The Witch's House (Majo no Ie)
Genre: Survival Horror; Puzzle
Release: 3 October 2012 - OUT NOW
Where to download: English version here / Japanese version here
(Requires RPG Maker VX RTP to play, which you can download for free from the English version link above)
A young girl named Viola awakens to find herself trapped within the grounds of a mysterious house. With no other means of escape, she is forced to venture into the foreboding building, where she must evade murderous spirits and solve the house's riddles if she is to escape the wrath of the witch who dwells within.
What this means for you, the player, is that you'll be spending 90 minutes or so doing everything in your power to avoid being crushed, shot, drowned, eaten, impaled, or meeting your untimely demise in any of the other abhorrent ways the house has prepared for you.
At its bloody heart, the game is a relatively straightforward affair that has you solving puzzles in order to progress towards the ending(s). What makes it stand out from other similar games is the tension/fear that the titular house instils in you through both its atmosphere and its wide variety of methods of bringing your life to a premature end. It wants to make you feel like you are only a few moments away from the 'Game Over' screen at all times. Which, in all fairness, isn't that far from the truth.
I played the game myself just over a week ago and it's been on my mind ever since. If you like these kinds of things and have a few hours spare, you owe it to yourself to check this out and get a young girl killed in a selection of entertaini-- er, disturbing ways.
Gameplay (MAY HAVE SPOILERS IN COMMENTS):
Audiotastic arrangement (SPOILERS): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tje9gKnB9hs&hd=1
I've included how to get the various endings below, because you'll have a better appreciation of the game after seeing the true ending. This only tells you how to get them, it doesn't spoil what actually happens in them. Both of the main endings are obtainable from the final save.
Normal: After the final save, escape without doing anything unusual.
True: After the final save, examine the cabinet in the top-right of the room with the presents (which you visited near the game's beginning) before escaping.
Secret (adds / changes some dialogue but leads into the normal or true ending): Play from the beginning all the way to outside the final room without talking to the black cat once. There is actually one location where you can talk to it without failing this condition, but it's a puzzle spoiler so I'll leave you to figure it out (I think you may only be able to access the location after you've previously finished the game).
I know there's a thread about RPG Maker games, but this one is so magnifique it deserves to be singled out. Big thanks to Dusk Golem for introducing me to this and other treats like Ib and Mad Father.