Note: This review is based on the PlayStation VR version of Weeping Doll. It was also recently greenlighted on Steam.
I'm standing in the foyer of what looks like a very nice house — there are a few child-sized dolls sitting in here with me. My phone rings, and I'm warned to leave the house just before the phone's battery dies. Guess I'll stick around and figure out why I can hear a child crying!
Movement is done well
I must first commend TianShe Media for creating something called the Shadow Step system, which works really well with a DualShock 4 controller. This system prevents even people susceptible to motion sickness or general nausea from experiencing symptoms.
The idea is simple — you use the left analog stick to move a translucent copy of yourself around the room, only teleporting immediately to that position when you hit the X button. To turn immediately about 45 degrees, you use the right analog stick or the L1 and R1 buttons. It works great, and I had no trouble moving around the mansion.
Gameplay is lacking
You're tasked with finding keys and opening doors to ultimately enter one final room that holds a big secret. If you're not one for patience or don't want to get spooked when entering a new room, go ahead and stick your head through doors or walls to see what's up.
None of the puzzles were particularly difficult, and one didn't actually work as intended after I was forced to reload from a checkpoint. I accidentally dropped a key when trying to open a door, and it disappeared. When I reloaded from a point way back in the story, a bunch of the puzzle pieces were missing, and I couldn't remember what they looked like. I had to check out a YouTube walkthrough so that I could again see the puzzle pieces and carry on with the game.
For a horror game, Weeping Doll isn't very scary. I believe it peaked at some point near the beginning when a creepy song played as I moved through the mansion. Later in the game, the cheesy voice acting kind of ruins any spookiness. As far as the end of the game goes, I didn't really realize I'd reached it until I saw pictures of the developers on the wall and a Thank You list that was too blurry to read. On that note, most of the game is quite blurry even after taking steps to ensure I didn't have the head-mounted display on wrong.
Detailed environment that I can't interact with
This mansion is fully decorated and very detailed, but unfortunately, you can basically only interact with items the game deems important. There are a few things that you can pick up and place in your inventory that really have no use whatsoever, but these items were used to cover up keys. So many keys. There are also a few rooms that I didn't see as serving any purpose other than to have a black-and-white slideshow play that I was so close to I couldn't see. When I tried moving away to get a better view, the slideshow would cut off. Fun.
The end is…
I won't entirely spoil the end for you in case you do want to play through the game but know that it doesn't take long to get there. Even with the frustrating checkpoint restart and having to reference the YouTube walkthrough, it still didn't take me an hour to reach the end. Even at the price of $10, I don't think it's worth it.
- Efficient movement system
- Very short
- Not scary
- Lame puzzles
Weeping Doll gets points for creepy, but there's just so much more that could be done with this kind of game. You're better off getting your scares elsewhere.