HomeVideo GamesGAME REVIEW | Retro "World of Horror" Delivers Unsettling Chills

GAME REVIEW | Retro "World of Horror" Delivers Unsettling Chills

GAME REVIEW | Retro "World of Horror" Delivers Unsettling Chills

When it comes to horror, I like mine more unsettling than jump scare-based. Perhaps this is why I have a love for Junji Ito, who takes a more “the less you know, the more creepy it is” route with his stories. It’s still a shame that we didn’t get to see his contributions to the cancelled Silent Hills, but there have been some alternatives that have offered something close to what a Junji Ito video game would be like. One of these is Panstasz and Ysbryd Games’s World of Horror, a title that feels close at home with Commodore 64-era adventure games.

With the option to play either in 1-bit or 2-bits (with very little difference), World of Horror has you taking on a few mysteries in the small town of Shiokawa, Japan. It is the 1980s, and there’s a strange air blowing through. From haunted schools to strange countryside festivals, nothing is too terrifying for the detective to brave through. However, with the apocalypse close at hand, there may be a bit too much for our protagonist to handle…

Much of the game deals with ghosts, spooks, and other creatures that bump in the night. Despite the game being created (painstakingly) with MS Paint, the visuals on display know how to bring a chill to anyone’s spine. Water-bloated corpses, knife-wielding psychopaths, and even fax machines are showcased with a shade of terror. Just as Corpse Party showed us many years ago, horror can be accomplished beautifully even in pixelated form.

When it comes to the gameplay, there’s a good mixture of playing detective and fighting in turn-based RPG battles. For the former, you can seek out hints and items that can help with beating the main ghoul in each chapter. Doing this can either help or hinder your overall skills, be it with dexterity, perception, and your combat styles. And when it comes to the fights, that’s when things can get a little interesting.

At times, World of Horror will let you go the usual route with fists, kicks, and weaponry. However, some ghosts and specters require a little divine power to defeat them. This will have your detective clapping, bowing, and/or praying to seek victory, a nice nod to Japan’s Shinto religion. Whichever technique you wish to use depends on the kind of spook you’re facing, as not all enemies can be affected the same way.

Strategy is key when one needs to either gain a victory or solving a mystery. One also requires a strong backbone to face the darkness that you’ll constantly face. It’s what makes World of Horror unnerving, as the things that creep around the corner don’t just pop out of nowhere; they stare deep into your soul until you either crack under the pressure or man up to face them head-on. And that’s what makes every second of these mysteries something that’ll stick with you for a very long time.

It’s only a shame that the game lasts only a couple of hours. Although you can find alternate endings, the handful of mysteries that you experience can go by in almost a blink of an eye. Then again, it’s about the quality of the story, which certainly outshines the quantity that’s given. (Perhaps more mysteries will unfold in DLC mode, if the game’s popular enough to warrant it.)


  • Creepy visuals
  • Good RPG elements
  • Terrific story


  • Very short campaign


World of Horror doesn’t reinvent the RPG wheel, but it shows a new way to give players the heebie-jeebies. A combination of great writing and chilling visuals make for a dark adventure that any fan of Junji Ito would clamor to play. With that being said, don’t blame me if what you see sticks with you, even when you close your eyes and attempt to drift to dreamland. Have a nightlight ready, just in case.


Promotional consideration provided by Haylee Kiedrowski of Stride PR. Reviewed on the PS5.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)