Mannequin Meta Quest Impressions: A Creative Twist on a Multiplayer Classic

Mannequin Key Art
(Image credit: Fast Travel Games)

By infusing Prop Hunt with a sci-fi, narrative-driven bent and translating its most compelling elements into VR while bringing wholly original ideas to the table, Mannequin shows immense promise as an asymmetrical multiplayer VR game.

For the uninitiated, Prop Hunt is one of the most influential multiplayer games ever made that spawned from a mod of the popular game Gary's Mod. Taking hide and seek to the next level, Prop Hunt tasks players with disguising themselves as various items (or props) in an environment—stuff you'd find in a multiplayer game map. It's so popular that it's gone on to spawn tons of imitators, including from the likes of Fortnite. But Mannequin isn't just a cheap imitator. Bringing this premise into VR infuses this winning setup with engaging originality.

We at Android Central have been excited about Mannequin since it was first announced last year and ahead of its launch in the App Lab, I had the opportunity to play Mannequin with some of its developers before launch. Throughout my hour-or-so demo of the game, I played as both a human agent and one of the invading alien Mannequins and explored a pair of the maps that will be available in the game at launch.

The world of Mannequin has been invaded by eponymous aliens with the ability to freeze humans and disguise themselves as frozen humans at any point.

The world of Mannequin has been invaded by eponymous aliens with the ability to freeze humans and disguise themselves as frozen humans at any point. Their goal is to freeze both of the human agents without getting shot or caught or to take down all three power stations on the map. Each map is packed with identical-looking frozen humans who've been spawned in random places. Trying to blend in, you can freeze in place as a Mannequin at any point and in any pose as you lurk in disguise, waiting for an unassuming agent to pass by.

Both your pose and positioning when you freeze matter here. Not only will an unnatural pose give you away, but it's also important that you take the frozen humans' positions into account when you get ready to strike. While you're frozen, you can still look around freely, too, which makes it easier to take a tough but convincing pose without turning your back to the enemy. You can also perform a dash while frozen or while moving around. The dash is on a short cooldown time, so you'll need to strike carefully or hope that your prey has bad aim.

A screenshot from Mannequin VR

(Image credit: Fast Travel Games)

Tasked with hunting down the Mannequins, Agents are equipped with a sensor that reveals any aliens within a certain area and a gun that senses nearby aliens and vibrates when pointed in their general direction but doesn't explicitly reveal them.

The gun only starts loaded with a few rounds and shooting a civilian target will cause it to jam, making sure that you're not just firing around willy-nilly. But if you're a little trigger-happy, you can refill your weapon at the same stations that the Mannequins are trying to shut down, creating a reason to defend these chokepoints with incentives beyond just eliminating the alien threat.

Agents must take down the aliens but have to use special tools to identify them — or be clever enough to spot the ruse among the frozen humans.

Players in either role have a chance to revive a downed teammate, but doing so might put them at risk of being found out or eliminated by another player. The way these teams are balanced lends an engrossingly tense pace to each match, with just a few interactions determining each round.

Neither side felt over or underpowered, either, and I had a great time playing as both though I think I preferred to play as a Mannequin because of how fun it was trying to find believable poses.

I had a great time checking out Mannequin. On top of being an already creative take on the genre, it's a premise that truly works best in VR: posing with full control of your limbs elevates both the challenge and interactivity by making it a bit harder to strike a convincing pose.

In kneading these mechanics into an already winning recipe, Mannequin shows a lot of promise. And based on a few hints from the developers during my session, I'm all-but positive that Fast Travel Games have big plans for Mannequin's future. If they play their cards right, I'm certain Mannequin could wind up being one of the best games on Quest. But for now, you can download Mannequin through the Quest's App Lab starting today. 

Charlie Wacholz
Freelance Writer

Charlie's a freelance contributor at Android Central from Milwaukee, WI.