The Witch’s House came out in 2012. Popularized by Let’s Players, J-Horror RPGs (Mad Father, Ib, The Crooked Man) exploded into popularity. These freaking things were EVERYWHERE and like a weird little nerd I sought out and played so many of them.
The Witch’s House, all these years later, stayed planted firmly in my mind. I replay it, introduce younger family members to it. When I play newer games, I often see The Witch’s House’s influence. Sadly, most of those games never seem to hit the right notes and only surface level copy certain game mechanics without understanding the various nuances that made The Witch’s House work.
A reason I love these types of games so much comes down to how much I utterly suck at games. The humble RPGs, with their simple designs yet stylized backgrounds, bright colors and whatnot, are easier for me to handle. I’m not aimless aimlessly wandering around some dark ass street or forest wondering if I missed an item or event.
A Simple Plot of The Witch’s House
You wake up alone in a field, unable to leave. Upon wandering, you find a house. There is nothing to do but search inside for a way to escape.
Overall, you can finish the game in about an hour or two. The graphics and sounds are simple, but effective. The gameplay relies on puzzle solving, item finding, some chase scenes, and death.
YOU WILL DIE SOOOO MUCH.
It’s completely fair to call death a game mechanic because The Witch’s House is made to kill you. Over and over. You can’t save whenever you want but your handy dandy black cat save point frequents every corner and entrance.
The Witch’s House Spoilers (Minor)
Because of the nature of the game, I can’t talk about it without spoiling something. Again, the game is short and most of the gameplay revolves around making sure you don’t die. I can’t stress enough playing it for yourself.
You’ve Been Warned
Most of the deaths are avoidable with care. A fairly obvious example nearly at the very beginning being:
Take note of the bloodstain on the floor. That spot and that spot alone is the murder trap trigger for that room. Visual hints and clues like this hide all over the place. Some you might miss or misunderstand. The save point follows you from room to room. Dying is half the fun because the deaths are all different.
Sometimes anyway. Not going to lie, some of the chase sequences killed me so many times, I wanted to punch the creator in the face.
A Tale with Two Endings
RPG Maker games often have bad, normal, and true endings. The Witch’s House’s normal ending ends nicely with a feel good going home to the family vibe. Plenty love that. When I showed my cousin the game he felt super accomplished and happy.
“So. Wanna see the true end?” (I broke his little heart.)(5 / 5)
I refuse to spoil the true ending. Just know it changes the entire perspective of the story. The death simulator mechanics suddenly become worth the failures. Scenes like the one with the frog make more sense.
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