Are you looking to shoot through monsters, demons, and other evils alongside the danger of permadeath? Then Demon Zoo Games LLC’s first-ever game, Secrets Of The Witch House, may be up your alley. Secrets Of The Witch House is a procedurally generated, third-person action shooter and roguelike, setting players to kill and maim the evil that attempts to stop them from discovering the dark secrets within the house. If this sounds like your cup of tea, pick this game up soon on Steam on June 5th, 2023.
The Truth May Surprise You
Secrets Of The Witch House caught my eye as it’s an indie roguelike and shooter game, two genres I am a big fan of. Since I enjoyed the likes of The Binding Of Isaac and Gunfire Reborn, I thought this colourful indie game would be worth a try. More impressively so, Secrets Of The Witch House was developed by a one-person team.
In Secrets Of The Witch House, players assume the role of a nameless woman as she takes on hordes of ghouls, demons, and other monsters throughout the Witch’s house. To discover the truth behind the Witch’s house, players need a variety of weapons at their disposal, found for purchase in shops. Players can kick enemies too, and small enemies will die with one kick.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Throughout the map, players will find shops. These shops have a vending machine that dispenses health, sells two random weapons, and a pachinko machine. When playing the Pachinko machine for $1000 each time, players will receive a random weapon or a chance at an upgrade which increases their maximum health. Weapons range from crossbows, rocket launchers, and even a gun that has nuclear explosions! However, there are no ammo drops from enemies or in the environment. Players have to rely solely on the Pachinko machine to spit some out. While a shopkeeper NPC is present, you can’t interact with him, nor does he have dialogue or a purpose. He does, however, do reference the Merchant from Resident Evil 4.
Players need money to get the goodies that will blast both enemies (and a partially destructible environment) to bits. Money is not only dropped from enemies but also found in chests across the map and looks like green, diamond-shaped gems (similar to the Plumbobs found in the Sims series). When the player dies, the run resets, so all health upgrades, money, and weapons are lost. The chests always remain in the locations they are initially in even after death and reset their contents, meaning players will quickly memorize their locations to reap their benefits in every new run.
Chests aren’t the only thing you can find in Secrets of the Witch House. While you can’t find ammo in the environment, health vending machines are scattered around. It costs players $500 for 10+ extra health. Even better, there are secret rooms containing free health upgrades or shops. Players find secret rooms by destroying things in the environment, such as a bookshelf or a mask on the wall.
The Danger You Face
Even though the players have their weapons, there are plenty in Secrets Of The Witch House dangers that will put the player in peril. As players face hordes of demons and various monsters, environmental dangers can catch them off-guard. There are classic traps such as swinging axes, giant spinning saws, fire spouting from the ground, and red exploding barrels, of course! If the player is resourceful, they can lure enemies into traps or shoot an exploding barrel at the right time to take them out.
Graphics & Audio
Secrets Of The Witch House features a charming, low-polygon style with bright neon colours. Some of these colours stand out well in some areas. One location has a deep red galaxy sky, grey stone structures, and bright red sand. Another has glowing green and blue crystals sprouting from the ceiling and a bridge with glowing orange lava below it. I enjoyed the aesthetic of the visuals and how clean the graphics looked.
Overall the music has a nostalgic, eighties-type sound mixed with modern beats and old arcade music. No voice acting is present (excluding the main character and enemy screams). The gun’s sound effects and the sound of picking up money is great. Couple that with the music it’s easy to switch off and indulge in the violence.
Despite Secrets Of The Witch House featuring two endings, I completed both in under 2 hours. I continued playing after that, and it was pretty easy for me to get all the achievements for the game. While there is a level and kill count at the top of the screen, it doesn’t seem to mean anything. While the game is mindless fun, there is no upgrade system, a wealth of enemy types, or new areas to explore to entice you into another playthrough after reaching the two endings.
I enjoyed playing Secrets Of The Witch House. The visuals were great, and I loved the gunplay. It looked similar to the free-to-play game The Walking Zombie 2. There is a good variety of weapons. My favourites are the Railgun, Sniper Rifle, and Crossbow. The crossbow, in particular, I liked, as it’s fun launching enemies with it. My only gripe is that the game lacks content, and while good, it was too short for my liking. Some extra levels and endings might have taken this game to another level. The fun ends too fast. Therefore, Secrets Of The Witch House falls just short for me.
If you liked this review, check out Ian’s PS5 review of DE-Exit Eternal Matters.
I award Secrets Of The Witch House the Thumb Culture Bronze Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.