Dodge haunted mannequins or die in VR horror game Late Night Shop

Late Night Shop
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One of my favorite segments in BioShock came when I noticed—or thought I noticed—that the dress shop mannequins behind me were moving. And not just moving, but moving towards me. It was high tension moment, to put it mildly, followed by several more intense moments when I discovered that they were in fact stalking me. Something similar happened in Condemned: Criminal Origins. Mannequins, man. They are the worst. So it's great to hear that somebody's working on a game dedicated to exactly that sort of horror.

Late Night Shop is built on a simple premise. For reasons unclear, you find yourself alone inside a large department store, late at night, and you must evade the haunted mannequins who are determined to do you harm. They cannot move as long as you're looking at them, which could be a bit problematic if you happen to end up with one on each side of you. Making the situation worse, the game simulates blinking, and in a necessary concession to gameplay, the blinks are rather elongated, so you can't just stare at a dummy and wait for the sun to come up.

The horror element is dulled to an extent by the fact that players know what's going on right from the outset. You don't get to enjoy the uncertainty of wondering if that thing actually moved, or if you just weren't paying attention when you walked by the first time. On the other hand, the knowledge that you're being hunted has a way of really focusing the mind, and unlike other games, your only defense in this one is to haul ass.

Late Night Shop is currently in a pre-alpha state, meaning that it's incomplete and buggy, but also free, meaning that there's no reason not to give it a shot. It's available in both VR and non-VR versions, VR obviously being the way to go, but it does require an Oculus Rift DK2 in order to operate. Details and download links are up at TotalMonkery.com.

Thanks, Kotaku.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.