A year ago, I had the opportunity to check out the first demo of Paweł Koźmiński’s World of Horror – a Junji Ito-inspired indie game featuring text/selection-based choices, and laced with the influence of Lovecraft. The game isn’t shy about this, with a storyline in which young residents in a 1980s Japanese town are seeking to solve small mysteries as they try to delay the return of he Old Gods. The end of the world is coming, and strange things are happening as reality unravels…
This year, World of Horror is back with a whole new demo prepared, and I was really excited to see what’s new with this nostalgically-styled game inspired by some of my favourite horror stories.
Last year, we checked out a high schooler’s disappearance, punctuated by the legend of Kuchisake-Onna – a malevolent Japanese spirit whose face has been mutilated into a horrendous smile, and who approaches her victims with trick questions most likely to end in either death or disfigurement. You can check out my thoughts on the old demo in my previous article here. This chapter is actually Paweł’s favourite, and it was easy to see why, with its classic Japanese horror feel. This time though, we got to check out a new mystery.
The new scenario available follows a girl who’s uncle has just passed away, his final request being a mysterious midnight vigil to which you are invited. You arrive at night and begin to explore the mansion, finding creepy guests and unhappy ghosts throughout the building. A book covered in human skin is in one room, an uncomfortable overgrown tangle of vines in the next. As the night ticks by, the feeling of dread grows – who are these people? What happened to your uncle? What on earth is going on? Can you even trust yourself as strange voices begin calling to you?
This time I didn’t die, and got to see the full demo chapter (yay!) The chapter felt very much like a playable Ito story, with lots of mystery and discomfort. What I’ve especially liked about World of Horror is that it feels like a real, uncompromised horror game, without the jumpscares and chase scenes that are so prevalent in the genre. I’ve always preferred the classic atmosphere of horror – that building of dread as more and more details are uncovered. The tense feel, each moment, as if something’s waiting for you. The small details of run-down buildings, too-quiet forests, and eerie schools after dark. I love to fully experience my horror games – something I never feel like I can really do when I have to focus all my energy on being ready to run away. World of Horror’s atmosphere of dread and ability to shock without stressing the player out is a rare find – one I really enjoy.
Of course, in a world of increasingly realistic graphics, World of Horror’s aesthetic is something a little different. This time around, players could choose from different colour palettes. It’s a small, simple thing that I found really charming and fun. A light blue or grey might lessen the strain of staring at black and white graphics, while red and black might help you to get into that horror mood. There were a surprising amount of choices, and while it seems like a small detail, it was something I really liked.
Overall, World of Horror is shaping up to be a really great, spooky experience that’s a perfect fit for anyone who enjoys the discomfort and unexplained chaos of writers such as Junji Ito. While a release date has not been confirmed yet, it’s looking like hopefully toward the end of the year we’ll be able to jump into the mysteries ourselves.
Want to check out more or even try the demo yourself? You can on the World of Horror official site. Already sold and want to keep track of when it releases? Add it to your steam wishlist! As for me, I’ll definitely be looking forward to getting my spook on soon.