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The Doll Shop

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Rating: 4/5 (25 votes)
Comments (1) | Views (7,659)

The Doll ShopArceusRomance and horror has always been a rather passionate combination, don't you think? All too often some innocent girl falls into the trap and awaits some horrible ending. I'm not going to spoil anything too much here, but The Doll Shop comes with an interesting twist: it is you who play as a man who might just play a pivotal role in the story. Add in some more intrigue with the disappearance of a little girl and the beauty of hand-drawn graphics and you're in for another treat by Atelier Sentô. We've previously reviewed two titles by them, Yûrei Station and Sango - Tales from the Coral Cave, but The Doll Shop definitely brings something new to the table.

I was pleasantly surprised when I first saw and read the description of this game. After playing two previous that were rather mellow, I was intrigued by the premise of something darker and more mysterious. As the main character, you inhabit a small, sleepy town where everyone knows everyone else. This makes it all the more horrifying when a little girl vanishes suddenly. People look around everywhere for her, yet no traces of her are ever found. If the hairs on the back of your neck aren't standing up yet, consider this: the main character starts to find items belonging to her scattered in the snow, and his mental capabilities seem to be degrading by the minute.

Much like Atelier Sentô's previous games, The Doll Shop blends storytelling with an exploration adventure. You can click around to maneuver your character, visiting different places like the local restaurant (aka, Ramen shop), public bath house, and even the shrine. The story takes an unexpected turn when the normally quiet village is greeted by the arrival of a stranger. It's been so long since you, the main character, have seen her that it nearly slips your mind that she is not any stranger, but a childhood friend! Even more so, you have the opportunity to repair a doll for one of her family members, a trusted family and cultural treasure in the Japanese village culture. This is your once chance, and she'll only be in town for a few days. Can you earn her trust and be together forever?

The Doll Shop

Aside from a couple of minor hiccups, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the game, and the aura was also perfectly done. There was a glitch I encountered that can prevent you from progressing in the game if you enter back into your house at the wrong time of day. Some of the main character's reactions also felt like a bit too much of a caricature at times, but maybe he had his reasons after all.

To play, use your mouse to move around, as well as choose options. Beware that after a certain point, your choice will have a critical impact upon the ending of the story, so choose wisely! There is also the capability to save and load your game, just in case you are too spooked to finish.

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1 Comment

FleshPuzzle December 21, 2018 11:27 PM

I just finished all endings in this game, and well... It sure was doll-ightful...


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