Horror games are something that I usually steer clear of and are really not my forte. Mainly because most horror games use a lot of jumpscares which is something that I’m not a big fan of, especially since they’re overused and it ends up feeling liking a very cheap way to scare someone. In comes Detention, a 2D horror game with a unique art style that doesn’t jumpscare you to death. Now while traditional horror games are linear level based first or third person experiences, Detention has a unique take with it’s 2D side-scrolling gameplay. Developed and published by Red Candle Games, Detention is now available on Windows, MacOS, Linux, PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch.
Detention is a game by a game company from Taiwan and is set in a fictitious 1960’s Taiwanese high school during the White Terror period, which was a period during which Taiwan was under martial law. The Taiwanese influence on the game is quite evident as a lot of religious and mythological elements from the Taiwanese culture is present in the game. The game has you play as two students of the school who are trapped in their school that has turned into a creepy and bizarre version of itself that is being haunted by evil creatures and they must find various objects and solve puzzles to figure out the secret of their school and maybe find a way to get back to normalcy. The game is quite plot heavy so talking about it anymore could lead into possible spoiler territory. I will however say that the plot is really good and really plays with your mind.
Gameplay is quite simple, you walk around exploring your school to find out more about what’s going on. You do this by finding objects and solving puzzles. That’s not the end of it though, throughout the game you’ll encounter various “creatures” who will always 1 hit kill you. However, there are ways to get past these creatures instead of just running away which is based on Chinese and Taiwanese folklore, for instance holding your breath while walking past one creature to be safe or by showing your back to another creature to not be attacked. It’s quite intense and really does a great job to keep the pressure on you and adds to the dangerous and creepy atmosphere. If you die, there is a really good checkpoint system that takes you back to where you were a few moments back with all the items you had so that you can continue from there. The game does have multiple endings based on your choice, and let me tell you that the endings are great.
The game utilizes a lot of weird and disturbing imagery along with a very eerie and creepy atmosphere for the environment. As a package it is absolutely unsettling and does a great job of psychologically scaring you. The imagery used to progress the plot and to give you information while also unsettling your mind really sold the game to me along with the story. The art style is something that I can see a lot of people having problems since it takes a while to get used to and is just very different from what we’re used to be stick with and you’ll really be thankful for doing so. The audio work is great and adds to the eerie atmosphere and keeps you on edge throughout your game. The soundtrack is a beautiful mixture of classical instruments mixed with Rock and Lo-Fi type of music and makes it work quite well. The audio visual package really helped keep players on edge during non-plot heavy moments while the plot itslef was interesting enough to keep you going.
Detention is a great horror game that strays from the conventional ways of horror games and goes for a very unique experience. The really heavy and interesting story, the eerie atmosphere and the overall unsettling feeling that the game maintains throughout has made it one of my favourite horror experiences and I really recommend this game to fans of horror games.