In The Wonderful End of the World, you play a puppet (controlled by a being who is possibly called Terra) that must absorb items in order to rescue them from a "mythological demon with the head of a fish" that is going to literally eat the Earth. None of this is ever actually mentioned in the game outside lyrics in the menu music. The game is similar to the Katamari Damacy series in many ways - the player has free roam around a level, grows larger as they collect items, and must collect as much as possible before a time limit while avoiding obstacles that they are not yet large enough to collect.
The game was part of the Portal 2 ARG, with a potato and 'portal cake' still visible on the level loading screen. The game was also licensed by Novint, and released for use with the Novint Falcon under the name KlectIt ("collect it") with bonus content.
The game has three modes. Timed is the main mode, where the player is scored on how much they can collect on a level before time is up (the level ends immediately if the player reaches the goal amount), with scores assigned a letter value up to A+. Timeless scores the player on how fast they can collect the same amount, but doesn't end until they do. Finally, Exploration has no scoring or automatic end. Only Timed is always available; 11 of the 12 levels must be passed (i.e. score C or above) to enable the others. Scoring appears to be based on the number of objects collected, without regard to their size.
The player begins each level as a bipedal puppet composed only of small orbs. Walking into scenery items small enough absorbs them and makes them part of the puppet's structure, though this is purely cosmetic - the object is placed randomly within the puppet and has no direct effect on its ability, speed or shape. The puppet grows slowly as objects are absorbed, allowing it to absorb larger and larger ones; the puppet starts the first level slightly larger than a slice of lemon, and ends the last level the size of a skyscraper. Walking into an object far too large to absorb will knock the player back, but not shrink them or decrease the score. Levels usually have several barriers that prevent the player roaming further until they can step over or absorb them, with smaller items only being found on the inside. Small objects don't disappear even when the player is much larger but they become effectively impossible to collect.
The game can be played with mouse and keyboard (or, with difficulty, mouse alone) and has limited normal controller support.
Levels either follow the 'plot' of the game, each in turn encompassing a larger area, or have a theme of some kind. There are twelve in all; initially only one is available, with access to others gained with high enough scores on previous levels. The last, Megalopolis, requires the player to score an A on every other level. Even the more realistic ones have plenty of absurdity.
In the Beginning
A single room with objects from strawberries to beds and cabinets, and several roaming animals.
A pastiche of video games: Pong, Pacman, Snake, Tron, Space Invaders, Tetris, Mario (mushrooms only) and Frogger.
C- on In The Beginning
A single room modelled on a café with counter, various items on tables, customers and decorations. Size ranges from dice to a palm tree. There are also an unusual number of frogs scattered around the level.
C- on In The Beginning
White Bread Lane
A backyard with a construction scene, and items from tennis balls and bricks to plasterboard walls and portable toilets. A cobra can be found in the toilet queue, a passed-out dog and man next to some beer, and a horrifying monstrosity amidst the construction. (It's possible to get over the backyard fence - or absorb it, in exploration mode - but there's not much of use outside.)
B on any two levels
With the exception of a space invader and dump truck, everything in the level consists of rectangles textured with letters or words arranged in various phrases or patterns. (Although the game has a texture for the word 'sex', it doesn't seem to be present in the level.)
B on any two levels
Ostensibly a library (it certainly has more books, and Discworld-inspired orangutans, than any other level) but also filled with other less typical items. Size ranges from computer mice to bookcases.
A- on Word Forge
Several house exteriors and surroundings, with a number of strange items including huge bananas on a roof, a gigantic spider and a billboard featuring the puppetmaster. Size ranges from household tools to busses.
B+ on Word Forge, or
B+ on White Bread Lane
A candy-themed level, with jelly beans, wafers, jubes, candy floss, and various other sweets. If the player grows large enough they can look over the barrier to see humans peering in.
A- on Garden Botanical
A suburb with an (unabsorbable) blimp floating overhead. Sizes range from bananas to mansions. The level also includes a stonehenge made of cars, a large number of moving vehicles and a brontosaurus.
A- on Sugar Candy, or
A- on Garden Botanical
Rice Cake Parade
A "cute" cartoon-themed level; all the items are represented as 2D sprites and plenty of them have smiling faces. The level itself has several square islands, with a sun and sea monster travelling around them (the 'sea' is solid, and the player doesn't sink into it).
B on Arcadia, and
B on Word Forge
The player starts in a small model railway, and escapes to a small shopping mall on top of a skyscraper, each shop containing a large number of items (usually consistently sized in each store). Objects range from cutlery to the actual walls of the mall. Other buildings and a blimp are visible at maximum size, but the player can't leave the building top.
B+ on Bumble Burbs, and
B+ on Garden Botanical
This level takes place just before the end of the world, only really noticeable from billboard signs and a red sky. The player starts off the size of a plant on a rooftop, and eventually grows to the size of a skyscraper. The blimp is also finally absorbable! There are plenty of unusual events and items, but the player tends to end up too large to see them well.
A on every other level
The game also includes three secret levels that were part of the Portal 2 ARG. One is filled with coloured crates, another with white crates (apparently impossible to complete) and one filled with coloured companion cubes that ends when the player absorbs a portal cake. The first can be accessed by holding U while Arcadia loads and the last by holding P while Sugar Candy loads. Unlike the normal levels, the player is able to jump with the spacebar.
- Operating system: Windows 2K/XP/Vista
- Processor: 1.5GHz or better CPU
- Memory: 1GB of ram
- Video Card: Directx 9.0c compatible card with 128MB of memory
- Hard disk space: About 200 MB of hard disk space (Steam Version)