These days, it feels like every other indie game released is a roguelite of some kind, and while there are a lot of good ideas brought to the table, the barrage of releases can feel like they start to blend together. However, World of Horror manages to stand out from the crowd with its unique approach to the genre. Styled after the basic adventure games of the early ’80s, this roguelite RPG is a step or two away from being entirely text-based. While this may seem archaic by modern standards, there’s a complex, difficult, and compelling game to explore here for those who stick with it.
In World of Horror, players embark on a series of self-contained “mysteries” that need to be solved consecutively. Each mystery takes about ten minutes to complete, and the plotline progresses by selecting various locales, such as a forest or a mansion, and investigating them. These choices trigger random events that usually give you a few actions to take. Sometimes, specific perks or skills are required to choose certain options, adding a layer of strategy to the decision-making process.
World of Horror implements a system reminiscent of tabletop RPGs, where stat checks determine the success or failure of an action. Every choice you make feels impactful, as there is a give and take to everything you do. This means that until you gain knowledge about the outcomes of events, every decision is a leap of faith. While this can lead to failure in the early stages, each playthrough provides valuable insights and unlocks achievements that permanently grant benefits, ultimately giving you an advantage over time.
Designed to be highly replayable, World of Horror offers a wide variety of randomly selected mysteries for each new run. Additionally, each mystery features exclusive events and multiple potential endings based on your decisions. This gives the game a high level of replayability, as players can explore different paths and outcomes with each playthrough.
Combat encounters in World of Horror add an extra layer of tension to the gameplay. From facing a woman with worms in her eyes to battling ghosts, these encounters follow a basic turn-based structure. Players have several offensive and defensive actions to choose from, each with a time cost. The goal is to fill your limited time bar as much as possible and hope that your actions, determined by dice rolls based on your stats, are effective. The dual health bar system, where both your health and “reason” must be protected, adds an additional challenge and sense of urgency to each combat encounter.
While the soundtrack consists of basic creepy chiptunes, the visuals in World of Horror are truly captivating. Inspired by Junji Ito’s works, the black and white imagery showcases grotesque body horror and cosmic horror. Every image helps to sell the game’s hopeless and bleak tone, immersing players in a world of terror.
Unfortunately, World of Horror does stumble in one area: its approach to inputs. Navigating the screen relies on a mouse controlled by either the left or right stick, which can feel clunky at times. The absence of touch screen controls also adds to the cumbersome nature of the inputs. Despite this drawback, the game’s overall aesthetics and gameplay design compensate for this minor inconvenience.
World of Horror is undeniably one of the most unique roguelites available on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Its fusion of text-based adventure, survival horror, and roguelike mechanics results in a difficult, harrowing, and spooky experience. While its extremely retro aesthetics may not appeal to everyone, those who can embrace the game’s distinct style will discover a world worth exploring and fall in love with its eerie charm. So why not give World of Horror a shot and uncover the chilling secrets that await?