I can tell you this right from the offset - writing this review for Weeping Doll is going to take me longer than it did to complete it. Weeping Doll is slight in the extreme, offering just under an hour of gameplay, albeit for a budget price. If you thought Gone Home was short, think again. Like it or lump it, this is what we’re going to have to get used from these embryonic experiences made for VR.
The concept behind Weeping doll is extremely simple. You are a maid turning up to a seemingly abandoned (Chinese?) house, poking about its contents to discover what happened, guided by the most godawful voiceovers. It’s fairly clear from these dryly delivered lines that this place houses some dark secrets. If you weren’t entirely convinced of this, the profuse number of creepy dolls and mannequins scattered about the place should probably clue you in. It’s part P.T., part Through the Keyhole.
Progress is extremely linear. Every door is locked apart from the one you need. As you progress, more doors magically unlock. In each room there’s usually something to discover or some light puzzle solving. You know the sort - put the red item on the red switch, or place the puzzle pieces to form a picture. Nothing to too taxing and certainly none that would halt your progress, but is all extremely tactile and logical. The limited environmental interaction means you always know what you’re meant to be focusing in Weeping Doll, and reminded me of (a subpar) The Room in that respect.
Movement is handled a little unusually as TianShe Media is looking to sidestep motion sickness. You can look around it 360 degrees or tap the shoulder buttons to move in 45 degree increments. To move you use the left analogue stick to guide a ghost version of yourself to the spot you want, then hit ‘X’ to warp there. For the most part it works pretty well, even if it is a little fiddly at first. Constantly rotating yourself does kind of negate the wonder of VR however, and I did often wonder if a great deal would be lost just playing this on a normal TV. It’s not as if Weeping Doll is particularly scary, even as a VR game. Don’t let the creepy doll fool you. There’s a slightly foreboding atmosphere but for the most part this was easy street for my usually sensitive heart.
And a special mention for the ending. Or should I say what ending? I gained access to a previously locked room with a number of photos on the wall and found no way to progress. Wandered about the house for 20 more minutes looking for something I may have missed. Running out of luck I hopped on YouTube and watch a Let’s Play to see what I was missing. They did the exact same thing, running about the house looking for the next piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately for me they had a little more sense though, eventually realising the room with the photos was in fact the credits. A totally bizarre ending though it has to be said. I was in PSVR as well so there wasn’t even a trophy pop to show me I’d finished. Not knowing it was the end kind of tells you all you need to know about Weeping Doll's story.
All in all Weeping Doll is a very short but admittedly fairly enjoyable experience that is unfortunately all-too reminiscent of a lot of VR fare out there at the moment. By that I mean it’s overpriced for how long it lasts and there isn’t enough substance there to make it a memorable experience, but if you’re in a bind after some light puzzle-solving with some horror overtones then you might be able to extract a bit of joy out of Weeping Doll.