I’m easily scared. Very easily. Unfortunately for me, horror still happens to be just about my favourite genre. Which is why I knew I had to stop and check out World of Horror – a Junji Ito inspired indie game by Paweł Koźmiński.
World of Horror’s main inspiration is the Japanese horror manga artist, Junji Ito, but the game also draws quite a bit from other inspirations, including Lovecraft, and much older PC games. Taking place in a Japanese town in the 80s, World of Horror puts the player in the place of young residents seeking to solve small, yet horrific mysteries. Your job is to stall the return of the Old Gods – Eldritch horrors lurking beneath the surface.
My demo put me in the place of a teenage girl, trapped in her school by a fairly well-known Japanese ghost, Kuchisake-onna – a terrifying woman wielding a pair of scissors. While the player doesn’t directly control the character’s movement, they do choose what they’ll do next. She could investigate different areas, searching for items to perform a magic ritual. Or perhaps the lockers. Maybe a peek outside wouldn’t hurt?
Sadly, I performed pretty terribly because I couldn’t quite figure out how to fight the ghost when she appeared. In a shameless attempt to survive, I even asked Paweł what I could do (and received a “right now… you’re screwed” – oops!). I met my demise at the hands of the scissor ghost in the end.
While the world has moved on to some pretty impressive graphics, World of Horror’s callback to 1-bit computer gaming is surprisingly appropriate and refreshing. It’s also especially fitting for a horror game. World of Horror feels unsettling and old – a stripped down world where your main focus is survival and the task at hand.
Previously, Paweł actually made card games. He moved on to turn his work into a video game when creating physical items became too tiresome and time-consuming. Unsurprisingly, his favourite horror author is Junji Ito, and we talked quite a bit about the unsettling nature of Ito’s work, where things are often left unfinished and unexplained.
You can actually play a demo of World of Horror online, which I highly recommend doing if you enjoy Ito, Lovecraft, oldschool gaming, or even just a fresh, interesting atmosphere: https://panstas.itch.io/world-of-horror .
It’s technically a “name your price,” but I certainly think it’s worth putting a little bit of money into.
World of Horror will be coming to Steam, Switch, and PS4 in 2019!
While I’m here, I’d also love to give a shoutout to Ysbryd Games in general, and Jacob Burgess specifically. Ysbryd was my first appointment of my first PAX (and my first ever convention as media). I was overwhelmed and had joked probably twenty times that “I can’t do the thing!” It was great to start my day off with such friendly faces, who offered water, candy, and good conversation. Even after day one is over, it was probably my favourite appointment of the day (and believe me – there were lots of great experiences!)
If you’re here for PAX West, stop by booth #6808!