Everyone may have a plan, but that resolve can crumble when confronted with the spine-chilling realm of Japanese horror. Defined by its unique monochrome aesthetics, the scenes unfold in eerie, deserted settings, evoking a profound sense of psychological suspense. The tension mounts as haunting melodies intensify, leading you closer to the ominous threshold.
IT WATCHES YOU
Welcome to the World of Horror, also known as Kyōfu no Sekai. The latest release from talented video game designer Paweł Koźmiński and put together by the deranged developer Panstasz, World of Horror runs on the GameMaker engine while showcasing signature traits steeped in Japanese horror. This self-professed 1-bit love letter to famed manga artist Junji Ito (best known for The Enigma of Amigara Fault and Things That Drifted Ashore, just to name a few), plays the perfect homage that sits on a throne of blood.
You are greeted by the eerie and sudden droning that leaves your senses heightened. “I have watched enough Ju-On to know where this is going”, but deep down, second thoughts are forming in your head. How is it that a mere role-playing adventure video game devoid of modern graphics would cause goosebumps? Because the art of kishōtenketsu (起承転結) is fully in effect, and you are now a character.
Introduction (起) – The year is 1984, and you are given two options; Investigate the cause of this supernatural occurrence and proceed with caution by selecting ‘Spine-Chilling Story Of School Scissors’, or be reckless and go straight into ‘Extracurricular Activity’.
Development (承) – There is no time to lose, so you decided on a tutorial. But that uneasy feeling still lingers, knowing something bad might happen. Armed with just your pocket blade, a lucky charm and an adrenaline rush, you decide to explore every possible area within the school compounds in search of clues. Some of these items will come in handy towards completing your mission, but not without an obstacle or two. After all, class is in session now and you are about to be taught a lesson in meddling with the supernatural.
Twist (転) – Was that a wise choice in hindsight? Either way, you are not leaving the room without a jump scare or two. Are you being watched? Because it seems that your decisions are seemingly anticipated. There is no time to deliberate, especially in the World of Horror. Hesitance is the path to demise, and your heart continues to beat rapidly before making that decisive move. “How did I survive that hellish rouge-lite reality?” But it is over now, thanks to your quick-thinking and resourcefulness despite having limited options. Despite the emotional rollercoaster experienced while playing World of Horror, you gather the courage to explore another story.
Resolution (結) – Suddenly, there is a knock outside of your door and the need to investigate comes naturally. You step outside, and the sign reads ‘Welcome to Shiokawa’. The year is 1984, and you are now a character in the game, somewhere between numerous outcomes. Fortunately, this very reader will be the next person to download World of Horror and might come to the rescue. The question is, what fate awaits the new player?
WE ARE WATCHING.
World of Horror is available now on PC, PlayStation 4 | 5 and Nintendo Switch.