them up and add them to your armory, too.
The World keeps track of your chosen weapons, and if you’ve used them or not. When you pick something up for the first time, its stats and buffs are unknown to you until you strike an enemy. That revelation also serves as an EXP boost, driving you to try out everything you come across: road tiles, bushes, weapons inside of chests, and even the chests themselves. This running catalog creates a loop that works somewhat similarly to a collectathon for completionists. You yank apart everything around you, smacking baddies and swapping equipment to flesh out your gallery, and work toward filling it out 100%. Thankfully, all your uprooting of the world is not permanent, as weapons have durability that wears down with use, and once they break, they reappear in their original location.
This system also feeds into a metagame parallel to the main game, where you actually work as a Weapons Merchant, stocking your weapons store with the things you find. Yes, this does include the NPCs you can wield, which raises some odd questions about their fates, but we aren’t going to concern ourselves with that. Their commodification is completely temporary, as their sale returns them back to the world just like “breaking” them through frequent use.
Overall, the main quest and the side quest that is running your shop work beautifully together, as you’re bound to be stuffing your coffers with a bonkers amount of random things lying about. Taking an extremely lighthearted tone, The World is Your Weapon offers itself to you with no presuppositions other than wanting to make you smile. Puns abound, alongside wacky characters and dialogue suitable to the over-the-top nature of the game’s systems. It’s a breezy, whimsical game full of surprises and shockingly deep combat mechanics as you push towards tackling late-game challenges. It’s well worth a look if you need a chipper palate cleanser, and, if all else fails, I’m sure you can find a way to utilize the executable as an arbalest or something. The world is your weapon, after all.
The World is Your Weapon is currently available on Steam.
Catherine Brinegar is a trans game developer and filmmaker who explores the surreal and abstract in her work. Beyond her creative endeavors she enjoys losing herself inside other worlds, interactive and not. Finding inspiration in everything, Catherine aims to see all the world has to offer, through the continual conversation of art. You can keep up with her on twitter @cathroon.