Weeping Doll

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Weeping Doll Game Poster Image
Spooky VR horror game full of control issues, boring plot.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The story revolves around a disfigured girl loved less by her parents than her physically flawless sibling. Players see impact it has on her spirit.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players take role of housemaid who seems genuinely concerned for family she serves but appears powerless to do much more than observe.

Ease of Play

Confusing controls for movement, interactions with objects take time to figure out. Puzzles are fairly straightforward but could stump players who miss key clues.

Violence

Acts of violence -- including killing of a girl -- referenced in dialogue, but without much detail.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Weeping Doll is a downloadable virtual reality horror-thriller. There's no blood or gore. Murderous violence -- including the killing of a girl -- is described a couple of times in dialogue, but it's without much detail. Scares are generated mostly by spooky imagery -- such as a girl seen running around corners, always out of reach -- and a generally creepy haunted-house-style atmosphere. Parents should also be aware that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players’ physiological development.

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What's it about?

WEEPING DOLL casts players in the role of a housemaid in a large mansion inhabited by a family with secrets. One of the family's children possesses a facial blemish that her parents choose not to accept. They feel disgraced by her and hide her away. Players witness the psychological impact of this dislike and neglect as the maid explores the old house, which is seemingly empty when the maid shows up for work one day. As she wanders the halls, she experiences memories of what happened there and finds contextual puzzles that reward her with keys, codes, and tricks used to unlock some of the mansion's rooms to uncover the mystery of what happened to the children and their parents.

Is it any good?

Some games probably look a lot better on paper than they end up turning out, and this is a prime example. Weeping Doll's designers managed to come up with a handful of interesting puzzles that involve picking up objects like doll heads and train cars and figuring out where they ought to be placed in the environment around them. And the dark old house is suitably atmospheric, its old wooden fixtures and furniture imbued with a natural sense of dread. But beyond that, it's a pretty big mess.

The "mystery" of what has happened in the house is all but given away early in the game through melodramatic scenes performed by a cast of middling actors whose put-on voices are often painful to bear. And moving around the mansion is both unnatural and frustrating, thanks to a weird locomotion system that involves teleporting short distances by controlling a floor cursor. This awkward means of movement actually resulted in a glitch during review that kept us from seeing the final scenes of the game, as our maid accidentally teleported past the figure of a running girl who was supposed to remain forever out of reach. This caused her to freeze in place and stopped the game from progressing, forcing a restart. Virtual reality is creating great opportunities for horror games, but Weeping Doll realizes almost none of them.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. Weeping Doll included no visual depictions of violence, but its characters openly discuss it, so can words be as powerful as images? Has a verbal or written description of violence ever had the same kind of emotional or psychological impact on you as actually seeing violence in a game or movie?

  • Discuss the importance of looking past differences. In our world, the measure of a person isn't to be taken in how they look or what they physically can or can't do, but rather how they think and act, so how do you keep yourself from focusing on unusual differences in people you meet?

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