World of Horror Demo First Impressions
Warning: the following content and/or images may be unsettling and disturbing to some audiences. Viewer discretion advised!
Your Writer: MuukenTuuken
Top 3 Favorite Games: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Apex Legends, Red Dead Redemption 2
Favorite Genre: Multiplayer FPS
Recently Finished: Amid Evil,The World of Horror Demo, VA-11 Hall-A, SAS: Zombie Assault 4
Currently Playing: Yuppie Psycho, Apex Legends Season 2, Dark Souls 3, DOTA 2
Bio: Be sure to watch me stream all the games I review on my Twitch Channel!
To preface, I need to admit that I’m not big on horror. I’m a coward, I’d rather not put myself in situations where I could be on the receiving end of jump scares or disturbing grotesqueries. It was probably because I feel that way that I was tasked with a first impressions article about the upcoming “1-bit love letter to Junji Ito and H.P Lovecraft”, World of Horror.
As I was only familiar with Lovecraft and not Junji Ito, I first had some preliminary reading to get through. After reading some of Junji Ito’s work such as Gyo, Uzumaki, The Enigma of Amigara Fault, and The Sad Tale of the Principle Post, I can confidently say that I will not be reading any more from him. This is not to say that the stories were bad–far from it, they were well-written, expertly drawn and the pacing was perfect. What makes me reluctant to continue reading more is the utter dread and terror that these stories leave me with. I’d much prefer my sleep without nightmares.
So after doing my homework and losing a few nights of sleep trying to forget the images of bloated corpses constantly producing vile gasses to power quadrupedal machines, I felt I was ready to move on to the World of Horror demo.
In a Japanese city named OOO, you play as various characters each trying to comprehend the strange occurrences in the city. During the demo, I got to play as Mimi, investigating reports of the occult at a high school. The game plays similarly to text based roguelikes such as “The Ground Gives Way” and “DoomRL”. Your options are listed in the UI, you pick one, and the game takes it from there. The gameplay is somewhat simplistic, but it adds to the charm of the 1-bit nature of the game and directs attention to the story and world building elements.
Exploring the school gives you several random events that present the player with choices on how they want to handle it. Combat is also pretty straightforward: You choose what kind of attack you’d like to use, each with their corresponding damage number and chance to hit, then click “Launch Sequence”. I’m sure you are given more options in combat as the game progresses, as I noticed a tab called “Spells” which open the door to more interesting and powerful ways to dispatch enemies.
Story-wise, although I couldn’t get much out of the demo in the allotted 20 minutes, what little story present was serviceable and you definitely notice Junji Ito’s and Lovecraft’s influences as you make your way through the game. It felt like a perfect blend of Junji Ito’s disturbing art-style crossed with Lovecraftian Horror of the cosmic unknown. The simple music does well to promote an atmosphere of mystery and fear. I never thought I’d get goose bumps from 8-bit music, but here we are.
Those like me who’ve played through the full demo say similar things with how the game is so haunting yet so interesting. YouTube channel Dexbonus’s Dodger describes the feeling nigh-perfectly:
This is a pretty cool game, it’s really interesting, there’s a lot to figure out about it… The concepts they’re putting into the game are really interesting…– [Dexbonus] World of Horror – HAPPY WEDNESDAY by Dexbonus
And there really is so much to figure out that may only be answered when the game has its full release, though might also only raise more questions. But for now we can only be excited by the theorizing we can come up with from the little content we’ve been provided by this demo.
Subjectively speaking, this author is already scared of what the full game has to offer. If the demo is anything to go by, it will be terrifying and more sleepless nights will be had. Objectively, World of Horror has a lot going for it, with a great atmosphere, solid artwork, and harrowing music. If you’re a fan of Junji Ito or H.P Lovecraft, you’ll definitely want to check this one out when it releases sometime this year.