By Josh Speer / September 1st, 2018
I jumped at the chance to play World of Horror at PAX West 2018, merely after watching the trailer and hearing the premise. The fact this stylish retro horror is also coming to Switch was just icing on a delicious cake. But how was my time with the demo of the game? Well, mostly positive, though there was some inconsistency in the game’s execution.
Let me start with what World of Horror does right. The atmosphere and visual style of the game is fantastic. Some might think a retro art style would make the game less scary, and they couldn’t be more wrong. The game drips with tension, and unspeakable horrors lurk behind every corner (or so it seems). Taking place in a small Japanese town, the confluence of Japanese myth and Lovecraftian entities works surprisingly well. There are elements of puzzle solving as well as combat.
The writing does a good job of helping keep things tense, as do jump scares like opening a door only to have it slammed shut by ghoulish hands. In some ways the game plays out like an old D&D pen and paper adventure, where your every choice has consequences, often horrible ones. My stats would increase or decrease according to what I decided to do. In the demo, I was trying to solve the case of a scissor wielding woman with a wide, unearthly grin. I was locked in a school and had to find the items to perform a banishing ritual. I quickly took a wrong turn and ended up cursed, and was barely able to find the chalk and candles needed to banish the monstrosity. Eventually I ended up with the right items, which is where I ran into problems – with the game’s combat.
Put simply, it felt vague and poorly executed. I was given many options, such as attacking, defending and skills, but the way combat was handled was strange. You could select various actions each turn, and then a bar would appear on the screen and progress from left to right. I assumed that meant I was being prompted to press the buttons at certain points, but doing so didn’t seem to accomplish anything. There was no sound or visual effects to clarify if my attacks connected, whereas the scissor wielding demon constantly did damage. In very little time I was a bloody mess on the floor, which although delightfully creepy, left me a bit disappointed.
What’s key to keep in mind is that my demo had no tutorial. I think that having one would have significantly helped my appreciation and understanding of the game. As it stands now, I hope that the combat elements in World of Horror can catch up with the wonderful aesthetic presentation. If you love horror on the go, you can look forward to the game coming to Switch, Steam and PS4 in 2019.
horrorJapanoprainfallPanstaszPAX West 2018PS4RetroSteamSwitchWorld of HorrorYsbryd Games