After the February 28 Massacre, martial law was imposed to crack down on dissidents against the ruling Koumintang party from May 19, 1949 until July 15, 1987 in what would become known as the “White Terror”. Detention is a horror title set in an alternate 1960’s Taiwan during this martial law crackdown. My Detention demo started at the beginning of the game where a Taiwanese school girl named Ray wakes up in her school discover that her campus has become cursed, one of her classmates is found swinging dead from the ceiling, and evil creatures known as the “lingered” are haunting the school. Ray must solve puzzles and attempt to discover what happened and why.
The gameplay itself is a 2D side-scrolling point-and-click adventure game. This game does not seek to revolutionize the genre, but instead embraces the best parts of it wholeheartedly. In my demo, I was impressed with how the various puzzles were solved logically and without me having to hunt for obscure solutions. The menu and item selections were great as well, and I had no issues controlling Ray. A lot of horror movies rely on cheap ‘jump scares’, which Detention is devoid of. Instead, Detention relies upon building terror and suspense through the music and minimal-color graphics that were inspired by Taiwanese literature, film, and music from the 1960’s-70’s and the “lingered”, which are supernatural creatures that are slow moving until they can hear you breathing as you walk near them and begin to immediately hunt you down to murder you unless you hold your breath (an in game action) while passing by. Despite the game being (at least in the demo I played) a solo experience, Ray records her thoughts and her goals in a journal that functions as a great repository of the storyline and for the lore of the world.
As I kept playing, I found myself getting drawn more and more into this world, and even though I was surrounded by thousands of people in South Hall at E3, it all faded away as I was drawn further and further and becoming more scared in Detention. And you honestly can’t pay a horror game a higher compliment than that. Despite only being able to play ten to fifteen minutes, I loved Detention and I found myself wishing that I could explore this 1960’s Taiwanese world longer. The game is already out for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. If you like horror, and if you are interested in Taiwanese/East Asian culture/history/tradition, I’d say that you should give Detention a try.
During E3 2017, I also conducted an interview about Detention. Please look forward to it coming soon!
Will you be picking up Detention? Let us know in the comments below!