World of Horror’s developer panstasz has finally returned with a major update after a year of silence.
This indie game is a love letter to Junji Ito, and it uses the unique style and horrifying graphics to create a sense of doom that is also similar to the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
Let’s take a look at this 1-bit indie that is very stylish and embodies the random and terrifying nature of cosmic horror.
Welcome panstasz, a one-man Polish developer who is focused on his passion project, World of Horror!
The game has been in development for more than three years, closer to four.
You can support the developer on Patreon and Itch.io, and you can purchase the early-access game on Steam and GOG.
But let’s first take a look at World of Horror so that it is easier for you to decide whether you want it.
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The plot of the game is a standard cosmic horror one. An Old God awakens, causing Old-God horrors to occur where you live. There is no real reason why this is happening, it just does.
And you, a simple mortal who might not even believe in those gods, are supposed to stop the Old God from destroying the world.
Now, there are many more details you can come across your different playthroughs. In fact, there are various characters with special backgrounds that can experience the plot differently, but that’s the short of it.
Gameplay and Style
The gameplay is surprisingly diverse given that every run takes under an hour.
You can select from several modes of playing (since the update, that includes a challenge mode). Some of them offer more customization than others.
With either randomly or deliberately selected character, difficulty, and game specifics, you proceed to try and solve five mysteries that are connected to the Old God. Each mystery grants you a key you will use to enter the Lighthouse. You need to reach the top before the time runs out…
As you try to solve mysteries, you can find and purchase items and collect allies. The progression takes place when you visit and explore different locations, and each exploration results in a random event. Some of those are hostile encounters, and some of them have you pass (or fail) stat checks.
As you get more experience, you unlock perks and get the opportunity to increase your stats. However, you might want to use the stat points to replenish your health or sanity because running out of those usually means a bad end.
There are multiple endings and, of course, most of them are bad. Each mystery has multiple endings too.
You might not always truly understand what is happening, and that may depend on whether or not you happen to have specific items or perks. That is in line with the game’s inspirations, but you might want to make sure you purchase a flashlight.
Or don’t. After all, you might not want to truly know what horrors happen to live in your town.
Yes, the worldbuilding in the game is amazing. There is an immense number of events and enemies, but they all fit the general themes of World of Horror.
The style of World of Horror is mind-blowing. You will find many curious details like the alliteration in the title of every mystery or the references to Junji Ito, other cosmic horror masters, or Japanese urban legends.
The graphics are a love letter to Junti Ito, and panstasz claims that they are made in MS Paint.
The decision to create a pixelated 1-bit adventure was perfect for the time period that is described. The aesthetic does not take away from the horror of the game; in fact, it enhances the feeling of wrongness and dread.
The music, which panstasz commissioned from Sebastian Zybowski, fits both the graphic style and the themes of horror. It is expertly used to create tension when needed and punctuate events.
The New Update and How to Purchase an Early Access Game
As the many fans of the game, we are incredibly happy that panstasz has returned. However, the update has taken a year to come out, with silence throughout that year.
Many reviews on Steam were changed due to the silence on the developer’s part, and that is precisely why it is important to only choose an early access game if you are satisfied with its current state.
How do you know that? It might be best to take a look at a couple of playthroughs. Do you like the current customization opportunities? Does the gameplay look fun? Do you like the style?
If the game is enough of a draw as it is, you can safely purchase it. Otherwise, it is best to wait and make sure that the game is not abandoned.
World of Horror is not abandoned, and that is great! We have new characters and mysteries, and we can hope for more old gods and other features. However, it might be best to assess the game as it is now, and here is what we can say.
World of Horror is sufficiently replayable while also having a few weak spots. Each god is well-developed, with significant effects on the gameplay, but there are not many of them. The mysteries are fun a few times, but there is a limited number of them. Repeating the same mystery can get tiresome, especially after you have played through its every ending.
That said, the number of mysteries, gods, and encounters is so large, the game can work as a collectathon. It does, in a way, because you can collect enemies, items, and so on in a metagame. Those who enjoy the achievement of collecting every possible element of World of Horror will have a lot of fun.
Random encounters and the need for perks at a point where you never got the chance to get a perk might be frustrating. However, remember that it is not a bug; it is a feature. Cosmic horror is all about random, meaningless horror that you cannot control.
Naturally, the fans of Junji Ito, Lovecraft, and cosmic horror will absolutely love the game.
Personally, I purchased it just for the style, and I have not regretted my decision. I do have my criticisms and I wish for some features (more gods, please!), but I had my fun with the game, and since the developer is back, I will have more.
Thank you, dear developer and every contributor!
World of Horror is a beautiful, stylish, random indie game that is a love letter to Junji Ito and embodies the key elements of cosmic horror.
It uses pixel graphics and its music very effectively, and every short run can be used to collect all the random encounters and events in the metagame.
Still in early access, this passion project is well worth purchasing if you enjoy cosmic horror, Junji Ito, collectathons, and the many other features of World of Horror.
You can use Steam or GOG to get your copy, but remember to only purchase an early access game if you like its current state.