There are times you think you recognize the extent of horror until you are plunged into all-consuming madness. This is how the tentacles of Junji Ito’s manga reach into your darkest fears. Game designer panstasz has now put Ito’s art in motion as you navigate the perils of near-apocalyptic RPG World of Horror.
Ito himself cites H.P. Lovecraft as one of his strongest inspirations (because Lovecraft just has that effect on people, even posthumously). The influence is alive and writhing in entities such as the succubus of Tomie, the infected death-stench fish-creatures of Gyo, and the spirals that become an obsession that consumes an entire town in Uzumaki.
You will find yourself in a sleepy town off the coast of Japan. The Old Gods have begun to awaken and are seeping through cracks in your reality. Stay alive by making it through turn-based battles and building card decks out of your choices, which could determine if you have a future in this place. Ancient things that haven’t been fed in an age are too ravenous to pass up free offerings of human flesh.
If this sounds like the disintegration of an entire society in Uzumaki, it probably is, with even scarier things than spiral ghosts and human snails.
The stark terror of Ito’s aesthetic is captured in the pixelated black and white of an old-school Mac, sucking you into underground cults, random lobotomies, and creepy Noh theater-meets-Insane Clown Posse faces. You’ll have to sneak into places where ungodly things with hundreds of appendages or enough teeth to get you in the jugular may be lurking. Never mind the impending end of the world that only you can hold off — if you survive.
World of Horror will be invading PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam in 2019. Stalk its progress here, and appease the Old Gods through its Patreon. Will this game eventually infest your TV like Halo? Nobody knows, but after watching the trailer, you're going to hope so in the dark corners of your mind.