PAX South 2019: World of Horror

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World of Horror

World of Horror is a refreshing twist on the modern horror game genre. Don’t let its simplistic graphics and gameplay fool you, this is one of those games that will give you nightmares. The setting of this game is during the end times; the Old Gods have reawakened and are tearing reality itself apart.

During this apocalyptic time, your small, seaside town is being terrorized by grotesque monsters and it’s up to you to stop them. To do this, you must investigate hellish mysteries across town and battle horrid monsters along the way. However, as you battle these creatures, your sanity slowly dwindles. When your sanity is gone, your life ends. At the end of the world, you must battle against the inevitable, and try to stay sane.

The graphics of World of Horror make it really stand out. The graphics are reminiscent of old Macintosh computers with their 1-bit graphics and monochrome coloration. Even though the graphics are simplistic, they don’t hinder the horror; in fact, they add to the atmosphere. The graphics and background music produce a bleak feeling as if nothing you do will matter.

There are no jump scares in the game; that would be too easy. Instead, most of the horror comes from the unsettling environments you explore and the grotesque monsters you encounter. The stories behind these events and the clues you uncover are extremely unnerving, but leave horror-fanatics wanting more. The art and monsters are inspired by Junji Ito and H.P. Lovecraft. Although many of the monsters you encounter are grotesque, there doesn’t seem to be much gore. Or, if there is, the 1-bit graphics may make it bearable for anyone who may be squeamish about gore.

In this town, you can play as one of 5 characters. Each character has not only unique strengths and weaknesses, but also their own backstory and perspectives on the events at the end of the world.  At the start of the game, you can choose from a multitude of event cards to play. Each one deals with different mysteries in both the town and in the realms beyond. Each scenario you play has multiple endings and multiple routes to take to get to these. All of this combined leads to a very replayable game. Throw in the fact that the game has a modding tool to support custom events and, sometime after release, will support custom enemies and mysteries, it will continue to be replayable for a long time.

The gameplay is very simple. It is a click-through game and all the action is turn-based, which gives you time to think about your decisions. This is important because this game is not very forgiving. One wrong decision could be extremely costly. The combat can be rather dynamic, allowing you to fight with various weapons, use spells, and search for items. The order you do these in can matter in various situations. All in all, there is a lot of depth to the mechanics of this game.

My only set-back with this game is that there is a lot on the screen at times. You have an inventory, your character stats, equipped weapons, a map, and descriptions of what actions you’ve taken or can take. Without any explanation of what all this text and these boxes are, things can get a bit confusing and it may all seem rather overwhelming at first.

‘World of Horror’ is published by Ysbryd Games and developed by panstasz, and will be released to the PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch in June or July of this year. If you want to wishlist or follow the game, the steam page is here. You can also support the game and developer on patreon.