The structure of World of Horror is reminiscent of other semi-procedural narrative-centered indie horror titles like Sunless Sea & Cultist Simulator (though I think WoH ties things together better — Sunless Sea is not quite modular enough to remain interesting for many play-throughs while Cultist Simulator is so modular that it becomes natural to ignore the narrative components). It seems like WoH will scale pretty well, as more scenarios and mysteries are added (and it seems like this is exactly how it initially scaled — I got the demo version off itch about a year ago, & it had many of the same scenarios but only one mystery). I look forward to third-party/community scenario packs: the author has done a great job producing a lot of content himself, but with the help of a healthy modding community this could become a game with unlimited replay value the way DOOM did.

I’ve found that horror is uniquely well-suited to procedural narrative generation, since it benefits so much from the reader (or, in this case, player) being disoriented. Surreal horror is easy to generate — just juxtapose various elements of creepy imagery at random — but can become abstract; however, add a motivation for successfully navigating that imagery (a reward, plus a punishment for failure) and suddenly it becomes much more engaging (and therefore, much more effective). WoH delivers on this exceptionally well, since its unique combat system is thematically resonant & exceptionally stress-inducing by the standards of turn-based combat.

Something worth noting: while the default style for WoH is 1-bit (to simulate a hypercard stack on a first-generation mac), it also supports 2-bit graphics, and I’ve found some of the 2-bit themes to be superior for engagement and readability. 2-bit adds two highlight colors in addition to black and white, so while it remains minimal enough to be visually striking, individual elements can be made more bold (avoiding the ‘newsprint’ effect wherein, because width is the only clue to importance, the busier screens become hard to navigate).

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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