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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 1984, 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 takes inspiration from H. P. Lovecraft and Japanese master of horror Junji Ito with a mix of Japanese urban myths and ghost stories, (mostly) eschewing Jump Scares for atmospheric horror, enhanced by a Retreaux aesthetic reminiscent of 1-bit adventure games, along with the grotesque design of various monsters and creatures. Players follow a branching storyline as 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".
  • 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 hotspot for those interested in the occult.
  • And I Must Scream: Reaching 100% Doom while under the influence of the Cthac-Atorasu will result in all humans being cocooned, waiting for their turn (days, months, even years) to be devoured by the Old God.
  • 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.
    • During one phase of the "Far-Out Fable of Fear Festival", you can make four moves before time runs out for finding any survivors.
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the good endings are this. In the end it is made clear you can’t stop the Old God’s assault, but you can at least buy humanity more time.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: It's to be expected when both H. P. Lovecraft and Junji Ito were major inspirations for the game.
  • 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.
  • Daylight Horror: You're no safer during the day than you are at night.
  • 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.
  • Dual Boss: As of Version 0.9.14, one can crop up during a certain case: "Bizarre Bruit". Specifically, if the player discovers the extent of Shiro-san's infection before escaping the overgrown manor, he then pursues you out while The Garden attempts to stop you both.
  • 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.
  • Escort Mission: In "Bizarre Bruit of the Blood-Curdling Botanist", the only way to save Shiro-san is by protecting him while you escape.
  • 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.
  • Giant Eye of Doom:
    • The Old God Ath-Yolazsth is known as "The Towering Eye" for a reason.
    • One of the endings of the "Freaky Feature of Found Footage" mystery has you staring down a well... directly into one of these.
  • Guide Damn It!: You'll need one if you're stumped on getting the unlockable content.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: "Rotten Report of a Rancid Ramen" revolves around determining what makes the ramen at the new restaurant in town so addictive.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: "Initiate", "Cultist", and "True Believer".
  • 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 .
  • 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. Its one handed swing is stronger than every other weapon, and it's only just barely weaker than a gunshot if you use both hands. This is justified, it's also one of the few weapons that is actually intended for use as a weapon.
  • Lovecraft Lite: ZigZagged but generally Averted: you can reliably beat down any of the monstrosities you encounter during gameplay with nothing but improvised weapons and guns but almost all of the mysteries and the main questline end by noting that whatever you did will only slow down the danger for a time before it eventually returns.
  • 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 curse that punishes you harder for using spells, 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.
  • 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.
    • You can wear a Psycho Mask or a Ritual Mask, which is reflected in your status icon.
  • 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...
  • 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.
    • One case only has a single ending; however, if you complete the relevant Side Quest before finishing it, you're rewarded with an item.
  • 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 sowing 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.
  • 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.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The characters can secure revolvers as their main weapons.note 
  • 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.
  • 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 the world in flames in the process.
  • 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'.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 roguelite, 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.
  • 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...
  • 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?'
  • Whole Plot Reference: In addition to specific mysteries referencing other works of horror, the overall game itself is very similar to a single player Rogue Like version 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.
  • 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.


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