I knew I should’ve destroyed that damned Lump of Flesh but with dark forces on my trail — drawing bloody sigils on my apartment door, even — and my stamina flagging, I was desperate. The ritual gave energy, sure, but I don’t think it was my own. Soon after, I took a box cutter and opened tidy gill slits in my neck. The ‘Insmasu look’, they call it. I was losing myself. I was almost relieved when my next investigation, into the janitor making mermaids out of students, took everything I had left. Gozō, The Thing Forsaken By God, awoke but hey, but it was no longer my problem.
So! Your goal in World of Horror is to stop old gods from awakening. No biggie! Pick your character, pick the god you wish to face, and away you go. To defeat the god, you’ll need to solve a number of supernatural mysteries which portent the end days, cases such as students vanished in the woods while filming or strange strangulations in locked rooms.
It’s easiest to think of as a card-based RPG with a bit of dice rolling (or, a comparison: like Yahtzee’s The Consuming Shadow with less and different combat). Each mystery takes you through a series of locations, which you investigate by pressing a big Investigate button to draw a random appropriate encounter. You might rifle through newspaper archives, find a magic shop, have dinner with a friend who serves suspiciously delicious meat, or be attacked by a woman who wishes to add your ribs to the collection you can see through her shredded chest.
Many encounters involve stat checks, need specific items, drain your mental or bodily resources, or are straight-up fights. Combat’s done with dice rolls, augmented by magic and items; fleeing is often the most sensible option.
And yup, that rib-collecting woman is borrowed from a Junji Ito story. World of Horror developer Panstas is openly inspired by the Japanese horror artist (you might have read The Enigma of Amigara Fault or Uzumaki/Spiral, as they seem to go around online every so often), both in the tone of everyday horror and, yes, sometimes content.
Obviously, I’m pretty into all this. I’ve yet to stop any dark gods from awakening but hey, I sure have seen some unpleasant things. I dig meandering through its mysteries, even if the current prototype ends up repeating events a lot. I like having terrible things happen to me, and how even rewards often have negative consequences. I feel like a small person going up against cosmic powers that will surely crush me. I dig the 2-bit Mac stylings too. Good stuff. I’m excited to see where continuing development takes this.