Winking’s third Playstation VR title in a relatively short period, Paper Dolls is now available to play for console owners. Released earlier for PC-based VR systems, our Playstation VR experience was our first one with the game.
In Paper Dolls, developed by LITCHIGAME, you wake up in a dark and ancient Chinese house, after crashing on the road with your daughter in the car. She’s gone when you wake up, so besides an eerie house you also have to contend with finding out what happened to her and getting you and her back to safety.
What stands out most of all when playing Paper Dolls is its control, which I’ll call “experimental” just to be nice. Developed with full locomotion in mind, Paper Dolls has you mimicking a walking motion whether you’re using Move controllers or a DualShock. This isn’t done in Sprint Vector style, but rather by pushing down the trigger buttons in an alternating fashion as though you’re taking a step each time.
It’s an interesting take on movement in VR, but although things get a little better over time it never stopped feeling clunky and cumbersome. I realize the restrictions that Move controls put on games, but the worst thing that happened in The Inpatient was that things felt a little slow because of it (as a reminder, The Inpatient had you holding down a button to move and/or turn). You always had the feeling you were going somewhere in The Inpatient, but in Paper Dolls it feels more like you’re trying to beat the controls – always requiring a ton of focus on them because it never quite feels intuitive.
So yes, Paper Dolls definitely needs some kind of patch to include alternative control methods – even on a DualShock you’re stuck with this mechanism and not able to use traditional twin stick controls. I stuck with the Move controls myself, as they at least gave me a bit more immersion when handling objects in the game world.
Enough about the controls, but it needed to be said, partly because Paper Dolls is a lengthy title that runs for over 10 hours – excellent value in terms of content when you compare it to the likes of escape room-type games like Weeping Doll (no relation, by the way). You won’t just be struggling with the controls though – Paper Dolls also features punishingly difficult puzzles, often because solutions aren’t logical (or maybe based on Chinese knowledge I’m not familiar with) or the setting is too dark to comfortably navigate. This isn’t true for every puzzle in the game and many can be solved with some thought, but expect to get stuck often.
When not stuck on a puzzle, the visuals and atmosphere are sufficiently creepy and atmospheric for a horror game, and made me wish I could enjoy the gameplay more than I did. The story premise is interesting enough, but it’s just too much of a struggle to get through it. At least if the controls get fixed you’ll only have the obtuse puzzles to overcome, but a walkthrough could help with that. For now, it’s hard to recommend the game, due to too much wasted potential.