World of Horror is an excellent rogue-like RPG from Polish independent developer Panstasz in the spirit of old-school text adventures, flavored with art clearly inspired by the work of Junji Ito. The single-bit graphics are drawn entirely in Paint and are paired with a style-appropriate soundtrack.
The game is just crazy. Seriously.
- Developer: Panstasz
- Publisher: Ysbryd Games
- Release Date: October 19, 2023
World of Horror looks like another manga by Junji Ito, only interactive. It concerns both appearance and content – we have a collection of urban legends, shocking stories, which unfold against the background of Lovecraftian horror, coming to a Japanese town somewhere in the 80s of the last century. Naturally, we are talking about the coming of the ancient gods.
To prevent them, you need to infiltrate the lighthouse and stop the ritual of calling the gods. But first you have to investigate four or five cases (depending on the level of complexity) and get the keys to the lighthouse for each one.
There is so much content in this game that with each subsequent playthrough, I learned more and more about the game mechanics, how to get through some of the game events, and became more immersed in the world of the game. At first I was afraid that the threshold of entry into the game would be too high and I would abandon it, despite the alluring art design. But in the end, thanks to well-written tutorials inside the game and flexible setting of the difficulty level, everything turned out to be much easier.
In the game we have to solve five mysteries before the final doom will fall on the world or something bad will happen to the character (for example, madness or death). In the process of investigations you can do related things, for example, you can go to the hospital and heal yourself, chat with local schoolchildren about what’s going on around you, or just buy useful items. Of course, there is a lot more action in the game, some of which even influence the story. The story itself can also affect these actions: for example, water can turn into a black sludge, which makes it difficult for the character to relax in the bathtub, and this is one of the few ways to restore your mental state in the game.
World of Horror is actually a turn-based RPG with roguelike elements. At the start we choose a character and his history, background. It can be a 20-year-old girl who survived a meeting with ghosts, a guy-smoker who unsuccessfully robbed a house and lost a friend, and many others. At first, only a few characters are available, but, as is the norm in roguelikes, new characters are gradually unlocked – there are 14 of them in total.
The choice affects bonuses and penalties to characteristics – there are strength, dexterity, attentiveness, charisma, knowledge, luck. In addition, characters can start the passage with some useful item in the inventory. For example, a smoker, which is logical, has a pack of cigarettes in his pocket, which increase the level of sanity. And if you choose the background of a medic, the character will immediately receive bandages that relieve wounds.
World of Horror is a generally hardcore game. For all its contrivance (or rather, overload), they follow roughly the same pattern, and the average enemies hardly stand a chance. Especially since you can almost always go home to take a bath and rest – it restores some health and sanity, and sometimes even gives you an experience bonus.
Far more troublesome are the loss of sanity and the increase in “think” level. Often you can not have time to do all the investigations to get to the lighthouse and stop the ritual – the city and my character caught up with the punishment of the ancient gods. The thing is that the level of doom increases for almost every delay – as a result of random events, for the application of spells, visiting and exploring some locations, even for updating the list of available skills and goods. Therefore, it is very important to plan your actions and movement.
World of Horror is certainly a great game. Truly auteuristic, resembling both an art installation and an interactive manga, it shows how in a rather conservative genre you can make a really unusual fresh horror movie – despite all its old-school look.
On the plus side, I’d like to mention:
- Great music and artwork
- Flexible customization of the game directly to yourself
- Very well written tutorials
And from the minuses:
- Sometimes you can catch unpleasant bugs
- At first the game may seem overloaded and therefore complicated
To summarize, I’d like to say that this is really a very interesting project, combining the flavor of Asian horrors, creepy atmosphere, amazing soundtrack and visual style.