Game Info: (Box Display)
- System: PS4, PC, Xbox One
- Publisher: SOEDESCO
- Developer: Creazn Studio
- Release Date: May 24, 2019
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Adventure, Survival Horror, Action
- Players: 1 Online (2-4 Players)
- Official Website: http://dollhouse.creaznstudio.com/
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
On paper, Dollhouse seems like a simple title. Players assume the role of an amnesiac who is trapped in an unknown location guided by a woman who claims to want to help her escape. Dealing with amnesia is bad, but making matters worse is that our memory-loss woman is also being hunted by a killer who seems to want her eradicated before the mystery of what’s going on is solved. With a noir theme and an intriguing set up, Dollhouse seems like the hit horror game that everyone should play. Unfortunately, Dollhouse falters and while it has some strong elements, there are numerous problems that need to be addressed.
Before we dive into the negatives though, let’s discuss what we liked about Dollhouse. At its core, Dollhouse is akin to a game recently released called Dark Deception. Players will run through mazes picking up clues from the environment and trying to survive traps as well as the killer who lurks ever so close. Luckily, this daunting task is made possible with a few skills you have. Similar to BioShock—which Dollhouse clearly was inspired from in more ways than one—players are given perks to choose from each chapter. These perks range from escape powers like the ability to spring for 8 seconds without stamina penalty and/or powers that let you see doors/items making exploration a bit simpler. Exploration is where Dollhouse succeeds—most of the time—and here’s why.
While running through the various mazes—that change each chapter—you’ll need to find memories to help unlock doors and to solve the mystery of what’s going on around you. Dollhouse will keep you on your toes though as moving about the maze isn’t easy. There are numerous traps to deal with and with the killer—who can end your life quickly—right behind you at almost all times, exploring is tough but rewarding. Taken from the game Siren—another well-known horror title—players can see through the eyes of the killer while moving about the maze allowing them to know their precise location. It can be truly creepy seeing the killer’s eyes and then seeing it turn around a corner and be right behind you. For those who want to just enjoy the story and not deal with killers and traps all around you, there is a voyeur mode that allows for exploration only and removes death. It’s a nice addition if you’re more into puzzle/maze solving versus survival horror.
Visually and sound wise, Dollhouse also works quite well. While Dollhouse might not be game of the year in visuals, the creepy black and white themed atmosphere can be truly off-putting—in a good way—at times. Sound and ambiance also help Dollhouse with truly creepy noises that will make stereo players—or headphone users—jump when they hear footsteps grow louder behind them or hear a creaking of floorboards in the distance. Dollhouse can be creepy, but its fear factor dies…quickly.
Now, while Dollhouse seems perfect—given the praise we’ve said so far—the problem with it lies in its flawed identity and how that affects its overall gameplay. Off the top of our heads here at Honey’s Anime, we can name several games Dollhouse takes themes from and we can also say those games did it better. While it might have a LA Noire visual theme and BioShock concepts—the audio recordings are directly from BioShock—Dollhouse fails to deliver a story that truly captures the themes it goes for. Equally, all the other game elements within aren’t utilized to the best of their abilities. Running through mazes might be creepy at first—especially when you’re looking through the killer’s eyes—but it gets old extremely fast. Picking up memories, solving puzzles and going over notes just feels tedious after a while and if you die—which you will die—you’ll have to retrace your steps to re pick up your items/memories or lose them all and restart over and over again. Dollhouse should have taken the core ideas from other games and worked with a bit more but in the end, it feels like a crisis of too many ideas in one game and falters because of it.
Lastly, we’d love to discuss the multiplayer element to Dollhouse—as it has some truly interesting ideas—but we honestly can’t. We have tried several dozen times to find games and always failed to find one. From what we know, Dollhouse’s multiplayer has players choosing from one of fourteen characters and must use their detective skills to hunt down the killer while the killer aims to bring them down. The idea sounds amazing, but we can’t comment on if it works or not. We won’t hold this against Dollhouse though folks. It would be wrong to judge Dollhouse harshly just because we couldn’t play multiplayer.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
- Randomly generated mazes gives a nice amount of variety and risk/reward gameplay
- Solid visuals with a clear inspiration by noir themes and BioShock
- Multiple difficulty settings allow for players to enjoy the story in a survival horror theme or as an onlooker
- Solid visuals with some creepy enemies, audio and jumpscares
- Gameplay can become quite boring as it never changes pace
- Multiplayer is a legit ghost town
- Story feels very been there done that before
- Fleeing the killer can seem almost impossible at times
- Scare factor dies out too quickly