World of Horror (PC) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 26.01.2021 2

Review for World of Horror on PC

This is an impressive little indie game that was created by one person with access to MS Paint. So far released on Steam and Itch.io, the developer, panstasz, has mentioned console ports, is still building new scenarios, and has a very active twitter account. This niche title was picked up by Ysbryd Games (that's Welsh for Spirit), who also published renowned indie games such as Va-11 Hall-A. With all of this in mind, time to brave the occult, and fight off monsters, while exploring this world of horror.

This is trying something totally new, and yet something that relies heavily on the stylings of the '80s. It's a narrative-driven, rogue-lite, turn-based mishmash that oozes Lovecraftian cosmic horror and Junji Ito's flavour of terror, the writer of Uzumaki and the short story Amigara Fault among many others, with its artistic flair and slow-build jump-scare horror that Ito perfected in his manga. Naturally, there is a lot to talk about, and with it being a rogue-like experience, it's easier just to explain the premise rather than the story itself. As one of a small selection of characters, you must solve mysteries that are plaguing the town, and find keys to open the lighthouse, while fighting off apparitions, monsters, and trying to maintain your sanity.

Screenshot for World of Horror on PC

It's all a bit like playing something on an 80's console or PC, with those low-res, yet very stylish and clear art panels. The interface is initially confusing, but the developer included a handy dandy tutorial mode that explains the areas as you use them, and explains battling once a fight begins. There is a lot to take in, and the difficulty is set to devilishly devious; a first play-through is almost guaranteed to end in failure, but if one takes it slow and try to observe the events, take in all the dialogue on screen, and play the battles strategically, everything will eventually click, and progressing will become a little easier. It's not an unfair system but the luck side of things can often get the better of you.

Everything about this oozes atmosphere and retro charm, making its every second addictive. The characters each have their own look and feel (even though their inputs to the mysteries are not all that unique to them), and each is assigned a difficulty identifier, with the swim captain being the easiest "starter" character, who is pre-picked in the beginner pre-set route. It's possible to set up a custom adventure, and that's where this truly shines, letting players flex their intelligence and luck. Here there is a variety of choices to be made; from which main character to play, to which cosmic deity they will be struggling against. No matter how many times one will set up a custom adventure, failure was just a few clicks away. If there is one thing this game doesn't do is pull its punches.

Screenshot for World of Horror on PC

Gameplay is on a sort of loop. Begin a story, find the lighthouse, set up your character, and pick a mystery to solve. There will then be tips and areas to explore, and the closer you get to solving the mystery, the more dangerous things get. The first encounter in most stories is with a low level enemy that can be beaten by stacking some kicks and punches. Stacking attacks is how this battle system works. There is a bar to which the player can add moves such as use items, magic or physical attacks, and once the bar is full they can act out their list of commands.

Screenshot for World of Horror on PC

It's decently engaging, and allows for a fair bit of player agency of a kind rarely found in this type of dungeon crawling, turn-based battling affair. The general uniqueness of this system is engrossing, though most battles are again using a randomised luck system like a tabletop RPG so expect lots of mistakes and missed attacks to happen. Once the player has survived the encounters and events of the mystery, they will unlock a key, and can then go home and pick the next mystery.

With refreshing visuals, and a cool retro aesthetic, it's amazing how much there is to find and experience in World of Horror, from struggling with spirits, to solving mysteries about weird viral deaths. It oozes insanity. This is all backed up with solid sound design, which while being in keeping with the established style, is just full of charm and atmosphere. It's not an easy title to talk about, but it is definitely one worth praising.

Screenshot for World of Horror on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

While the premise is great, and it's very polished in execution, sometimes World of Horror can be a frustrating and messy title due to its rogue-like nature. That said, it's so unique, charming, and horrifying, that it's impossible to put down once a good run gets going. It is genuinely gripping, and has just enough intrigue to make players protective of the main characters. Here's hoping this keeps receiving updates, and that the developer rides this success into a new project filled with just as much endearment and love. To conclude, insanely cathartic when luck is on one's side.

Developer

panstasz

Publisher

Ysbryd Games

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

Comments

Noice!

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

I think it's making its way slowly to consoles now too. A switch port would be a fearsome advesary for other indie titles

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