World of Horror
March 23, 2020 12:46 PM   Subscribe

World of Horror is a procedurally generated roleplaying game set in a universe of cosmic horror, drawing inspiration from classic Japanese PC adventure games of the 80s and 90s. With a stark aesthetic, choose-your-own adventure storybook gameplay, and an ever-shifting narrative, it evokes both the dread of cosmic horror literature, and the graphical style of horror manga artist Junji Ito. The game has released recently in early access on most digital storefronts (Steam linked here), but has a demo available through You can watch the trailer here, along with some reviews, thoughts, and playthroughs below the jump. Content warning: Flashing lights in some videos. Some animated scenes of gore and disturbing imagery in preview content. System availability: Win and MacOS for Steam currently, coming to Switch and PS4 later in 2020.

The Verge's review considers the unique way that the 'roguelite' format of the game (procedural content mixed with permanent death and demanding difficulty) mix with the nature of horror in making protagonists powerless, "It’s a uniquely narrative-focused roguelite design that encourages you to delve into side stories and discover new items and encounters, even if it means losing the overall playthrough. And unlike many roleplaying games, World of Horror emphasizes how much random chance is involved. Some game achievements require playing over and over, hoping for the right lucky combination of items to turn up — although your prize is probably just discovering a new kind of torment." While the Polygon review focuses on the continuity between WOH's gameplay and classic choose-your-own-adventure books.

In this Gamasutra mini-review, the author points towards the game's potential as development continues and more modding support is added, "As we’ve talked about, horror is a game genre that can only be enjoyed once sight unseen. But with World of Horror, we have the first horror game to do something that no one else has been able to do: get more content. The game’s use of events/cards and still images opens the door for more content during early access and beyond ... From a universe perspective, there is so much that could be done with the story, and the game’s case structure gives a blueprint modders can use to create their own cases. Speaking of, World of Horror is the perfect case (no pun intended) for having supplemental content. Every aspect of the game could be enhanced with supplemental content, and why I continue to think the future of the horror genre is with roguelike design."

For more detailed gameplay, YouTube user ManlyBadassHero has uploaded a complete successful playthrough of a single session here (YT, 1:08:51). There are some spoilers, but the great variability in each playthrough means that none of them are too major, and this gives a flavor of what a single session of gameplay looks like.
posted by codacorolla (9 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
As a fan of cosmic horror in literary form, I'm curious how accessible this will be to someone totally blind. It sounds fairly visual in nature, but is still an intriguing concept.
posted by Alensin at 2:47 PM on March 23

At last I will get to find my hole at Amigara Fault.
posted by Going To Maine at 3:17 PM on March 23 [5 favorites]

I’ve been playing this since the moment it was released and I want everyone to know it is the best game.

So happy to see it starting to get the attention it deserves!
posted by vocivi at 3:24 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]

Alensin - I think that accessibility is a definite possibility in the future. All of the modding will eventually be done through editing special game files in a text editor. I'm not sure of the exact specifications, but since game files are open text that seems like it might be interpretable through a screen reader. However modding isn't supported quite yet in the early access build.

Most events that I've encountered are purely textual in nature, although sometimes there are other modes of interaction. For example, there's a sigil that you draw to summon a demon, which must be aligned properly by clicking on two hotspots on the screen. It's very much in the same vein as Hypercard. It's a one-person dev team (Twitter: @panstasz), so they might be responsive to the potential of accessibility options.
posted by codacorolla at 4:00 PM on March 23

Just discovered this on Gamepass, spent several hours with it. Make sure to check out the alternate palettes, they are delightful (and make the game far more legible).
posted by ®@ at 5:21 PM on March 23

Read about this game on Kotaku and was hooked both by that GIF and the words "Junji Ito." Just downloaded the demo, and if it turns out I'm not absolutely turned off by roguelikes (I've never played one before), I shall pay the $15 to be murdered horribly over and over again.
posted by ejs at 6:22 PM on March 23

Excellent post. I'm a huge fan of Junji Ito (go read his adaptation of Frankenstein if you have a chance, it's so weird and horrific).

I've been holding off playing this on PC because I feel like it would work so much more nicely on the Switch in handheld mode. Rogue-likes are my jam and this has so many weird and horror-related things in it that it's kind of scary, like did someone go into my head and make a game just for me, it feels like it.
posted by Fizz at 6:54 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]

I have an upcoming Q&A with the dev that I'm building questions for right now.
posted by JHarris at 8:33 PM on March 24

Man that trailer is a big mood!
posted by newdaddy at 3:21 AM on March 25

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