Preview: Weeping Doll
Stumble across clues in the haunted house you're looking after all while never really being alone.
Half of what Oasis Games is publishing is light-hearted and can either remind you of a Mario Party mini game, or is great to bide your time alongside your friends. But, don’t be mistaken by these as Oasis Games has concentrated its efforts into titles that delve much deeper, tickling your curiosity while touching on all the usual elements of a typical urban myth, such as with Weeping Doll.
All that was playable during this demo of Weeping Doll, developed by TianShe Media, was the beginning sequences of the adventure up until the end of the first puzzle, but it only took that long to decide this was going to be very similar to nDreams’ The Assembly, except with a storyline that is easier to empathise with and puzzles that stretch the mind a few more metres.
You enter the rather Victorian-esque looking house as the family’s maid, but if you were expecting this to be an English Victorian title you would be forgiven for your mistake as it is actually set in Japan (despite the distinctly British clothing, room bar one traditional Japanese looking one, and the accents). As you explore the house and complete a few simple key finding exercises, you come to the realisation that the house is haunted, and it is up to you to find out what is really going on with this spooky family.
Weeping Doll successfully checks all the cliché boxes, including ghost-like children running down corridors, doors that close behind you, and hidden clues behind old paintings and grandfather clocks. But, this isn’t to say that this will make you roll your eyes and turn it off, but rather continue to challenge yourself as the puzzles that it presents you with are actually quite interesting.
Players have both hands to utilise, and this allows for picking up more than one item and combining them if need be, which is required of the first major puzzle. Other tasks that will be required of you range from this kind of physical piecing together, to picking up on either written or implied hints that you may come across when searching through drawers and cupboards. Some may warrant a triggered resolution, and others you may just stumble upon.
None of the tasks or strange happenings that you come across are threatening in an immediate way, though, and this is down to the movement controls. What is meant by this is that each event is triggered by you wandering, and each event will wait for you to get to exactly where it wants you to be before finishing. This means a few jump scares, but no terrifying ghost running after you (or so it can be assumed). Using the Dualshock 4 controller, you take the figure of the maid and place it within a restricted are in front of you, and that is how you teleport rather than free-roam.
The depth of what you can call scary in this title however is not as deep as some would like it, but enough to dip your toes in and appreciate. The one striking moment throughout the demo was when you approach the filled bath to find what appears to be a dead body inside, but in actuality it was another doll. Based on that, this title can be classed more as a mild thriller than freaky horror – unless dolls are your trigger – but perhaps if you try it out during the Halloween season when it releases it might conjure something up inside of you. Or maybe not.
All in all, judging from the approximate 20 minutes play time compared to the intended three-hour play through, Weeping Doll is fast moving and will award the player with feelings of both achievement and frustration.