• Rose Smith

World of Horror: A Chilling Cosmic Horror Video Game

Photo Source: Youtube

Ever since I was in high school, I have been fascinated with horror media. Admittedly, I have a weak stomach for gore, but I have always liked a little bit of horror aesthetic in my media diet. It’s hard to describe, but there is something about a particularly good scene or page that fills me with both disgust and fascination. One such thing that has really scratched that horror itch for me lately has been the video game World of Horror.

World of Horror was initially released in 2019 as a demo and in February 20th, 2020 on early access status. As of this writing, the game is still in early access, meaning that the game is not considered finished yet, but you can still play what the developers have released so far. The game surrounds an 80s Japanese seaside town where a group of mysterious cultists has attempted to summon an elder god, a monstrous force that only spells destruction for the town and perhaps the world. You, as the main character, must solve mysterious happenings around the town while also attempting to prevent the elder god from making its way onto Earth.

The first thing that is going to jump out is the aesthetic of the game. The game uses 1-bit (or two tone) graphics, and the game plays like an 80s roleplaying game, giving it an entrancing retro feel. Even if the game only uses two colors, the backgrounds and monsters are impressively well-rendered and detailed. The designs and mysteries are inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and Japanese horror comic artist Junji Ito while still maintaining its own sense of identity. I honestly would buy some of the stills featured in the game as prints if given the chance. The mysteries are also extremely interesting, ranging from investigating a festival in the neighboring village to defeating a monstrous ghoul haunting the local school. Each mystery has multiple endings depending on what choices you make in the game, allowing for multiple play-throughs.

The ability to customize your play-throughs allows for hours of play. You can change your character where each person has different starting abilities and backstories, the elder god, which has different effects on the world around you, and even the timeline, which allows for different kinds of events to happen. I have spent hours on this game, and I have barely scratched the surface of the possible events and paths one could take. You can even change the color scheme of the 2-bit graphics, whether you want to play in classic black and white or red and purple, among others.

Photo Source: Itch.io

I should say that if the horror genre is not your thing, then this game is absolutely not for you. For me, because most of the gruesome or scary parts come in still images (that you can click through super quickly if you don't want to look at it for too long), it was enough of an abstraction for me to stomach it, but that certainly is not going to be the same for everyone. I recommend checking out the free demo or the preview videos on Steam first if you’re on the fence. If you can handle those, then you can certainly handle the whole game.

While World of Horror has been fun, it definitely comes with some drawbacks. The game is still in the early access phase with the last update being in October 2020. While the game is certainly playable, there are still some issues that need to be fixed. First of all, the save function was disabled, so if you want to complete a run, you have to do it in one shot. Luckily, most play-throughs of the game last about 30-45 minutes which is a reasonable amount of time to block out for a video game. Also, you can’t go back in a menu, so if you decide to play one game mode, you have to go through all the beginning screens before exiting out to the game screen before you can change your game setting, which can be exceedingly tedious.

Another problem I have is more with the mechanics of the game. World of Horror can sometimes come off as complicated and difficult to get into. With all of the resources, mysteries, and a battle system on top of it, it can feel really overwhelming at first to dig into it. Normally, I like to skip tutorials, but I genuinely do not recommend skipping this one. It didn’t make me completely confident in knowing what was going on, but it helped. Some may really like this kind of “sink or swim” style of learning, but it didn’t always work for me.

Photo Source: itch.io

Overall, World of Horror has been a very interesting and fun video game. Despite my problems with some of the mechanics and issues (which I hope are addressed in later updates), the game is beautifully rendered and serves up some terrifically chilling cosmic horror. Any person who is already a fan of horror (especially of the cosmic or supernatural variety) should pick this game up. At the price of 14.99 on Steam, that is certainly a reasonable price for the amount of enjoyment you can get out of it. You’ll certainly be in for a hell of a time.

If you are interested in playing World of Horror, it is available on both Mac and PC and can be bought on Steam here and itch.io here.

Below is the trailer for World of Horror. While the trailer keeps things pretty tame, I still recommend giving it a skip if you're easily spooked.

Rose Smith is the blog editor of Twenty-two Twenty-eight. When she isn’t writing about the world around her, she is often found listening to music, watching movies, and going on walks with her dogs.

You can find her on Instagram here and on Twitter here.