Welcome to Detention, a survival horror game set in Taiwan in the 1960s, developed by two-year-old studio Red Candle Games and Coconut Island Games. Will the Greenwood High School scare you away or keep you coming back for more? Read our Detention review to find out!
Detention – Trailer
If you’re interested, you can also read the exclusive interview we did with the developer!
After falling asleep in class, Wei (one of the two characters you’ll take control of) wakes up only to find the school has been vacated due to a typhoon alert. You’ll then meet Ray, the other character you’ll be able to control, and from there a broken bridge, supernatural creatures, and a twisted reality are only the beginning of what you’ll experiment in this game. I obviously don’t want to talk too much about the story, as it’s an important part of the game and its unique atmosphere, so that’s as far as I’ll go from that point of view.
What I can tell you though is that a good effort was made to create a unique setup for the game. Set right in the middle of the Taiwan Martial Law period, the game sets you up in a somewhat tense mood, and that’s even before things start to go sour. The developers also took the time to reflect a lot of religious elements in Taiwanese and Chinese culture and mythology, that all blend nicely to make things more credible.
And as for how the game is played, it’s basically a point and click release in which you go around finding points of interests and items to help you solve puzzles as you navigate around the school. The 2D perspective of it reminded me a bit of the 16-bit style Lone Survivor, with the only available options being moving left or right.
As for this one, the characters are drawn in black and white and its generally not colorful surroundings, everything is in place to create a spooky ambiance. From time to time, an element will be in more flashy colors to make it stand out and give it some weight for the story (such as a river of blood in a rainy weather, for example). The music is also nice with some dark electronic music, with some Asian instruments, set up for some tension while you play.
As soon as the game started, I liked the visuals and how the characters were presented. Nothing was scary at that time… then things started to go South. I began to feel a little tension while playing, and it was then that I encountered one of those creatures, the “lingered” as they are called in the game. That’s the moment I became a little more nervous and started moving around a bit more slowly while being careful.
To pass by those creatures, you have to hold your breath in-game, but I ended up doing it in real life as well because the game does a really good job at making you feel as if you were right there. There’s also a bit of puzzle solving here and there, but so far nothing seemed like a challenge, and I think it’s a good thing because it allows you not to lose focus on the story and the stress that’s built up while playing.
The original Resident Evil was one of those games that really defined what a survival horror game was for me. I basically grew up with it, playing it more than I can imagine, and that type of game has been rare to find ever since. As I mentioned before, Lone Survivor, with its retro-style, was also one of those games that made you feel uncomfortable and tensed. And for me, Detention now adds itself to those rare games that can really give you that horror feeling while playing it, all with an incredible storytelling.
Trophy-wise, this game doesn’t look like a difficult one to achieve 100%. If you go around looking at everything and picking up everything you can, I’m pretty sure most of the trophies will come to you naturally. Judging from the trophy descriptions, if you want to go into the story blind, I’d suggest just playing the game without even looking at the list since a few of them will tip you into the story elements. Just expect that a second playthrough might be necessary if you take this approach, but that’s only 4-5 hours, and it’s probably worth it to truly enjoy the story.
If you like survival horror games, then you have to pick up Red Candle Games’ and Coconut Island Games’ Detention. With its great art-style and great setup, this is one that definitely warrants a playthrough. And when you add the successfully achieved horror aspect of the game, it becomes the kind of game that everybody should experience. I’m hoping they build on the success of this game to get us an even bigger sequel!
PSN Price (PlayStation 4): $12.99
PSN Game Size: 2.3GB
This Detention review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Coconut Island Games.