World of Horror Review - Time To Spiral Into Despair

World of Horror is a spooky 1980s inspired game boasting horrific manga-style graphics and retro point and click roguelike adventures. Check out our review!

Published: October 18, 2023 10:00 AM /

Reviewed By:

The Shop screen from World of Horror with the TR Review Overlay

World of Horror is a roguelite horror title inspired by the look and theme of mangaka like Junji Ito. Taking severe inspiration from 1980s horror and computer graphics, how does World of Horror execute on the eerieness of the time?

What is World of Horror?

World of Horror takes place in the small seaside village of Shiokawa in Japan. The opening pre-amble highlights it being the time of superstition/cult status, while also the beginning of technology booms in communication with mobile phones and the internet.

You play the role of a woman visiting this town to investigate the strange goings on. There are five investigations you'll get access to with each run. If you manage to survive each of these investigations you can unlock the mysterious Lighthouse and face the final challenge of the run.

The character watching as a shadowy figure approaches in World of Horror
The 80s experience is even faithful in the CRT screen bordering the game

Some of these cases include Bloody Brief of a Beckoning Bulletin, Eerie Episode of Evolving Eels, and the Far-Out Fable of a Fear Festival. The basic premise of the case will be consistent across playthroughs but with multiple endings and a number of different random events that can occur, there's good replayability to the game.

There is a lot that goes into World of Horror and a lot for the player to understand. Understanding everything as it's thrown at you is a lot of trial and error. I completed a number of full runs before I saw an ability with reference to an Ally, but it was only through random exploration that I visited the School Yard and found out I could recruit students to travel with me.

Having all of the relevant information on the screen at once is a great homage to old point-and-click adventure games of the time, but it can mean if you aren't paying attention to changes that appear in the log or elsewhere you can miss things completely.

Exploration and Battle

The majority of the time you're playing World of Horror you'll be exploring. Selecting different icons to travel to different locations within the scope of the investigation.

As you travel or reach a new location random events might trigger. A creepy teacher might attack you, or a horrific apparition could frighten you dealing damage to your sanity. This is also where skill checks will come into play. Does your character happen to notice the strange goop on the box, or maintain their sanity when staring into a different dimension?

Exploring the forest for mushrooms in World of Horror
The point-and-click aesthetic is nice, but can be a lot to keep an eye on at once

As you're exploring Doom will increase. This is an ever-present variable that shows how corrupted the town is and works like a clock against you. As you're playing certain horrific events might trigger doom to increase quickly, or you can even reduce doom.

Combat is turn-based where the player has an incredible number of options before them. They can attack with a weapon, search for a weapon if they don't have one, an ally can take an action, and you can even bow and clap to try to ward off whatever you're fighting.

I had severe choice paralysis for the first few combat encounters. It took a bit of experimentation to find a way to reliably get through combat but once I did they seemed to go by without much of a hitch.

That being said I don't really have any clue if there is some other 'best' way to get through combat, but I also don't see a real need to change my approach…

The combat screen of World of Horror
Combat offers a LOT of options and a close look at the things that go bump in the night

How Horror Changes

There are a number of other elements that will be different in each playthrough including which old one is rising to power or what level-up rewards you'll gain. No two playthroughs will be the same.

Each run of World of Horror features a different Old One entity that will be slowly rising up. You'll ultimately be faced with this if you make it to the Lighthouse. The Old One will determine an effect that will be present throughout the whole run such as every combat participant doing increased damage.

What items you can randomly find, perks you obtain when leveling up, and items for sale will change up through your repeated sessions too. 

The effect of the Old Ones on the world between investigations in World of Horror
Effects will take place between investigations altering the town

Further customization through settings

If you don't want the game to be entirely random you can create your own custom campaigns. You'll be able to select your character, back story, what Old-One is set to return, and what kinds of abilities you'll be able to unlock.

Picking your character alone will influence what stats you get, what starting item you may have, and even what abilities you'll get access to when leveling up. The developers have made sure if you're interested in this game there's a lot of depth to random selections.

World of Horror also features a number of difficulty options. These can affect things like whether you can survive one more attack after going into negative health and the difficulty of the oncoming threat.

The screen where you can recruit an ally in World of Horror
I happened to stumble upon allys to recruit

World of Horror Review | Final Thoughts

World of Horror is a game that absolutely oozes with character. With plenty of different investigations, difficulty options, characters, and more horror fans can really sink their teeth into this one. The lack of instruction for these deeper systems does make getting into them hard. If you've got a good thing going and it's working for you, then why bother change if it might ruin your run?

Filled with jump scares, eerieness, and some truly unsettling scenarios whether playing alone or with friends, you're in for a good time.

World of Horror was reviewed on PC Via Steam with a copy provided by the publisher over the course of 4 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review.

Review Summary

World of Horror does an incredible job matching the 80s horror aesthetic in both look and gameplay. While the gameplay and some of the deeper mechanics are obtuse on first entry, through experimentation you'll find out just how deep this roguelike gets. (Review Policy)


  • Unsettling graphics
  • Deep customization
  • Many replayability options


  • Unintuitive gameplay

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