World of Horror easily stands out as one of the most unique horror games out there, and now, after three years in early access, players are able to experience it in all of its disturbing glory with the official full release.

Check out some screenshots down below:

World of Horror tells the story of a town in Japan known as Shiokawa that has taken a dark and twisted turn following the arrival of some cloaked figures in the surrounding area, which seem to be welcoming the return of some ancient and malevolent gods. Their presence has caused other twisted events to occur across the town, which is exactly what you’ll be investigating as a means to find out what’s going on and if you can save everyone from the evil looming over them.

Playing as one of five characters, players progress through the game by solving the horrific mysteries that are scattered across the town, with a good introduction to these given with the ‘Spine-Chilling Story of School Scissors’. In this mystery, players are tasked with exploring a school to find the special chalk and candles needed to perform a ritual to banish the grotesque schoolgirl who is wandering the hallways with a scissors to kill her victims. If you complete your task in time? Great, you’ll save the day. But if not? Well… you won’t like what happens.

Each mystery brings with it different events that occur that can play out in a variety of ways, whether that’s when interacting with an object in the environment, speaking to another character, or encountering a potential enemy. You get to make choices during these events too, which can be affected by a bit of RNG or the perks you have unlocked during your journey. One example saw me encountering a schoolteacher who wanted help carrying her books, but there was something… off about her. I helped out, and after passing a luck check, successfully completed the event and earned some experience points. But if I didn’t pass the luck check? Who knows what would have happened. Another event saw me jumping into a pool to grab a bag that was floating there, but this led to a battle with a bloated enemy who wanted to kill me. There’s a risk-versus-reward element in place within these events, but with them vital to your progression through each mystery, it’s imperative you get stuck in and see what happens.

“World of Horror is a fascinating horror experience that truly adds its own unique (and disturbing) take on the genre, and believe me, it’s a lot of fun to play.”

It’s the most exciting aspect of World of Horror, with the unpredictability of these events and your actions within them opening up endless possibilities as to how your journey will play out. I’ve intentionally tried to keep their detail to a minimum here to avoid spoilers for players, but there’s a ‘choose your own adventure’-style flair to them that makes the storytelling of the game very immersive and player-driven. I was a big fan, whilst the creativity of the mysteries and the events within them can be truly horrendous (and I mean that in the best possible way).

It is worth noting that there are a lot of risks tied to these events. For one, you might end up losing Stamina (your health) or Reason (your mental state), which will result in a game over if either is fully depleted. Alternatively, there’s also a Doom meter that fills up as you progress through the game, which brings an end to the world if it hits 100%. These essentially act as the fail states of the game, so you’ve got to manage each one carefully if you hope to succeed. Of course, you can also see your Stamina and Reason increase or the Doom meter decrease during events too, so there are moments when things can swing your way. With so many different ways to meet an end in the game though, you’ve got to carefully manage each aspect of your playthrough if you hope to survive.

Battles can be equally dangerous, with each putting players in turn-based showdowns where they’ll assign actions to attack their opponent. Combat is dictated by the Time meter, which gives players 200 points to assign actions – each action has a set point value, so you’ve got to make sure they add up to 200 or less to complete your turn. Each actions offers something different too: an unarmed attack is more accurate and costs less to use than a weapon-based attack, but they dish out much less damage. Alternatively, you can use an ability that allows you to prepare an attack to ensure it will always hit, but this takes up some points on the time meter that might have been better spent on including an extra attack. I’ve probably made it sound a bit more complicated than it is, but it makes for a strategic combat system that’s surprisingly diverse despite its simplicity. With the player’s equipment, stats, and perks also tying into the action, there’s enough going on to keep battling interesting.

Check out some screenshots down below:

There’s a whole lot extra going on in the World of Horror to flesh out the experience, with different locales to explore, experience points to earn to level up and unlock perks, additional allies to join you on your journey, and so forth. Whilst it doesn’t feel like a full-fledged RPG, there are plenty of traits of the genre found in World of Horror’s gameplay to ensure there’s plenty to do between each mystery. And the mysteries themselves? They offer some absolutely brilliant storytelling that’ll keep players on the edge of their seat with their many surprises. There are plenty to encounter too, and with World of Horror having an unpredictable roguelite setup, no two playthroughs of the game will ever be the same. With a few different game modes to play through (including one you can fully customise yourself), you can expect to be hooked into the game for a LONG time if you want to see all it has to offer.

And believe me, I have been hooked in. As a horror fan, I’ve been loving my time with the game, whilst the clever blend of horror storytelling and RPG mechanics ensuring there’s plenty to keep me fearfully glued to my screen. That being said, there are a few things that I didn’t love when playing. For one, the game screen is VERY cluttered and can take getting used to. The menus and UI of the game aren’t particularly intuitive, and whilst I did learn to appreciate them as part of the experience in the end, they’re intrusive enough that they might put some players off early on. Some of the RNG events could be brutal too, with players suffering a LOT when things don’t go their way. If you die, you start over, so losing a lot of progress over something that essentially comes down to chance never feels good. And I know, this is something plenty of games have done, but it doesn’t soften the blow when you feel like you’re on the cusp of success in the game.

Fortunately, the issues weren’t problematic enough to stop me from having a blast playing, with World of Horror certainly standing out as one of the more unique horror titles I’ve played. I’d be remiss not to mention the visuals too, which can be truly disturbing despite the simplistic 1-bit setup. It’s incredibly stylish and helps give the game this unique vibe that I haven’t seen in any other release in the genre.

World of Horror Review

World of Horror is a fascinating horror experience that truly adds its own unique (and disturbing) take on the genre, and believe me, it’s a lot of fun to play. There’s something incredibly addictive about solving the many harrowing mysteries of the world and trying to survive through its eerie events along the way, whilst the RPG mechanics make it easy to invest in the world and your character. The combat is slick too, and whilst it is very simple in design, it offers enough strategic depth to ensure players will never feel safe in any showdown they face.

It is a little guilty of being unfair with the RNG and the UI can feel a little intrusive to begin with, but it’s hard not to be incredibly impressed by World of Horror. It offers an addictive gameplay loop that’ll keep players coming back for more and more, but, most importantly, it makes for a REALLY good time.

Developer: panstasz
Publisher: Ysbryd Games
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)