I originally visited the Ysbryd booth at PAX East this year to check out N1rv Ann-A, but ended up getting to the booth a bit early. No seats were open for N1RV Ann-A, so I took the time to play the press demo of a game titled WORLD OF HORROR.
Boy am I glad I did. What I found was a game steeped in Japanesse Horror and Lovecraft, realized in an incredibly unique artistic style, that left quite the impression.
The Old Gods are reawakening, clawing their way back into a world that’s spiraling into a mysterious madness. In a small, seaside town of Japan, the population’s sanity is dwindling and otherworldly, grotesque creatures terrorize those who call the place home. It’s the end of the world and the only solution is to confront the terror reigning over the apocalypse.
The most striking thing about WORLD OF HORROR is its visual style, and your control over it. While by default the game is black & white, you actually have the option to change the color palette to a whole host of different combos of sepias, reds, and blues. It’s a cool feature I’ve not seen elsewhere that deserves a shout out.
Outside of the colors, WORLD OF HORROR‘s visuals are quite nostalgic, all done in a 1 bit-style. All of the artwork was created by developer Pawel Kozminski in MS Paint, and the artwork cards are evocative of early Macintosh graphics and the comic panels of Junji Ito, whose work is a massive influence on the game.
The game itself is incredibly investigation heavy, laced with cosmic horror and scenes that slowly build the tension of the scene you are looking into. In the short demo that I played at PAX East, I was sent to investigate a haunting at a local school. I had the option of investigation a number of different rooms at the school for evidence and clues, which lead me to a baseball bat, and a number of different items required to perform a ritual that would banish the scissor-wielding spirit from the school grounds.
Emboldened, but perhaps a little shaken in my sanity from the macabre and otherworldly things I’d seen, I proceeded with the ritual, trusting my intuition and the Louisville Slugger to back me up if anything went wrong.
It did. And let me tell you, baseball bats are not all that effective against ethereal spooks.
WORLD OF HORROR seems like it will get REAL weird, but isn’t going to rely on jump scares to build terror. I happen to love this. When horror games actually freak you out, not just surprise you, THAT’S when they stand out and stay with you. A combination of Japanese horror of Junji Ito and Lovercraftian themes is a recipe for some amazing tales of cosmic terror, and what we’ve been shown of WORLD OF HORROR indicates that there’s an interesting mechanical framework in place with a lot of depth and freedom.
WORLD OF HORROR is currently scheduled to be available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux, though we have no exact release date at this time.