Enter the WORLD OF HORROR, the wonderfully grotesque 1-bit love letter to Junji Ito and H.P. Lovecraft. You play as a resident of Shiokawa, Japan, investigating the mysterious happenings and supernatural phenomena that have started creeping up around your home. WORLD OF HORROR throws you right into the action, with the world around you unraveling due to the influence of the Old Gods.
WORLD OF HORROR has a variety of stories you can choose from, with the recommended story for beginners being the “Spine Chilling Story of School Scissors.” Even though this is the introductory story, there are still a ton of challenges to be found throughout the story. The main character begins moving throughout the school, investigating the disappearance of one of their close friends.
Upon finding the notebook, you also discover that they were looking into the eldritch entity known as the “Scissor Woman”. You’ll have to rely on his notes to help you navigate the school and find the items you’ll need to conduct a ritual and hopefully banish her from this earthly plane. Unfortunately, you’re not alone in the school as the very fabric of reality starts to come apart before your eyes.
Each encounter is randomly generated, making every playthrough meaningful and challenging as you hunt for clues. You’ll need to manage your resources very, very carefully if you want to make it to the end boss fight and solve the main mystery. Your Stamina and Reasoning stats play a huge part in your resource management. You’ll also need to decide whether or not you want to run from the encounters, or stay and fight it out. If you can’t defeat the eldritch monstrosities in a hit or two, you’ll probably need to be on the defensive and play it safe.
If you’ve noticed a bit of discoloration in the screenshots, you’ve got a good eye! When you first start up an investigation, you can actually choose from multiple color palettes to customize the look of your playthrough. At first, the 1-bit style can be a bit harsh on the eyes if you aren’t used to it, but with a little tweaking of colors and a few minutes of playing, the layout and design of WORLD OF HORROR becomes pretty intuitive and easy to navigate. With so many options, the choice to enable a randomly generated color scheme can also add a sense of newness and uncertainty to each playthrough.
Every playthrough presents you with an opportunity to completely screw yourself over, and it’s wonderful. Though the mysteries can be somewhat linear, WORLD OF HORROR still manages to present the player with meaningful and unforgiving choices that have lasting consequences on your journey to find the truth. The mixture of elements from both Junji Ito and Lovecraft are masterfully woven together into the story, and genuinely creepy.
Junji Ito’s work was heavily influenced by Lovecraft. Having the worlds of these two writers come together in a cacophony of disturbing visuals and eldritch mysteries in the 1980’s makes for a captivating experience that demands you question every step you take or risk dying in a flash of gore and instant regret.
WORLD OF HORRORS is currently in Early Access and can be purchased on Steam for $14.99 USD.