As the PSVR rolls into its second month since launch, the games are still coming which is a good sign. Whilst it’s still a mixed bag in terms of what’s landing on our machines, there are definitely more experiential titles arriving to make use of the headset. Weeping Doll is more an interactive story than a game, and comes from developers TianShe Media and VR publisher of the moment, Oasis Games. Can the lure of a mystery in a Japanese house hold your attention for long?
I can honestly say I’ve never been a Japanese maid in a game before, and that’s who Weeping Doll has you inhabiting. Set in a Japanese house in what could be the early 2000s judging by the mobile phones, you need to wander the halls and rooms to piece together what’s happened there. Examining the surroundings, picking up objects and seeking out probably the most amount of keys you’ll ever find in a single house is pretty much the main objective, with pieces of the story unveiled once you enter certain rooms. You’ll not miss the story by the way, it’s word for word told you about four times through the hour or so you’ll spend there.
Exploration is managed by moving a ghostly avatar of your character with the joypad around the room, then teleporting to that spot. There’s no manual walking in first person, possibly to eliminate the motion sickness that can occur. Looking is unconstrained though and essential for manipulating the interactive objects. It’s one trigger for controlling the left hand, one trigger for the right, and pretty much pick and put down is the main action. Simple, easy to understand, hard to execute in a number of instances when presses don’t seem to register. There’s an inventory system with a lot of empty slots that you can fill with everything you pick up, but doesn’t seem to hold much purpose except for collecting one item early on that’s saved for later. A bit strange that it’s included in the way it is when there’s no real use.
So, moving around, listening to a voiceover and solving some mild puzzles… that’s about it, there isn’t much for you to sink your teeth into. Things are creepy but not scary, and even the selling point about the doll becomes a bit of a non-event when you’re presented with rooms that seem full of them. Design-wise the game is decent looking with the right amount of detail to make you think you’re in the house, and there’s enough in the way of off camera noises to make you at least a little apprehensive of what might be round the corner.
Weeping Doll is interesting when you get past the frustration of the object manipulation, and as an experience it has a couple of nice moments, particularly the culmination of your adventure. However, the ending is so abrupt, I hadn’t even realised I’d finished. It’s worth a look if you’re into Japanese horror stories, just don’t expect to spend a lot of time in it, and fortunately you’ll not be spending a lot of money on it as it comes at a budget price.
A review copy of Weeping Doll for PS4 was provided by the TianShe Media PR team and the game is available now for PSVR.