You would think it would be difficult to beat the playtime of The Park, a recent horror game which took me just fifty nine minutes to complete during the review, but you’d be wrong. From the starting action of placing the PSVR on my head to the final trophy ping, Weeping Doll took just fifty minutes. Costing eight quid, that works out at just a smidgen under 16 pence per minute, which means this game costs more to play per minute than many premium chat lines that you see advertised late at night on the TV.
You play as a housemaid who has arrived at a place of employment, only to find the master of the house is missing. The game seems to be set in a classic Victorian English mansion filled with huge grand clocks, antiquated kitchens and old fashioned dolls, but for some reason also has a Japanese style bedroom with sliding doors and huge swords, not to mention a mobile phone. When and where this is set is a mystery, although one you will not ponder for long.
You must discover what has happened to to the master of the house through a series – if you can call four a series – of puzzles, some lengthy monologuing and a couple of images that include further dialogue. There about ten rooms to wander through and although this seems to be based on a classic Japanese horror tale, it’s about as scary as Pingu. There is no music, little in the way of effects, no sound effects, nothing apart from your footsteps and the odd bit of speech.
Speaking of which – aha – the voice acting swings from a bit dull to incredibly awful. The voice of the little girl has clearly been recorded by a grown woman making her voice high pitched and squeaky, which is about as convincing as Ed Ball’s dancing abilities. The script is also rather rubbish with the maid constantly worrying about where her employer has gone, but not making a single comment when a huge set of cogs and wheels imprisons her in a room. If that was me I would screaming to let out, but she doesn’t seem to care.
So, wander through a small house, solve a couple of puzzles, live through a solitary jump scare, and then the game doesn’t even have the grace to tell you it’s finished, it just opens the door to where you started and the credits and photos of the development team are now hanging on the wall. Bafflingly the game also has an inventory system where you can hold around thirty items, but you actually only ever need to hold just one, and the mirrors throughout the game are dull and blurred and don’t show your reflection, making them the opposite of what mirrors should be.
The VR is functional, although you do seem to be quite tall and brush the odd ceiling. The game uses a teleport system where you can place a ghost image of your self where you want to move to then blip to that location; it works fine but with such a small play area I could have done with traditional movement controls.
- The story is mildly intriguing
- So, so short.
- Barely any animation or effects
- No music, little in the way of sound
- Terrible voice acting
The sad thing about Weeping Doll is that the concept could have generated some excellen VR games. Taking tales from across Asia and adapting them in to spooky VR experiences, a virtual reality version of Ringu, for example, would be brilliant. However, the execution for Weeping Doll is poor, from the laughable dialogue to the puzzles which can be solved in a matter of seconds. When rated next to the brilliant Here They Lie for PlayStation VR, Weeping Doll just doesn’t come up to scratch.
Version tested: PSVR