Publisher: Red Candle Games
Developer: Red Candle Games
Release Date: 1/12/2017
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Obscure Asian horror games are something I’m a sucker for. I know the gameplay and controls will probably be awful, but you’re in for one scary ride, and that’s what matters the most. Detention is a 2D adventure game that takes place in Communistic China back in the 50s. You walk around solving simple puzzles and unravel a somewhat confusing and convoluted story. The atmosphere is very surreal and the slow pace of the game helps drive this home.
The game begins with some strange images and wandering back and forth through classrooms in a school trying to get to the top floor. The game involves finding items and then figuring out where to use those items. Like most adventure games it’s best to wander through the entire area first, pick up all the items, and then go place them where they are needed. There are three areas that are like this and then the final area is actually just walking around making story choices. It’s kind of strange as the pacing is really broken up throughout the entire game. There will be some chase sequences, tense atmosphere, then enemies you need to avoid by holding your breath and walking past them slowly, or even turning away as to not stare into their gaze. It’s an interesting concept and puts you on the edge of your seat with the amazing sound effects and disturbing soundtrack.
A lot of the sound effects and music remind me a lot of Silent Hill. The pounding heartbeats, screeching static, and urgency felt throughout. The game isn’t so much gory, but just overall weird and disturbing which is just fine. I enjoyed the gameplay and scares quite a bit, but the story was definitely lacking. I could tell there was something about the main character being involved in a forbidden book club, her inner torment of her parents fighting, and some sort of guilt about being responsible for a death, but it never wove together or meant anything. There’s a lot of poetry and ancient proverbs thrown around the game, but all this accomplished was confusing me more as to what is going on. As it is, the game can be beaten in less than 4 hours, so it’s important to get the story across as strongly as possible since you can’t drag it out.
With that said, Detention is a must-play for horror fans or anyone who likes 2D adventure games. You’re going to have to go into this expecting a lot of scares and simple puzzle-solving rather than a memorable story or characters. The art style is fantastic, the music and sound effects all jive together to create a disturbing experience that you really can’t get in most Western horror games.