World of Horror – Review
Follow Genre: Horror, Adventure, RPG
Developer: Paweł Koźmiński
Publisher: Panstasz
Platform: PC, Switch, PS4, Mac OS
Tested on: PC

World of Horror – Review

Site Score
Good: Still holds quality very high, Fun refreshing gameplay, Different stories
Bad: Can be slightly frustrating at times
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Way back in 2020, we took a look at the Early Access release of World of Horror. The game combined visuals inspired by the works of Junji Ito with survival gameplay and puzzle elements to deliver a captivating RPG. Our initial impressions were definitely positive, but the game didn’t have a whole lot of content to offer, although this was mitigated by the difficulty level. Fast forward three years, and we’re returning to an unsettling version of 1980s Japan, to take a look at what World of Horror has to offer with its full release.


Set in Shiokama, a quiet seaside town in rural Japan, World of Horror’s narrative kicks off with an intriguing premise involving sightings of robed figures. This goes paired with an increase in disturbing disappearances, violent incidents, and strange creatures roaming the beach. In the middle of these events, the protagonist and his friends hear rumors of an Old God and a cult trying to awaken him. Beyond this base premise, each playthrough randomizes its narrative, so you’ll find different stories each time you return to World of Horror. Characters will respond differently to situations, through a skill check system, and every mystery you run into can have multiple endings. You can find out the truth to each mystery, but sometimes it’s better not to know what really happened.


Taking inspiration from the aesthetics of the 1980s as well as Japanese horror, World of Horror paints a genuinely unsettling picture with its visuals. Fans of renowned horror manga artist Junji Ito will definitely recognize his influence in the artwork presented here. That said, the graphics did receive a massive overhaul compared to the Early Access release. The overall gruesomeness has been toned down somewhat, as to give players some room to breathe. On the other hand, this makes the moments where the game does dial things up to eleven all the more impactful. We also noticed minor visual updates to the user interface and menus, making the game easier to navigate without affecting its visual impact. 


Unlike the visuals, World of Horror’s audio didn’t receive any overhauls, but given how high the quality of this was, we’re not complaining. There is quite a bit of variety to the atmospheric music, and it helps to underline how scary some of the encounters can be by upping the intensity at the right moments. The same can be said about the sound effects, which are on point. Whether you’re simply interacting with the environment or getting stuck in combat, your actions are strengthened by crisp sound effects. 


By blending RPG elements with puzzles and special combat scenarios, World of Horror delivers a rather unique take on the point-and-click adventure game. The game can feel a bit overwhelming at first, even within the tutorial, which puts you smack-dab in the middle of an ongoing mystery. Here you’ll learn the essence of exploration and combat, as well as how the menus work. Once you find your footing, however, and complete the tutorial, you can select from a variety of modes and start playing in earnest. The four modes include quick play, extracurricular activities, customized playthroughs, and challenges. We’ll break down each of these to give you a full overview of what World of Horror has to offer. 

Quick play offers the most straightforward way to get stuck in the game, with random picks for your character, Old God, and backstory, at your desired difficulty setting. Extracurricular activities on the other hand eschews the difficulty completely, letting you tackle the game with a strong character in the easiest mode. This mode is aimed at those who want to explore the stories without having to worry about everything else going on. Given the brutal difficulty of World of Horror -something we pointed out in our preview- this is a welcome addition. As the name indicates, customized playthrough lets you pick your character, Old God, and backstory, with the caveat that you can only choose from those you already unlocked. Finally, challenges will put players to the test, and should be seen as the go-to option for advanced players, as the difficulty is amped up quite a bit. 

Each playthrough of World of Horror follows the same template: you’ll need to solve five mysteries (or four in extracurricular activities) in order to try and stop the cultist in question. The mysteries are randomized, but they may reappear throughout different playthroughs. Mysteries you’ve tackled before can be solved more efficiently, earning better rewards and triggering specific events, which may permanently affect your run. Likewise, negative effects may have a permanent effect on your run as well, as the Old God you are rushing to stop grows in power. When you start a new playthrough, the game announces which Old God is awakening, and Shiokama’s doom level will start to increase. Once this hits 100%, the world is lost. Every action taken may increase the level of doom, although solving mysteries and triggering specific events can mitigate this. Either way, you’ll need to carefully plan your actions accordingly. Every time you solve a mystery, the power of the Old God grows, resulting in a random debuff. Some of these have more of an impact than others, and if you’re really unlucky, these may permanently destroy any chances you had at completing your run. 

Solving mysteries requires you to perform investigations. Characters start out with 200 AP, and every action you take consumes some of these Action Points. Investigation actions will trigger random events, ranging from combat to encounters or puzzles. Some encounters require specific perks or items, so taking on a mystery can be a time-consuming process, especially the first time around. The more you play, the more prepared you are to solve mysteries in the most efficient way possible. It also helps to take on side quests. While these may seem like a waste of time at first, they may actually provide you with items or hints like in-depth location details, saving you time in the long run.  

You’ll also need to keep an eye on the health of your character by monitoring their stamina and reason. Stamina represents their physical condition and reason represents their sanity. If you run out of either one, the game is over. You can recover these stats with the right items or spells, however. Additionally, you can recruit companions from the local school. These can increase your stats, but they can also decrease them through clumsiness or disbelief. Should the latter happen, however, you can throw them at an enemy and sacrifice them in combat to save your own hide. 

Speaking of combat, this is the final aspect of the game we yet have to cover, although it’s one of the more interesting elements that World of Horror has to offer. Just like investigations, combat makes use of actions. In normal combat, you can attack, focus to increase your hit chances, or use a defensive ability to decrease or outright shrug off any incoming damage. Some enemies might need an additional investigation action before they can be attacked, or you may need an improvised weapon to hurt them. Others may not take any damage from normal attacks, and you’ll need to use magical spells to banish them from the world of the living, or you may be forced to run away. There are plenty of tactical options to take into consideration, resulting in a game that feels as challenging as it is rewarding. 


The Early Access version of World of Horror set a high bar for quality, but the full version manages to surpass it. Increased accessibility means new players can get stuck in right away, and the various difficulty levels and challenges mode cater to experienced players. The randomized nature of the playthroughs keeps things fresh and motivates players to return to the game so they can find the different endings to each mystery. With additional locations, monsters, and events, the game keeps things visually varied as well, and some of these really stand out in how gruesome they can get. World of Horror’s full version really exceeded our expectations, and we highly recommend giving it a go, even if you played an earlier build already. 

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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World of Horror – Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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