Weeping Doll Hands-On Preview – Bump in the Night (PSVR)

With the release of PlayStation VR on the horizon, we figured it was high time to take a look at some of the new games that will be coming your way. Thanks to the good folks over at Oasis Games, we’ve now had the chance to go hands-on with several of their upcoming releases. And what better way to immerse yourself into the world of VR than scaring the ever-loving bejesus out of yourself. The new horror/adventure game Weeping Doll looks to do just that, while mixing in a few puzzles for good measure. When it comes to sure bets in horror, you can rest assured that a weathered old doll has a creep factor that is off the charts. And when those inanimate nightmare creatures spring to life? Forget about it.

In Weeping Doll, players are exploring a seemingly haunted house, from a first-person perspective. With the aid of a PSVR and a DualShock 4, you view the entirety of a room by only rotating your head. Essentially you are a stationary tripod, that can swivel on both the x and y axis. You also use the shoulder buttons on the DualShock to quickly rotate the direction your body is pointed. If you are close enough to certain items in the environment, prompts will appear on screen, indicating how said item can be interacted with. And so begins your unnerving quest into the inner bowels of the manor.

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I can hear you right now, asking, “How are you actually moving around the rooms?” This is where things get interesting. Instead of opting for standard first person shooter controls, which have the potential to be extremely disorienting in VR, developer TianShe Media came up with a clever workaround. Using the right stick of the controller, you position a ghostly silhouette of your in-game approximation around the level. Once a position is selected, you are suddenly warped to that location. Yes, it is absolutely unwieldy initially, but allow me to assure you that by the end of my demo, it was old hat.

In my brief time exploring the mansion I came across a series of quasi-creepy events, including random disembodied sounds everywhere, an ax that is menacingly missing from a case, and a closet FULL of disheveled toddler sized dolls. Call me crazy, but I find the concept of a reanimated toddler sized doll infinitely scarier than any Cabbage Patch abomination come to life. Seriously, why did it have to be dolls? *shudder*

At a couple of different points in the demo I found myself locked inside of random rooms. How these doors shut behind me remains a mystery, but rest assured that it wasn’t by my own design. In order to escape, you have to use objects within the room to solve puzzles. For example, there is one challenge that takes place in what appears to be a doll workshop. Seriously, enough with the spooky porcelain, already. Anyway…after noticing that there are three pressure sensitive platforms on the mantle, I then realized that I needed to fabricate three dolls, in order to unlock the room and proceed through the home.

That’s when it happens. A girl that looks like she could be straight out of The Ring goes tearing by the now open doorway. If horror movies have taught me anything, it is that extremely pale pre-teen girls are nothing but trouble. Though my first inclination was to book it the other direction, I was chided into following the undoubtedly evil adolescent. Why? Because video games, that’s why. It was in my pursuit of this mystery child that I discovered the first clue as to what the hell happened in this home: the missing ax.

I was fully expecting to not like Weeping Doll. I can be freaked out when the doorbell goes off unexpectedly, for god sake. So you can bet that there was no way in hell that I would ever be able to make it through something even remotely frightening and atmospheric, ESPECIALLY in VR. Yet somehow the game really appealed to me. Sure, there were plenty of eerie moments, but for some reason I was able to tolerate the bumps in the night. I would even go as far as to say that I am excited to try out the full game. In fact, this was my favorite game of the entire showcase. You can check it out for yourself, when the game hits PSN in October. Just be sure to have a change of shorts at the ready. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.