Detention is a horror adventure game set in a 1960s Taiwan under martial law. You play as Wei, a boy who wakes up alone in a deserted school during a citywide typhoon evacuation.
Pro An altogether tense horror experience
Detention does a great job of ensuring a tense horror experience from start to finish. The entire atmosphere is just downright creepy, often washed in dark with very few light sources. The ghosts look absolutely horrific. Having to sneak by them can create some of the most tense moments in the game. The story intertwines pieces of Taiwan's tragic real life history with the in-game narrative which gives it a historically accurate, but disturbing feel. On top of all this, the screaming and otherworldly sound effects which play in the background give you a constant sense of unease.
Pro Tense gameplay
There is no combat or weapons in this game, making an encounter with the many ghosts a tense and frightening experience. Since you have no way of fighting directly or defending yourself, your only survival options are to use stealth and trickery.
In order to sneak past a ghost, you will have to hold your breath and slowly creep by. You can't be detected when holding your breath, but managing your air supply while sneaking can be pretty suspenseful when a ghost is right next to you and starts to give chase.
If you absolutely can't get past despite your best sneaking efforts, you can lure a ghost away from it's spot with a food offering placed on the ground. But, even in this case, you'll have to be very careful you're not seen when the ghost comes looking for the treat.
Pro Horror elements incorporate Taiwan's real life history to disturbing effect
Detention takes place in 1960s, a time period in which Taiwan was under martial law. The story focuses heavily on the social struggles of the time. Much of the game's horror elements are heavily inspired by the atrocities committed during this time. The creepy and disturbing factor is amplified due to the fact many of the notes and items scattered throughout the game are based on real historical events. The hopelessness and despair is felt throughout, especially when experienced through the eyes of the young and innocent protagonist, Wei.
Pro Dread-inducing sound design
The soundtrack isn't a typical soundtrack. Rather, it is purely environmental ambience and effects. There are no gentle melodies or soothing tracks at all. Rather, the audio itself involves a lot of screaming, scratching, moaning, humming, and strange otherwordly tones. Forgoing music for strange ambience was an interesting design choice, but it definitely pays off here as it makes you feel entirely uncomfortable, and the sense of dread is captured incredibly well.
Pro Creepy horror atmosphere
Jump scares are few and far between. Detention focuses more on atmospheric horror through it's rather oppressive and bleak environment. To emphasize the dread, most of the game's artwork consists only of dark shades and washed out textures. Almost everything is depressing and bleak - the story, artwork, and sound design - resulting in a real horrific atmosphere. Roaming through the dark halls of a deserted school and its flooded grounds while being hunted by disturbing looking ghosts results in some downright terrifying moments.
Pro Balanced and intuitive puzzles
The puzzles are pretty straightforward and intuitive. Most items will serve practical purpose, rather than relying on the absurd logic that some other adventure games suffer from. For example, wire cutters are used to cut gates, paint thinner is used to dissolve paint, etc. Most puzzle items are used in the general area of where you pick them up, so there's not a whole lot of running around. While most of the early puzzles are fairly easy, some of the later puzzles can be quite tricky. However, they are still perfectly solvable with a little brain power. All in all, from an adventure gaming standpoint, it's certainly balanced.