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Video Game / World of Horror

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Something terrible has begun to awaken in our town.

World of Horror (Kyoufu no Sekai) is a roguelite horror RPG developed by Polish indie developer Panstasz and published by Ysbryd Games. It's made for the PC, Nintendo Switch, and Playstation 4. A demo is available here, which was released in the same year, although the pre-2020 demos were initially released from 2018. It was finally released on Steam under Early Access on Wednesday, February 20. Future releases are upcoming for the Switch and the PS4.

The year is 198X, and the world is on the brink of collapse. The Old Gods are beginning to stir from their long slumber, and with their awakening, a small coastal town named Shiokawa in Japan begins to fall into chaos as the sanity of its inhabitants slips and strange monsters emerge. It's The End of the World as We Know It, and there's no way to stop it. However, with some courage, tenacity, cunning, and just a bit of luck, it may be possible to hold off the end times...even if just for a little while.


World of Horror is heavily influenced by both H. P. Lovecraft and Japanese master of horror Junji Ito. The game utilizes a mix of Japanese urban myths and ghost stories, relying on a careful mix of Jump Scares and atmospheric horror to build up an atmosphere of dread. The game's aesthetics are reminiscent of 1-bit adventure games; enemy design tends to take influence from both aforementioned authors, with nightmarish results. Players follow one of a handful of characters as they attempt to solve the mysteries haunting their town, collecting items, solving puzzles, and defending themselves from the forces of darkness as they try to stave off the end of the world.

The official site is here. Panstasz can be followed on his Twitter feed.


Tropes that can be found in this game include:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: All the mysteries you can investigate. For example, "Spine-chilling Story of School Scissors", "Freaky Feature of Found Footage", or "Horrible History of Household Hell".
  • Affably Evil: Here and there, despite everything. The best example is the Mermaid/Deep One from Macabre Memoir of Morbid Mermaids. They just seem so disappointed in the Janitor.
  • Alternate Timeline: One of the advanced customization options allows you to set which timeline you're in. For instance, Timeline B presents a reality where Shiokawa is considered a tourist hot spot for those interested in the occult.
  • And I Must Scream: Reaching 100% Doom while under the influence of Cthac-Atorasu will result in all humans being cocooned, waiting for their turn (days, months, even years) to be devoured by the Old God.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If a player encounters a Ghost enemy as their first tutorial fight it won't have the immunity to physical attacks that it usually has.
  • Apocalypse Cult: There's a cult rising up in Shiokawa determined to beckon the Old God, and subsequently The End of the World as We Know It (or at least, The End of Shiokawa as We Know It). If you're being Hunted by the Cult, they are even more active.
  • Arc Number: Four crops up frequently.
    • Spending time shopping for items or resting in the middle of an investigation advances the Doom Track by 4% each time.
    • Solving one of the mysteries and getting a certain ending (typically the one where the most about the mystery is revealed) will subtract 4% of the Doom Track, though only on Initiate.
    • During one phase of the "Far-Out Fable of Fear Festival", you can make four moves before time runs out for finding any survivors.
    • Making four purchases from the History Club gives you a bad ending where you are sacrificed by the club president.
  • As Long as There is Evil: The ending leans in this direction. The protagonist has stopped the Old One temporarily, but they are virtually-invincible entities existing beyond the ken of mankind; you may have sent them back to sleep for another thousand years and slaughtered their cultists, but you can never truly silence them, merely suppress them.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • If the Doom Track reached 100%, then the Old God that the player is trying to stop wakes up and destroys Shiokawa, and possibly (definitely in Ath-Yolazsth's case) the world.
    • Some of the mysteries can end in this sort of situation too, such as "Violent Vigil" where one of the endings has your presumed grand-uncle successfully resurrect himself, leaving you an accessory to murder.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Pulled on the player in one mystery. Freaky Feature of Found Footage is such an obvious homage to The Blair Witch Project that few players will realize until it's too late for that run that the storyline is actually an update of Lovecraft's The Shunned House. There are only two clues beforehand, both subtle — first, that the apparently homaged work is well outside the purview of what the game normally references, and second, there's a reference to an unusual number of dead trees near the village — the aforementioned house was characterized by the strange and unhealthy vegetation surrounding it, including barren trees.
  • Bandaged Face: Suffering from the "Holes" curse changes your portrait so your character is wearing bandages on their face to hide their affliction. Also, suffering from the "Burn" injury changes your portrait so your entire face is wrapped in gauze.
  • Batter Up!:
    • The Apartment Stalker uses a baseball bat to attack, which can hit hard enough to inflict a concussion upon your character, lowering their KNW for the rest of the mystery. On the plus side, defeating them drops their Baseball Bat, allowing you to wield it as a solid weapon.
    • It is possible to obtain a Wooden Bat in the Scissors mystery. It's weaker than the Baseball Bat by far, but it's better than nothing.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Downplayed. Injuries, curses, and lowering stats are reflected upon your character's portrait, and several of these can have an impact upon their stats. Some of these can be cured, and doing so usually restores your appearance accordingly, but others are effectively permanent.
  • Big First Choice: Choosing which Old God is awakening changes which one's events you get in the playthrough, and the effect they cause.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Make no mistake - this may be Lovecraft Lite, but it is still a form of Cosmic Horror Story. All the good endings are this. You may have stopped the Old God du jour, but you'll often pay a dear price to do it.
  • Black Market: One possible location to visit: the Illegal Den by the seaside. It's your one-stop shop for menacing weapons, extra ammunition, booze, cigarettes, and bandages.
  • Body Horror: It wouldn't be a Junji Ito-inspired game without it. Not only does this apply to a lot of enemies you can encounter, some injuries/curses can cause this to apply to your character - such as holes or eldritch sigils appearing on your skin.
  • Brain Bleach:
    • The Memory Extract spell restores a small amount of Reason in exchange for sacrificing EXP, expunging traumatic memories from the user's mind.
    • You can restore one point of Reason by forgetting any of the spells.
  • Busman's Holiday:
    • Some of the cases have you leaving Shiokawa, only to end up encountering mysteries and monstrosities wherever you went instead.
    • Averted when Saving and Quitting a session. Doing so means that your protagonist leaves town for a while (i.e. 'Until you continue playing'), giving them a chance to rest and recover, losing any spells they've learned and healing their injuries. Nothing happens to them until you return, meaning they actually get a break from all the horrors for once.
  • Canine Companion: One of the allies you can recruit is a dog that you rescue from a bear trap. It increases your chances of finding items after combat and is exempt from the effects of the Seventh Curse. Unlike the Shiba Inu shopkeeper, you can also be assured that it won't murder you and turn you into kibble.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • The Demon Mask does this indirectly, as it increases all damage you deal by 1, at the cost of reducing your maximum stamina by 4.
    • Certain spells (e.g. Expel Evil) cost Stamina to use.
  • Challenge Run: Challenges mode is unlocked by beating the game without ever using the "Rest" action during a mystery. Currently there are five available challenges, each based around playing a character with their special gimmick disabled: Parole Violation (play as Miku; Doom starts at -10%, but Miku doesn't get her Mayhem ability), Going Cold Turkey (play as Haru; you start with a refillable bottle of water but can never use Cigarettes), But Dad!!! (play as Moriko; you start with an Inspiring Novel but automatically discard all guns you acquire), Ghastly Presence (play as Kirie; you start with an extra spell but cannot use offensive actions in battle), and Ghost Town (play as Mizuki; you start with the Seventh Curse background, meaning you can't get allies, and cannot take any non-investigation action but Rest).
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The ribbons around your player character's portrait at the End Game Results Screen change depending on how it ended: black if you failed, white if you succeeded.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Downplayed. This trope is to be expected when both H. P. Lovecraft and Junji Ito were major influences; the game is surprisingly optimistic regardless. Even the most horrible monstrosities can be banished with enough hard work and combat skill. Whether this is permanent or simply delaying the inevitable is left ambiguous for lesser monstrosities, but the simple fact that the likes of Ath-Yolazsth can be defeated by Puny Humans places the game firmly into Lovecraft Lite territory.
  • Crapsack World: It's The End of the World as We Know It; horrifying Eldritch Abominations and murderous psychopaths roam the streets and lurk at every corner, and society is crumbling into insanity and anarchy before your very eyes as you try to survive the apocalypse for as long as you can.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. As your Stamina depletes, your character's portrait will show more and more injuries. As your Reason depletes, your character will begin to appear more tired and haggered.
  • Cue the Sun: If you succeed in reaching the top of the lighthouse and stopping the Old God's summoning, the black haze blanketing the town will be lifted, revealing the sun that it was hiding.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Sometimes curse effects actually help your current run. Brain Damage boosts your max reason at the cost of 2 knowledge. If you're playing a low knowledge character, this won't hinder you.
  • Cultural Cross-Reference: The game basically runs on this. It's an emulation of PC-88 adventure games with 1-bit/2-bit graphics, combining that with the manga art-style seen in some others, and is stuffed with Japanese cultural references that, although not always perfect, are frequent and sometimes to very obscure material. It even has some use of bad romanization/translation for jokes that is actually consistent with with common Japanese issues with letter-swapping, even beyond the well-known L/R.
  • Daylight Horror: You're no safer during the day than you are at night.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • Implied by 'The Seventh Curse' Backstory, represented by an ominous handshake. The player starts with more Funds, but cannot have any Allies, for their family is cursed so that everyone around them dies.
    • In "Vicious Verses of a Violent Vigil", it is revealed that your presumed grand-uncle made a deal with an eldritch being to cheat death in exchange for two human sacrifices. Ending C shows him succeeding thanks to your unwitting aid, while Endings A and B have you defeat him, voiding the pact and ending his scheme.
    • "Perilous Parable of the Peculiar Painting" climaxes with the reveal that Ichiro Mamiya's monster paintings are monsters that he's bound into paintings they can use to access our world, an arrangement his eldritch benefactors allow as long as he furnishes them with the occasional Human Sacrifice. If you interrupt him as he's about to kill his latest starstruck fan, one impatient abomination will kill Ichiro and attack you itself.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The entire demo is in strict black and white. The Early Access release has an option to customize it in colors reminiscent of CGA and similar displays in the early age of PCs.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • One enemy doubles as a Secret Character. Should you be playing as that Secret Character, the enemy will have a different appearance.
    • The Young Witch enemy normally deals only Stamina damage, but also deals Reason damage to male characters by playing on their attraction to her. One Secret Character is a lesbian. She also takes Reason damage from the Young Witch.
  • Disability Immunity: Played very darkly with the "Brain Damage" Curse. Your Knowledge is reduced, but your maximum Reason increases... because you no longer know enough to be scared by the hideous truths you uncover.
  • Endless Game: An alternative mode to the main game, where it obviously lasts until you die. Considering the sheer amount of bad things that can happen to cripple your chances of success in a regular run alone, you have to be real lucky and/or a major Action Survivor to last very long.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: The Old God's arrival will definitely destroy Shiokawa, though the world's fate in non-Ath-Yolazsth scenarios is unclear.
  • Escort Mission: In "Bizarre Bruit of the Blood-Curdling Botanist", the only way to save Shiro-san is by protecting him while you escape. If you've taken the optional steps, you can choose to examine him more closely - and realize he's infected by the Cordyceps Fungus and saving him is a bad idea. This is the first step to getting a good ending for the mystery.
    • In "Perilous Parable of the Peculiar Painting, to get the best ending you must stay with the art curator you meet as she moves through different rooms of the mansion.
  • Eye Scream: It's not for nothing that the icon for the game on Twitch implies one:
    • In "Eerie Episode of Evolving Eels," it's revealed that the titular eels lay their eggs in people's eyes. Furthermore, in order to get Ending A for the case, you have to pay 3 Reason to puncture your neighbor Kana's eye with a needle to release the eels inside.
    • You can encounter a victim of the Scissors Woman who combines this with Facial Horror, thanks to the slashes cutting across her face.
    • In one event that pops up when Goizo is your chosen Outer God, you can run into a woman leaving a beauty parlor who's carved her own eyes out, reasoning that it can't see her if she can't see it. note 
    • And if Goizo isn't stopped in time, the last thing you see is the god starting to emerge from the eyes of your lover.
    • Lose against Oetaru and enjoy the sight of your hero collapsing, blood streaming from their eye sockets and ears.
    • If you decide against all common sense to anger the Shiba Inu Shopkeeper, an eye is all that's left of you once you're minced and cooked.
    • One of Ygothaeg's events has the protagonist seriously consider gouging their eyes out just to avoid looking into the god's eyes.
    • Using the Glass Eye item entails your character jamming it into their eye socket, destroying their real eye in the process. You gain +1 Perception in so doing, but you lose 3 Stamina from the injury and 1 Reason from the pain, plus your portrait reflects this gruesome change.
  • Facial Horror: More examples than you can shake a Junji Ito manga at. To name some examples:
    • The Aspiring Model enemy wears a mask made out of human skin. When she takes damage in combat, the mask falls off and you get to see what a woman with her facial skin peeled off looks like.
    • The Ribcage Woman's face is replaced with a gaping hole filled with bony thorns.
    • "Something Truly Evil" looks like the front and top of its head have been ripped off, leaving only a pair of lights where its eyes should be against a black void.
    • From "Chilling Chronicle of a Crimson Cape": Aka Manto's true form reveals that behind his mask, there is a black void where his face should be.
    • Collecting eldritch blood and drinking it will cause your character's face to melt. Needless to say, you die if you do this unless you use a special item to collect the blood.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: For some events, if you lack a specific item, skill, or ally, the only option you can choose is one that penalizes you. This is also Enforced by the "Ill-Fated" backstory, which forces every skill check to fail. Endless Mode also enforces this, as you will not be able to stop the Old God's summoning and the game will only end if you die, go insane, or reach 100% Doom.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Ghosts, yokai, vampires, Eldritch Abominations, witches...chances are, if it's been used in J-horror, it's in the game.
  • Final Boss: The last enemy you fight in a given playthrough is Takashi-San, a high-ranking cultist who will try to stop you from interrupting the Old God's summoning. While he doesn't attack you, he will instead try to hinder your progress as the fight with him causes the Doom counter to increase with every turn (which, given how high the Doom counter may be by this point, means you need to kill him quick).
  • Gainax Ending: One of the bad endings requires a bit of work to achieve, but is a really strange one. It requires you to first get a Blue Gem from the Dog Shopkeeper, which you can only get as a randomly-selected discount item. Next, you have to trigger a series of randomly-determined events at the seaside, the school, and then the forest. Done correctly, the game ends with you abducted by alien Shiba Inus who are whisking away a handful of humans to resettle on a new world away from the doomed Earth. It makes a bit more sense when you realize the whole thing is a giant Silent Hill reference.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: If you decide to burn down the School in "Macabre Memoir of Morbid Mermaids", you can no longer visit any School sub-locations for the rest of the run, but it's established that classes continue in an older wing of the building. Should you choose "Spine-Chilling Story of School Scissors" as one of your mysteries afterwards, you get to explore the charred remains of the School, and even face a unique variant of the boss as a result.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Because some events can trigger regardless of where you are or what mystery you're investigating, it's possible for your character to have their wallet stolen in the middle of a crowded plaza, despite the fact that they're supposed to be trapped in a haunted mansion with only the other guests for company.
  • Giant Eye of Doom:
    • The Old God Ath-Yolazsth is known as "The Towering Eye" for a reason.
    • One of the endings of "Freaky Feature of Found Footage" has you staring directly into one of these.
  • Golden Ending: Played with. Every mystery has multiple endings. "Ending A" is typically the hardest to get, reveals the most about what was going on, and ensures that whatever horror was behind it is laid to rest for good, or at least for now. However, this does not mean that Ending A is always the happiest ending. A prime example of this is "Horrible History of Household Hell", where the protagonist burns down the mansion and ensures nobody else will disturb what lies beneath it again. To get it, you need to kill one of your companions in cold blood to satisfy the eldritch horror you've awoken.
  • Guide Damn It!: Intentionally so; this is a mystery horror game, and a great deal of the experience comes down to investigating, learning secrets, putting two-and-two together, and sometimes even good old-fashioned trial-and-error. There are many branching paths and they range from "reasonable with a bit of legwork and common sense" to "totally reliant on foresight and outright luck." It's part of the charm, though; every path is tracked and recorded (even the bad ones), failure is frequently expected, and meta-knowledge gleaned from one playthrough can lead to a better outcome the next time around.
    • Even then, some of the unlockable content is particularly devilish. You'll need a guide if you're stumped on getting it all.
  • Guns Are Worthless: ZigZagged; they are among the best weapons in the game due to high damage and low action cost...if they have bullets, which are hard to find and you aren't always guaranteed to get them with the gun. Running out in the middle of the fight just means you have to beat your enemy to death with the empty gun as you can't switch weapons mid-fight which isn't exactly the best melee weapon. Haru's CQC ability buffs gun damage so that they aren't inferior to normal weapons, while Moriko's Deft Handling reduces the time consumed by gun attacks.
  • Harmful Healing: Going to the Hospital to heal your injuries has a chance to leave you with severe blood loss or wounds that will reopen as soon as you take damage. Averted by the School Nurse, however, who despite her creepy appearance will heal any minor injuries without payment or consequences.
  • Have a Nice Death: In addition to death screens for running out of Stamina or Reason, there are unique ones for hitting 100% Doom depending on which Outer God you're trying to stop. Also, certain bosses have special Game Over screens for running out of Stamina/Reason against them.
  • Heal Thyself:
    • The game shows that you can restore 2 Stamina with the "Cauterize" spell, though this is a one-time thing. Other healing spells exist, but they usually cost Reason or increase Doom.
    • The Sewing Kit lets you restore 3 Stamina at the cost of 1 Charisma, as your character is left with a scar where they stitched themselves up. If you find Black Hair and use it with a Sewing Kit in your inventory, you get the Sewing Kit (Hair), which leaves a much cleaner scar. This restores 3 Stamina and 3 Reason with no Charisma penalty.
  • Hit Points: HP comes in two varieties, Stamina and Reason. Run out of Stamina, and you die. Run out of Reason, and you go insane. In either case, it's Game Over.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight:
    • If you manage to fulfill the requirements for the additional endings of "Horrible History of Household Hell", you are faced with a boss where you can do absolutely nothing to hurt it. Your only options are to run or sacrifice one of your companions to sate its hunger.
    • Should you be unfortunate to encounter Something Truly Evil, you find yourself in one of these - you simply can't run from it or damage it in any way. Your only option is to harm yourself in various ways and hope that your suffering amuses it enough to make it let you go.
  • Horror Hunger: One curse implicitly causes the protag to grapple with this, leaving their mouth and chin splattered with blood. Gameplay wise, it lowers your Charisma stat, since your character can't help seeing other people as tasty snacks.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The game has five difficulties, originally three, as of the Halloween 2020 update.
    • Sceptic - An easier version of Easy/Initiate difficulty, but enemies are weaker and you're only required to complete four mysteries instead of five.
    • Initiate - Easy difficulty, the player starts with 21 max for Stamina/Reason and 5 Funds, resting during a mystery recovers 3 Stamina/Reason and earns 2% Doom, enemies are at full power, and all locations start with no threat level.
    • Cultist - Normal difficulty, the player starts with 17 max for Stamina/Reason and 4 Funds, resting during a mystery recovers 2 Stamina/Reason and earns 3% Doom, enemies are at full power, threat levels for all locations are random with one being near max from the start.
    • True Believer - Hard difficulty, the player starts with 13 max for Stamina/Reason and no funds, resting during a mystery recovers 2 Stamina/Reason and earns 4% Doom, enemies are at full power, threat levels for all locations are random with one being at max threat (Doomed) from the beginning.
    • Harbinger of Doom - A harder version of True Believer, but enemies are even stronger, shop items cost more Funds, and threat level for all locations are random with two being at max threat from the beginning.
  • I Just Want to Be You!: In "Worrying Write-Up of a Wordless Ward," you're asked to stay with a friend as they recover from a surgical procedure in the hospital. As they lie bandaged up, they begin acting strange and possessive toward you. On the final night, they reveal that they admire you so much that they underwent extensive plastic surgery to look just like you — so that they could Kill and Replace you. In Ending A, after killing your former friend, you discover that they had convinced every patient in the ward to get the same face job. In Ending B, it's heavily implied the plastic surgery was actually just the first part of a Grand Theft Me plan.
  • Impossibly Mundane Explanation: In "Alarming Account of Abnormal Arms", while investigating the mystery of a woman who was murdered without any sign of forced entry, you start to learn of neighbors who had personal affects go missing and hearing strange noises in the vents. Given the Old Gods' imminent return and all of the other freaky shit going on in Shiokawa, the root of this mystery turns out to be completely mundane (aside from how inhumanly elongated the killer's limbs got): the building's manager, who simply died getting stuck in the vents of the apartment while perving on the tenants... at least in Timeline A. In Timeline B, it actually is a monster...
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: The Aspiring Model's damage starts low. After you hit her for the first time, she flies into a rage and starts dealing more damage with each passing turn.
  • Intangible Price: Inverted in the form of Intangible Sale, where one encounter appropriately titled "Out of Funds" has a sinister man offer to buy one of three things from you for 2 Funds: The most tangible being A Jar of Blood note ; Fond Memories note ; or Peace of Mind note .
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: The game includes the curse Insmasu Looknote  and the item Karukosa Masknote , presumably for this reason.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Game Overs are preceded by a positively delightful description of your failure, including (without counting mystery-specific failures):
    • Collapsing and dying from your wounds.
    • Being institutionalized when your sanity is finally spent.
    • The Old God arriving and destroying Shiokawa.
    • Melting your face by drinking eldritch blood without protection.
    • Being sacrificed by a nearly naked History Club president.
  • Jump Scare: There's a few sprinkled throughout the game as to be expected with the genre, but they're very brief moments and the game doesn't try to repeatedly exploit them. Unless you alt-tab a lot...
  • Katanas Are Just Better: While it's hard to get it and requires you to be very lucky, the katana is, bar none, the single strongest weapon in the game. It's swing is stronger than every other weapon, and it does better damage than a revolver. This is justified, it's also one of the few weapons that is actually intended for use as a weapon.
  • Kill and Replace: The implications for the Gruesome Altar random event.
    "Seeing two chopped off heads, you can't help but wonder who's been preparing your food for the past week?"
  • Klaatu Barada Nikto: During the school event "There Was A Hole Here", this phrase can be partially seen written on the blackboard. It's treated as "eldritch writing" that teaches the player a random spell if they read it.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: With the "Last Stand" option on, you won't immediately lose if your Stamina or Reason drop to 0 or below, and you will be given some leeway to restore them so long as you do so before ending the event/battle and they don't drop below -5. "Sudden Death" mode, on the other hand, will end the game the moment your Stamina or Reason drop below 1.
  • Level Editor: While very buggy and missing several features, events and mysteries can be created and shared amongst the community.
  • Lord British Postulate: "Invincible" enemies like Oetaru, Something Truly Evil, and the Nameless Horror can still be damaged with thrown objects or spells, so it's possible to "kill" them by doing so (though the sheer volume of spellcasting required will typical tank your stats and Doom to the point the game becomes unbeatable). However, the game doesn't recognize that you killed the enemy, and will treat it as though the encounter ended in a normal manner (i.e. you ran away, or it never happened).
  • Lovecraft Lite:
    • ZigZagged. This trope is Averted so far as the Old Ones themselves go; if they return, it's game over - you stand no chance of even opposing them. The game's goal is to stop them from awakening instead. That being said, you will go up against many eldritch horrors throughout the game, and mostnote  of them can be killed with enough skill; if you succeed at solving all of the mysteries and disrupt the ritual in the Lighthouse, the Old One goes back to sleep, showing that their return can be delayed, perhaps even indefinitely. Though in spite of that, many of the defeated horrors are outright stated to be gone, but can return by someone else summoning them.
    • Also Averted with Endings A and B of the "Household Hell" investigation, as it's too far away to attack: the only options you have against the thing you've awoken are to either run away, leaving it to terrorize the coastline, or satiate it by murdering one of your companions.
    • Averted with Something Truly Evil, too. You can't kill it, and aside from spells (which don't kill it even if you deplete all of its HP), you can't even attack it. All you can do is harm yourself in a pitiful effort to appease it or to die trying.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The mermaid case has a special ending which requires your character to be afflicted with a specific condition. Said condition is only obtainable through eating the lump of meat, which has the chance of instead giving you the bloated injury or a random curse, by playing a certain character who accumulates curses after each mystery, or by randomly encountering it in the wild.
    • Good luck getting the students in the Schoolyard to discuss the Aka Manto case with you during that investigation. Especially if circumstances have led to only one or two students showing up in the Schoolyard at a time.
    • "Bizarre Bruit of the Bloodcurling Botanist"'s ending A requires a specific item, which you can only get from another case, and only get from a specific ending.
    • Successfully drinking eldritch blood and surviving is a chain of these. You first need a Tiny Key, which is only guaranteed if you get Ending A to "Alarming Account of Abnormal Arms". Then you need to investigate the School until you get the "Trophy Room" event and use the Tiny Key to get the Goblet. Then, you need to enter the Otherworld - which requires either the Void spell or yet another random event, and it specifically has to be the Upper Kingdom Otherworld at that! - and choose the right options to fill the Goblet with blood. Do all of this and you can get the single best healing item in the game, which unlocks a playable character when you first use it. You can also fill a glass bottle with the blood, but that is not advisable.
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • An enemy known as the Apartment Stalker can be randomly encountered if you check your door peephole. You'll be granted with a wonderful close-up of their nightmarish mask.
    • In the village, you can randomly encounter two strange men wearing bags over their heads to mask their identities. As members of a cult that worship whatever Old God you're going against in this mission, they pull you aside and ask you if you're also a worshipper. Say yes and they'll unmask themselves and join you as allies because you're their "master" according to some prophecy. Surprisingly, if you say no, they apologize for bothering you.
    • Aka Manto wears a mask not unlike Michael Myers. It conceals the black void where his face should be.
    • You can wear a Psycho Mask or a Ritual Mask, which is reflected in your status icon.
  • Monster Clown: Invoked by the mask of the Apartment Stalker, which reflects their brutal nature. The player can obtain a replica of the mask, which lets them do additional damage to human enemies.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Each of the playable characters has their own backstory, with some having personal ties to certain cases. In addition, you can unlock and select extra backgrounds to add more flavor and potential complications to your playthrough.
    • The "Medical History" background makes your protagonist more susceptible to injury due to past medical troubles. They also start out with Bandages to help them treat minor wounds.
    • "Hunted By the Cult" makes the cultists far more active. Your protagonist managed to elude them before, but they seem to be closing in...
    • "Seventh Curse" has you start with more funds than what the chosen difficulty allows, but cuts you off from gaining any allies.
    • "Ill-Fated" makes it so you automatically fail EVERY skill check during a run.
    • "Knight-Errant" will start you with a unique book that grants more damage during the mystery it's used in, but penalizes you with a significant Doom gain if you complete a mystery with any ending other than Ending A.
    • "Scars" reduces all damage you take by 1, but your max Stamina and Reason are reduced by 3 points.
    • "Curious Birthmark" gives you a chance of receiving a curse each time you take damage in combat, but you also get a coin that can remove one curse each time you solve a mystery.
    • "Eldritch Parasite" starts you out with 20 more Stamina and Reason than usual, but you're unable to heal by any means.
    • "Exquisite Taste" means you can only visit one sub-location in each area.
    • "Fatalist" hides the details of each Mystery until you investigate it, and forces you to investigate Mysteries in the order that they appear.
  • Multiple Endings: Most of the mysteries can be resolved in a variety of ways, depending upon what the player does/doesn't do and whether or not they complete their objectives. Some require completing the additional objective, while others require specific items. Generally, endings fall into one of the following classifications:
    • "Ending A", which sees you solve the mystery in its entirety, uncovering the secrets and avoiding any traps, and walking away totally victorious.. but not always innocent. True victory sometimes requires a harsh price.
    • "Ending B" typically sees you either resolving the problem at hand at great cost, or else narrowly avoiding success, while still managing to harm or inconvenience the antagonist in the process.) It can also refer to avoiding a hopeless death, but making a great sacrifice in the process.
    • "Ending C" are the "bad" endings, that result from half-assing the investigation, missing clues, taking the easy ways out, falling into plot traps, failing to be Genre Savvy, or even being a Dirty Coward and abandoning the investigation when the opportunity arises. These are unequivocally bad, with the problem getting worse, the antagonist winning, or the impending disaster kicking off with you being powerless to stop it. In worst-case scenarios, you fail to even "solve" the mystery, with your investigation stopping cold before you learn the truth. Even these count as "successes" and let you advance the game, however.
    • There exists a few "Ending D" endings as well; these are even worse than Ending C's, with you utterly failing in your goals or, in some cases, even accidentally helping the antagonist succeed. Again, they still count as "successes" and let you proceed with the game, even though the world is indisputably-worse off because of your "help."
    • The Halloween update added an Ending E as well. In this, you accomplish absolutely nothing, and the villain gets away with zero repercussions. You, however, are far worse off, having something horrible happen to you that will inevitably kill you, or cause great harm at best.
  • Murderous Mannequin: There's the Headless Mannequin as a reference to Junji Ito's Headless Sculptures. It's a female form, evidently without head, that's armed with a knife. She's encountered during the Sculptures event at the School.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The ally Iwa is based on Dwayne Johnson, specifically his portrait is based on a famous picture of Johnson in his teens, and Iwa is a direct Japanese translation of "Rock".
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Enforced by virtue of being a horror-mystery game at its core; oftentimes the goals given to you upfront are not wholly accurate or honest, and you need to complete the optional sidequests in each mystery to get the full story. Failing to do so may lead to an ending where you "win" but ultimately miss something critical that causes you to miss the full story.
    • Arguably the most prominent is "Bizzarre Bruit of the Blood-curdling Botanist." You are told to track down a missing gardener. Following the mystery's path straightforwardly will lead to you finding him under attack by a hostile living garden. The goal presented to you is to keep him alive and guide him out. This gets you Ending C, since finishing the sidequest and investigating the gardener once the vines have damaged him reveals the truth: that he's been turned into a horrible Puppeteer Parasite for a mutant strain of Cordyceps fungus, and by helping him escape, you likely just doomed the world to a The Last of Us scenario. Instead, if you learn the truth, you now have to kill him - though doing so normally only earns you Ending B. The Golden Ending takes quite a bit more work.
  • Ominously Open Door: You can encounter one as an event that's trying to suck you in. You can resist itnote  but choosing to go through transports you to the Otherworld.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch:
    • Fail to perform the ritual correctly in "Spine-chilling Story of School Scissors", and you're presented with a full body version of this to represent how you've failed to render the Scissors Woman vulnerable.
    • Whenever you encounter Something Truly Evil, some of these flash across the screen.
    • Some enemies appear to be glitching out, and are even named as such.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Your allies are effectively this; while your main character can take a beating from the various horrors you encounter, any ally that gets hit or launches an attack goes down hard.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The mystery "Macabre Memoir of Morbid Mermaids" revolves around a janitor whose obsession with mermaids has led him to start kidnapping schoolgirls and sewing their legs together. One ending reveals that mermaids are actually real - but the fish part goes on top.
  • Point of No Return: Entering the lighthouse. The game warns you that there won't be any turning back once you begin, offering you the chance to rest as much as you dare before continuing.
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed. While the police in Shiokawa are overwhelmed by the murders and various paranormal cases when the story starts, and in some instances, they're corrupted and turned into hostile monsters or a lack of communication and supplies hampers their efforts to contain the weird events thanks to the supernatural, you can offer the officers information and tips (in the form of 30 XP) at the Police Station for Funding.
    • Also subverted during some events: you have the options to call the police, but doing so requires a Charisma check to convince them whatever you've encountered is real.
    • As you solve cases, areas you explore will become more and more dangerous. You can choose to go to the police station and request more patrols, which makes the town safer.
    • Played straight with one of the Old Gods' effects on the town that causes the people to riot downtown, leaving the local police powerless to stop them.
    • Ending A for Far-out Fable of a Fear Festival averts this hard. You managed to delay the cult long enough for a police task force to burst in and stop them. The leader, your aunt, escapes, but the cops manage to disrupt the summoning ritual at the last moment, arrest most of the cultists, rescue the survivors, and clean up all the evidence in a manner of hours.
  • Power at a Price: Every spell in the game has a cost that balances out the benefits they bestow. Some examples include Flesh Regrowth, which restores 3 Stamina at the cost of reducing your maximum Stamina by 2; Mind Drain, which inflicts 3 damage on an enemy at the cost of 2 Reason; and Midasu Touch, which provides 1 Fund at the cost of 2 Stamina. If Ath-Yolazsth is the chosen Old God of a playthrough, Reason costs for magic are replaced with increased Doom counter progress.
  • Press X to Die:
    • While trying to appease Something Truly Evil, you can choose to commit suicide. Doing so kills you, unsurprisingly.
    • If you get the Upper Kingdom otherworld event, you can collect some of the god's blood if you have either an empty bottle or the Goblet. The blood can only be safely consumed from the Goblet. Trying to drink it from the bottle is a very bad idea.
  • Retreaux: The game is presented in retro-style monochromatic shades in simulated 1 or 2-bit graphics with a MacIntosh style desktop theme. The default display size simulates a CRT monitor with a sticky note attached to the corner.
    • Certain cues in-game show it's specifically supposed to be modeled on 1-bit/2-bit PC-88 games, though that was very rarely combined with realistic, manga-styled artwork in actual PC-88 games, with most of the ones that had that art style being in color.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The characters can secure a revolver if you get the right event while investigating or as a specific enemy drop.note 
  • Rule of Cute: You can poke the nose of the Dog Shopkeeper, eliciting a cute bark from it. There's even an achievement for booping his snoot!
  • Sanity Meter: The Reason stat. If it falls, you risk possibly harming yourself. If it drops to zero, it's game over.
  • Sanity Slippage: Reason gets whittled away as you encounter horrifying events. Having it fall low enough may eventually lead to self-harm or worse. If your Reason depletes fully, you will suffer a Heroic BSoD as the Old Gods return.
  • Schmuck Bait: In the Upper Kingdom Otherworld event, you are given the option of putting some of the god's blood in a container. The blood is described as burning hot. The correct option is to carry it in the goblet that's cold to the touch you obtain from the school trophy case using the tiny key. You also can just bottle it and drink it straight. The results aren't pretty.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Ithotu, the Devouring Fire is contained in a black marble statue currently being exhibited at the town museum. Reach 100% Doom and he will break free, engulfing Shiokawa in flames in the process.
  • Seen It All: Some of the underwhelming reactions your character can have to various events has them come off this way.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The dog store can help bring levity to the game's otherwise depressing, cynical, and horrific atmosphere, but it can close down at some point. That said, there's no guarantee as to whether it will happen, so you could very well have the town go to hell but still have the dog.
  • Shows Damage: As your Stamina and Reason get lower your character portrait changes to reflect that (cuts and bruises, shadows under eyes etc.). Most of the Injuries you can accumulate during gameplay also appear on your character there.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: While being on a Nicotine Rush speeds up your combat actions, Withdrawal slows you down, and thanks to your character being addicted, they'll burn through their smokes very quickly. The Cigarettes' description also simply states that 'smoking kills'.
  • Spooky Painting: "Perilous Parable of the Peculiar Painting," naturally, is about one of these: a painting that contains and/or summons an eldritch horror that, depending on the ending, can attack you and/or an art curator who you meet during the mystery.
  • Status Effects: Present and accounted for in the form of Injuries and Curses. Injuries come in both minor and major varieties: while all injuries can be treated at a hospital, minor injuries can be healed with a bandage while major injuries require a medical kit. In either case, treated injuries may leave a "treatment" card behind that may help or hinder the player afterwards. Curses, on the other hand, cannot be healed: they remain with the player for the duration of the playthrough, and worse still, they can stack.
  • Steel Eardrums: Averted. As of 0.9.12, firing a gun in combat gives the player the "Ringing Ears" curse, slowing their combat actions for the duration of the current mystery.
  • String Theory: Downplayed. The billboard from which you begin all of your investigations has elements of this as you complete the mysteries, but it isn't as over-the-top as most examples are. Kouji also has an exclusive event where he is shown studying a board with several pictures and notes connected by strings.
  • Tabletop Games: The section of the Custom Game menu where you choose which contents to use in a run has them depicted as a tabletop game box and related expansion sets on a game store shelf.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: One encounter offers the chance to intervene when you find a woman on the verge of killing herself. Succeed and she'll give you the dagger she was planning to do the deed with.
  • The Secret of Long Pork Pies: There is the "Long Pig Steak" you can acquire during a certain event. Eating it gives you the Hunger curse.
  • Three Wishes: The Witch's Tree can grant up to three wishes in a single playthrough, including recovering Stamina, learning a new spell, or receiving additional funds. Be Careful What You Wish For, however, because every wish comes with a curse.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Basically, the whole game is this. Investigating or visiting shops or other places increases "Doom", which is an indicator of how much time is left before the Old Gods awaken. If Doom reaches 100%, well...
    • Every move you make during the "Far-Out Fable of Fear Festival" scoots the story along, with or without you.
  • Too Long; Didn't Dub: Done exactly once to emulate the feeling of old localizations, as one enemy is called "Kinoko Gatherer" — "kinoko" being Japanese for "mushroom."
  • Unlockable Content: Tied to the game's Achievement System for failures as well as success. Releases new content for the game, including new items, allies, modes, even playable characters.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Being a rogue-lite, there's always the possibility of a procedural situation where the player's options are minimal to nil. And considering the Old Gods can indirectly impede your progress throughout a run, it's entirely within bad luck to end up heavily wounded, unable to rest or drink water, against insurmountable odds and nothing you can do about it.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The lighthouse, the source of the Old God's summoning ritual. It can only be accessed by solving all of the cases in a given playthrough, and is a race against time and mounting odds to prevent the Old God's arrival.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Your allies are much more fragile than your protagonist, and you can strive to keep them safe as you wade your way through whatever challenges the world throws your way.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Alternately, you can command your allies to throw their lives away in one last-ditch attack on some random monstrosity, make them risk themselves providing a distraction, or otherwise sacrifice their safety to save your own hide. And that's not even getting into how you can force some of them to accompany you by taking them hostage, or enact rituals that let you benefit from their deaths...
  • Weird Currency: The history club at school can sell you magical items, spells, or character perks... as long as you're willing to accept an often-hefty price in Doom. You can only buy three items from them, though - try to buy a fourth one and you become a Human Sacrifice.
  • We Need a Distraction: One way your allies can aid you in battle is by distracting your opponent, making you able to attack faster. However, that's because they go after your ally instead. And if they land a hit on them...
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Several of the preludes that open different cases end with some variation of the phrase 'What's the worst thing that could happen?'
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Some spells (e.g. Skin Removal) cost Reason to use.
  • Whole Plot Reference: In addition to specific mysteries referencing other works of horror, the overall game itself is very similar to a single player session of Arkham Horror in that you're racing against an advancing Doom Track to complete missions in order to stop the awakening/summoning of an Eldritch Abomination, all the while things in town get hairier the closer the Doom reaches completion. Other overlaps with Arkham Horror include the dual health/sanity resource system, the emphasis on resource management, encounters/monsters/items/allies/spells being characterized as cards drawn from a deck, locations having both a set purpose as well as random encounters, and so on.
  • You Have to Believe Me!:
    • Many of your potential allies, such as the students you can chat with in the Schoolyard, will only join you if they're convinced that there's an actual threat. Otherwise, they'll dismiss your request with comments like "You were always such a kidder!"
    • If you want the police to help you with certain events, you'd better hope that you can pass a Charisma check in order to convince them first.
    • While dealing with a 'crazy person', your protagonist can realize that the biggest difference between you is that nobody believes them. You can also not realize that they're telling the truth if you don't pass a check, which makes them land in this.


Video Example(s):


World of Horror

World of Horror is a Rogue-lite RPG that features some elements of survival horror. In particular is the overall lack of restoratives (with some healing items and spells having negative side-effects to balance out their benefits), inventory management, light puzzle-solving, and fights with otherworldly creatures where the odds are stacked against you and clever thinking can be just as important as, if not moreso than, martial prowess in surviving.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SurvivalHorror

Media sources: