In all my years of suggesting free computer games through Play It, I've never suggested a game that you had to download to play. I wanted a certain level of convenience to the feature. It's always been browser games that you could click over to immediately. Yet, with all sorts of fun, easy to use game creation engines like RPG Maker, Twine, and Ren'Py coming out, it seems almost short-sighted not to include the occasional downloadable game. They're not huge files, they don't have massive processing requirements, and they don't take a long time to download. Once you get the client to play them with, it's just as easy as clicking over to a browser game.
The first downloadable game I'm featuring on Play It is The Witch's House. This is a Japanese puzzle/horror game originally released last October by Fummy. He created the game in RPG Maker and has very fair requests for using the material. vgperson has the approved English translation and it's terrifying.
You play as a young girl who has ventured into the woods to visit someone. You wake up to find your path has been blocked off by overgrown rose bushes and the only place you can go is a large house in front of you. A black cat begins to talk to you, letting you know you're in the Witch's house and will probably never make it out alive.
Seemingly everything tries to kill you in The Witch's House. The first room you can enter offers a nasty surprise if you step on the wrong square. From there, you have to follow the clues on notes--some on the walls, others scrolled in blood--to get through the various traps in the house. A note might say to "taste the poison," which you obviously wouldn't do because poison will kill you. But how do you open the door that only unlocks if the poison is tasted if you can't taste the poison without losing?
That is the challenge of this game. The puzzles almost all have logical answers. They just require you to really think before you act on any impulse.
A few times, you might get stuck with tricks that require exploration of every possible cabinet, corpse, and barrel scattered along a level to find what you need. The solution to the puzzle is clear, but the parts are well-hidden. Fortunately, those tricks are in considerably smaller areas--usually a single room or hallway--and don't take that long to uncover.
The style of the game is quite lovely. The textures and sprites are solid. The greatest strength is just the sheer amount of unexpected scares Fummy threw in the game. You can't predict everything that will happen to you because, unlike the puzzles, there is no logical explanation for some of the ridiculous horror gags in the game. A statue's head starts to spin after you pass a row of 10 identical statues? Why not? It's horror. It's scary, it fits within the premise of the game, and it's very well-executed.
You can download the English translation of The Witch's House from vgperson. You need the game file and the "RPG Maker VX RTP" to play. I've thoroughly scoured my hard drive after downloading the game and have found nothing out of the ordinary.
Check out more Play It posts for other great games you can start playing right now.
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