The Witch's House

The Witch's House

There's no Hansel, and probably no Gretel either

The Witch's House is a free game, developed in Japan and rendered in English by an expert translator who specializes in games like it. From a 2D, top-down perspective, it tells the story of a young girl named Viola who is forced to enter, and then escape, the horrific and dangerous house of a witch. But not everything is like it seems... View full description

PROS

  • Easy-to-master controls
  • Fun puzzles
  • Properly-made and artful horror
  • Multiple endings

CONS

  • Somewhat limited gameplay
  • The jump scares there are CAN be a little tiresome

The Witch's House is a free game, developed in Japan and rendered in English by an expert translator who specializes in games like it. From a 2D, top-down perspective, it tells the story of a young girl named Viola who is forced to enter, and then escape, the horrific and dangerous house of a witch. But not everything is like it seems...

A house that's hardly livable

There's no mistaking it: this title is a survival horror game, although it hews closer to titles like Amnesia or Clock Tower than to Resident Evil or Silent Hill. In it, you control Viola as she attempts to survive and escape the titular witch's house, solving puzzles and surviving what's in it. Though the game is carefully-paced and eerie much of the time, it does make ample use of jump scares to get the player moving and their heart beating. Throughout all of this, Viola and the player's only companion is a mysterious, talking black cat, and the thin bits of information they can scrape together about Ellen, the house's owner...

Darkened beauty

Viola awakens in a forest, with all her paths blocked by inhumanly large roses. Stumbling through the darkness, she creaks open the door to the only thing inside: a mansion of surprises, that responds to her coming with trick and terror in equal measure. From there, The Witch's House presents an impressively made, perhaps overly spacious, mansion that's bigger on the outside than it is on the inside. And it does it all with limited 2D graphics backed up by splurges of high-quality drawn art. These graphics may not appeal to everyone, but for the game's aspirations, they are perfect.

Then there's the matter of playing the game itself. The Witch's House focuses primarily on puzzles. Some of these are done under duress, such as when you're being pursued, while others allow you to take your time. In all cases, due to the game's top-down perspective and lack of combat, puzzle-solving and thinking is the focus of the gameplay. More accurately, it might be said that "thinking under pressure" is the focus of the gameplay. There are few to no points where the puzzle-solving detracts from the game's presentation, which is perhaps most important of all.

Most important to the game, though, is the story. Although the basic premise precludes most conversation, you can, if you so choose, find out more or less about the witch and her house. Without giving too much away, the process of doing this is even key to receiving an alternate ending to the game...

In memory...

The Witch's House is an impressive experience: better if you're looking for a methodical, survival-focused horror game than one with action or shooter elements. Its limited 2D graphics provide atmosphere however they can, and the storyline fills in the rest. It's an excellent horror game, one that understands how to pace itself. One moment, you'll be slowly and carefully rooming through the house; another, having a shocking realization; and still another, falling away from death.

The Witch's House

Download

The Witch's House