The Witch's House (Majo no Ie) is a freeware puzzle-oriented horror game by Fummy, made with RPG Maker VX. A young girl named Viola has gone to visit her friend, Ellen, who lives in the woods. However, those same woods are said to be haunted by a witch who kidnaps children. When Viola finds her way blocked by magical roses, it seems that her only option is to enter the titular witch's house and find a way to break the spell.An English translation of the game can be downloaded here. A spoiler-heavy prequel novel is being translated here.
Big Damn Heroes: In the normal ending, Viola's father arrives and blasts the witch to bits with his shotgun when it follows Viola out of the house. Subverted by the true ending; he unknowingly murdered his daughter and took the witch home in her place.
Blackout Basement: One room is completely black and you need to create a light source before it will let you explore it.
"Just for a day...Hee hee, I guess I did say that."
A text box description reads " A toy soldier with a fake gun". It's not.
Bloody Handprint: All over the place. They're usually a sign that a pursuer is coming up soon.
Breakable Weapons: At the beginning of the game, you pick up a rusty machete. You then immediately break it (cutting roses of all things) to get to the witch's house. It's also completely ineffective on the roses that lead to the way out.
Breather Episode: The rose garden containing the elder tree on the top floor of the witch's house acts as this. In this area, you are safe in the way that nothing will jump out and kill you. You can still die, of course, but it won't be something that caught you completely off guard, as it usually is in this game.
Brown Note: Possibly The Book of Death. Reading it leads to Viola scratching out her own eyes.
Captain Obvious: At one point, the cat says, "By the way, this is a witch's house. You know that, right?"
Possibly justified by the fact that the player just got chased through a corridor by flying knives, and is likely wondering what the hell just happened.
Cats Are Mean: Subverted. A black cat follows Viola into the witch's house and provides friendly chatter (in addition to allowing her to save). While he comes off as aloof at times, he seems genuinely concerned about her. In both endings, he approaches and disappears with her body. And then double-subverted when he's revealed to be possessed by the demon that gave Ellen her powers, and was most likely claiming poor Viola's soul as another victim.
Cats Are Snarkers: At the half-way point in the game: "By the way, you know that this is a witch's house, right? Right." The line is even more snarky given that the girl we are playing as is the witch, in Viola's body.
Cruelty Is the Only Option: Several times if you want to progress. You have to feed your pet frog to a monster when it has done nothing but help you and there's also the part where you cut off the limbs of a teddy bear, and when you have to kill a flower... Justified since you are actually playing as the Witch. Of course she wouldn't hesitate in the slightest to commit evil actions to save herself.
Cutting the Knot: 1.07's new ending, '___', involves this. Instead of entering the house at all, Viola just sits outside for an hour until it goes away.
Deal with the Devil: The witch is said to be in one with a demon. It can't use its powers to kill in our world, so she sacrifices souls to it in exchange for magic. Ellen entered the contract because the demon said it could cure her illness.
The protagonist never gives up trying to get out of the house, no matter what tries to kill her. The protagonist, really Ellen, is a determinator not just in trying to escape the house, but in how far she's willing to go just to get a body that doesn't hurt. The lengths she went to get Viola's body are quite extreme.
The antagonist is also extremely determined. She chases you despite having no legs, no eyes, no voice, and should be dead by now. She's really Viola, and not only is she royally angered at Ellen for what Ellen did to her, she also wants to hurry back to her father's side. Despite how much pain she's in, she doesn't give up. The only thing that stops her is two bullets to the brain.
Dont Go Into The Woods: The letter from your father tells you to not go into the woods, though it's actually your way out.
Driven to Suicide: When you first enter the library, there's an invisible person who says that they are sorting books and need something to tie them together. After you give them a rope to solve a puzzle, the person thanks you. If you backtrack to the room after that, you'll find that they tied the rope into a noose and killed themselves.
Earn Your Bad Ending: Although each ending isn't really any better or worse than the other as the major events don't change, the audience learns more with each ending, which always shows that things are worse than the player thought before.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Played with. The only real happy ending, given the True End Reveal, is to work through most of the game without dying, then letting the "witch" catch you in her chase scene, presumably allowing Viola to return to her original body. Hopefully. Maybe.
Eldritch Location: The house. It is explicitly stated that it can change to the witch's will.
Escape Sequence: essentially any chase sequence. Notably, your final trial is to escape from the witch herself or rather from Viola trapped in her body.
Even Evil Has Standards: The cat mentions that it was mean of you to cut up the white flower on the roof. Yes, the demon who eats the souls of children thought the callousness of that act was worth pointing out. Unless of course he was just being a smartass.
After you read "A Funny Story", you hear a pretty demented laugh and see one of the chairs in the library rock in rhythym with it. Maybe it's just one of the manifestations of the house, or maybe it's Ellen's own...
Ellen, in Viola's body, gives a wicked little (soundless) snicker after Viola's father shoots Viola (in Ellen's body).
The Book of Death causes you to scratch out your own eyeballs.
The Farmer And The Viper: Viola, feeling sorry for how Ellen was so ill that she couldn't even get out of her bed, allowed her to switch bodies with her "for a day". In return, "Viola" gouges out "Ellen's" eyes, cuts off her legs, and forces burning "medicine" down her throat. And that's before the start of the game.
Grand Theft Me: The true ending reveals that, before the start of the game, Ellen and Viola had swapped bodies. The third pseudo-ending implies that Ellen had planned on stealing someone's body from the beginning, as that was the spell she received from the demon's contract.
Half the Man He Used to Be: When Viola finally comes face-to-face with the witch, all that's left of her is her mangled upper body. In the third pseudo-ending, it's revealed that Ellen cut her legs off and gouged her eyes out just so that Viola would despair as she died. To add insult to injury, Ellen gave Viola a throat-burning "medicine" so that she would no longer be able to speak. This was to ensure Viola died, because a witch's immortality and glamour fails if she suffers great despair, according to the novel.
It Amused Me: At the beginning, the cat says that he's following you around for laughs.
Justified Save Point: not stated outright, but since the cat is actually a powerful demon, it makes sense he could return the Witch from the grave.
Karma Houdini: Ellen gets away with sacrificing an untold number of lost children to a demon and stealing Viola's body. Unless, of course, you count getting painfully killed every time you screw up.
Karmic Death: An easily missable Easter Egg: When you return to the garden, you'll see everything has wilted. The yellow flowers that ordered an assassination on the white flower are dead with one of them being eaten by a clock.
Killed Mid-Sentence: If you touch the clock on the top floor, it will fall over and kill you while the text in the box is still loading.
Loophole Abuse: There is a room where a note on the wall tells you not to let anything distract you on the following hallway. Normally, doing anything but walking in a straight line to the exit would result in death by giant rock, but if you proceed into the hallway without reading the note, you CAN let things distract you, and nothing will happen. Ignorance of the rule excuses you!
The Magic Goes Away: With the death of the witch (or her body at least), the house and the inhabitants disappear. This is why the demon leaves the cat's body, since he would vanish along with everything else.
Meaningful Name: A viola is an instrument, which is played by a violist to extract the sounds that they want to hear. Viola gets played by Ellen to sympathise with her until she trusts her enough to hand over her body, which is what Ellen wanted.
Medium Awareness: In the hallway with the line of cat statues, the black cat is sitting on a pedestal. When you talk to him, he says "A Cat Statue" in an attempt to trick you. This would only work if he knew his text showed up in a text box just like the descriptions of objects.
Mood Whiplash: The true ending, where the character is rooting for the protagonist one minute and... not rooting the next minute..
Multiple Endings: Three. A normal ending, a true ending, and a "pseudo third ending" As of 1.07 there is a new ending Called '___'. This requires waiting 50 minutes at the starting screen where you meet the black cat, then proceeding out.
Musical Spoiler: A sudden lack of music is a fairly good indication that you are about to die. Assuming you're not already dead.
Parodied in a sense with the books and articles. Where it would read "die" or "killed" or the like, it instead just reads "X".
Averted when the tadpoles outright tell you that their father is dead, and you killed him.
Nightmare Face: if you open the menu and look at Viola's portrait in total darkness (or after picking up the stopwatch of death), you'll see her face terrifyingly distorted and sporting a huge Slasher Smile.
Nothing Is Scarier: There is one room which is completely dark and can only traverse if you have a certain item. Even with said certain item, however, you only have a small bit of light as you walk through very narrow halls. And as you make your way back to the door, you drop it, causing the last few seconds of that stage to be completed in complete darkness, with the sounds of statues moving all around. It's even worse if you decide to open the menu, because you'll see the normally innocent-looking Viola look absolutely demonic.
Number of the Beast: A hint to the number puzzle that opens the door to the room full of medicines and eyes is "Bottom-left times 666."
In addition to the aforementioned decapitation-by-Giant Spider, putting on the red shoes instead of washing them results in Viola's body running off without its head.
Forcing open a door at one point causes your head to suddenly snap off.
Ominous Save Prompt: When you finally get to the witch, the game saving screen appears one last time.
One-Hit Kill: Every pursuer and obstacle in the game will kill Viola instantly (well, the poison from the dining room takes a few steps to kick in).
One-Hit-Point Wonder: The menu shows she has 10 hit points, but they have absolutely no incidence on gameplay...
Origins Episode: The Diary of Ellen is a novel written from Ellen's point of view, and explains various things about the game's backstory. The significance of certain rooms and items are also expanded upon.
Our Demons Are Different: It seems to be the possessing kind, prefers the body of a cat, eats the souls of children, and mentions that even though it doesn't have a physical form, that doesn't make it immortal.
Parasol of Prettiness: One room has a picture of a lady with a parasol. After solving the puzzle there, it changes with the lady now looking at you.
Playing The Player: You were playing as the villain all along. All the deaths you had? You probably had it coming.
Parental Neglect: In the prequel novel we're told Ellen's mother tried to abandon her after getting fed up with dealing with her illness and her father actively ignored her existence entirely. It's outright stated that the father had a drug addiction and neglected her until the very end.
Really 700 Years Old: In The Diary of Ellen it is revealed that Ellen herself has been around for what she guesses to be decades or even centuries.
Red Herring: In the dark area, you can find a wristwatch, but not only is it not a plot-necessary object, picking it up and trying to walk away gets you hung. If you look at the description, it reads "DIE".
Don't step on that blood pool in the middle of the first note room. Don't lend the invisible chef a hand (unless it's not yours). Don't read The Book of Death. And don't touch the clock on the fourth floor. There's also one room where Viola is explicitly told to let nothing distract her, and doing anything but walking in a straight line to the exit, such as investigating items or dodging (fake) traps, results in her being crushed by a boulder.
One of the best examples is the spikes to the side of one of the doors. You don't need to dodge them, as they're out of the way, so basically pretty much the only way to die from the spikes is to voluntarily walk into them.
You find a pair of red shoes (which are bad if you put them on, like in the original story), which can be turned into glass shoes which are good, like in the original story. Okay, the versions that used glass shoes).
An interesting one, to Touhou Project: Viola has blonde hair and green eyes. Ellen, an obscure character from the third PC-98 Touhou Project game, has blonde hair and green eyes. Really, the two girls look almost exactly alike. And since "Viola" is really "Ellen"... It gets even better: Touhou's Ellen is also a witch and has a pet cat.
The black cat may be inspired by Kyuubey. They're both magical entities taking the form of cute creatures that form contracts with mortal girls, granting them magical powers and eventually turning them to witches, in order to receive sustenance (Kyuubey for the universe, the cat demon for himself). Also both appear at first to be run-of-the-mill magical companions before being revealed to be much more sinister than they first appear to be. To continue the parallel, the house can be seen as Ellen's "barrier" and has some characteristics of one.
Solve the Soup Cans: You never get through a locked door by using a key, at least in the normal way. The game hangs a lampshade on this in the library where one book reads "Keys do not open doors in the witch's house. Something else must serve as a key." It's justified since the witch controls reality in the house, so the place doesn't have to obey the normal laws of the universe or common sense.
Too Dumb to Live: Several of the ways to die are this, such as drinking a bowl of poison or trying to walk across a beam that the narration notes would snap in an instant from your weight. The game usually has you confirm these options a second time to hammer in what a bad idea they are.
True Colors: In the room where you need to find your way around using a small light, after getting the jade pipe, you start to hear noises of the statues "chasing" after you. At one point when you drop the Bottle (or after picking up the wristwatch earlier), going into the main menu will show Viola with black hair, red skin, and a Slasher Smile, as Foreshadowing to who Viola really is.
The Walls Are Closing In: The first trap you encounter is this. It also happens later should you enter the cell of the person you give powder and a pipe to, only slower.
Waiting Puzzle: In 1.07, this is added in as an Easter Egg. Viola has to wait at the first screen for a full hour to obtain the third ending, '___'.
We Used to Be Friends: Viola clearly cared a lot about Ellen, as one book states that the body-swapping spell required a bond of trust to succeed. When Ellen betrayed her, Viola was forced to try trapping and killing her to get her body back.