Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Witch's House

Gamspot Score: n/a

My Score: 8.0

(+)Pros: - Dark atmosphere that runs throughout the entire game, - Scary at times you least expect it to be, - Variety of different floors and rooms make exploring each one of them refreshing, - Great puzzles, - True ending leaves players a lot more than desired, - Multiple endings.

(-)Cons: - Short, - Well, the true ending might not appeal to everyone, big time.

Gameplay time: Less than 5 hours

Pixel horror RPGs are great. Talented minds in Japan have managed to create these little RPG maker stories that turn out to be complete masterpieces. Thanks to a YouTube let's player "Pewdiepie", I have come to discover some of these, but eventually I went looking for more myself, and played a whole bunch of them (you will see a lot of RPG maker horror games coming to be reviewed soon). Well I'll save the rest for another time, because this game is nuts. Its nuts in a good way, and I can assure it. "The Witch's House" makes sure that players will not want to revisit it ever again, especially if they have seen its true ending. It definitely does well in scaring its players, that's for sure.

There is not much of a story here at first, and most of the pieces only come together at the end. There's certainly not as much story in it as "Ib" had. You play as Viola, a 13 year old young blonde girl that wanders into the forest. She wakes up in the middle of a grass patch after passing out and soon realizes that she can not leave the forest. Without any possible way of exit, her only choice is to enter a huge mansion in the middle of the forest, and of course, we all know...That is the witch's house.

Yep, that's our protagonist.

Being an RPG maker game, the gameplay is as simple as it comes. You run around environments interacting with objects, trying to find items or signs to solve puzzles that prevent you from continuing ahead. Most usually end up with you trying to look for a key to open a door, or an item to pave the way forward. Its similar to "Ib" and "Corpse Party:Blood Covered". The visual style is similar to, since all the games that I mentioned were RPG maker games. "The Witch's House", being a horror adventure, retains a dark atmosphere throughout the game, which will make your hair stand on end. You will never know when something might jump out of a corner to scare the hell out of you, and its a feeling that you will carry throughout the game.

And a scary experience this is. "The Witch's House" carries jump scares and just plain old creepy moments all around. Open a door and suddenly a life-sized toy soldier stands in front of you, shoots you and ends your life. A frog dies and as you leave the room, its ghost appears behind you, and when you re-enter the room, it disappears. The actions you take will take a toll on you during these scary moments. During an early puzzle in the game, you have to cut the limbs of a teddy bear, and a few minutes later into the puzzle, a gigantic teddy bear burst out of the door and attempts to crush you.

Believe me when I say exploring a room in this game is quite scary at times.

As you venture through the witch's house, you will come across a variety of floors and rooms, each with their own unique touch and feel to it. Plus, most floors contain some sort of puzzle, and most rooms have a piece of the puzzle that you will need. You will come across gardens, libraries, study rooms, kitchens, and some parts which you may not usually find in a house. Backtracking is present in the game, but they never feel too tedious as they usually surprise the player with some sort of secret. Like when you take a ladder and a tunnel from a further floor up, you suddenly find yourself in a kitchen at the start of the game, with a new section to explore.

And of course, as expected of a RPG maker game of this caliber, the puzzles are great. Most are well thought out and require multiple pieces to complete. However, most of these are just to find a way to open a door, or just to proceed, though they are still a pleasure to solve and will prove satisfying. The puzzles also feel different from one another, so it won't feel like you're doing the same thing throughout the game at all, which is very important. Also, what's a game like this without multiple endings?

Well its time to GTFO then.

This will be a common point for all RPG maker games, they are short. Yeah, they are all free and we shouldn't complain, but its still something that I should mention. However, it shouldn't get to you as the game itself is just doesn't last long enough and you'll wish that there was more. The one true thing that people may not like about this game is the true ending. I won't spoil anything hear, but its a lot to bear and if you're a weak hearted player, this may tick you in the wrong way. I know I was surprised.

I won't spoil about the true ending of this game, but I will say that it is different from what many would expect. It bears too much of a weight for some players, and it caught me off guard for sure. Its a good and a bad thing. Other than that, the entire game is fantastic. Its a free, RPG maker horror adventure that takes less than 5 hours to complete, but leaves a lot more in your heart after that. You'll like it, because I'm quite sure I loved it.

Happy gaming!