Detention Left Me Praying for the School Bell


Detention is a survival-horror game like no other. While other games in the genre might pitch you against monsters and enemies who appear at every corner, Detention pushes the player into deeper and deeper shadows, building the terror before each reveal. It’s so scary, and we’re going to hand in our homework on time.

One of the best dynamics in Detention is the combination of movement through the game and the artistic background. Set in Taiwan in the 1960s, the country is under martial law, and this exotic location, coupled with a reasonably imaginative back-story, transports you to another world.

You are one of the two main characters, using point-and-click game mechanics to navigate your way through puzzles and negotiating terrifying discoveries after the grisly reveal. Haunted corridors abound in this horror mystery where creepy creatures appear just when you least expect them. And then when you wish them. And then again, to scare the popcorn out of your cup.

While you run – or more likely walk – around Greenwood High School solving posers and cracking conundrums, you are in a mountain pass land filled with clues. These are often in the form of objects you can locate, but build towards a great climax, made all the more real-world by the White Terror was a part of Taiwanese history that featured elements of the country living under martial law. How Detention weaves that reality into the gameplay through the narration is incredible.

While the game sometimes suffers from being 2D rather than 3D, I could argue that point with anyone, the atmosphere and feeling attached to each game is a massive thrill. If you love riding through a Ghost Train or watching Haunted House horror movies, you’ll be in your edge-of-the-seat element.

Finding out what happened at Greenwood High is a gripping story that never lets go of your spine, and I enjoyed the scares as much as every successful puzzle completion or room discovery. The references to Eastern culture fascinated me, and the attention to detail in everything except the 2D/3D design was excellent.

Out now on Mac, Windows, and Linux, Detention scored very highly on Metacritic, achieving 83%. You can follow Red Candle Games, who developed the game, on Twitter or head to the official website for Detention.

Buying Detention on Steam will set you back a very reasonable £8.99, but you can watch the spooky trailer if you’d like to cry -in terror – before you buy. There’s even a little gameplay teaser to get your teeth into.

The Chinese translation for the title means ‘Return to School’, which is perhaps a more apposite name for the game. After all, it’s all about going back to your childhood alma mater to conquer – literal – demons. Either way, you’ll want to pull on your neck-tie and explore this creepy survival mystery… if you dare.

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