Video review to follow shortly 

Detention Nintendo Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Red Candle Games

Publisher: Coconut Island Games

Release Date: 01 March 2018

Price as of Article: £7.59 $12,99

Story

The story is set in 1960s Taiwan and the country is under martial law. We meet our first character Wei who falls asleep in class as you do, only to wake up and everyone was evacuated due to a Typhoon on its way. I don’t need to point out the obvious hole in the plot here at least that is what I initially thought I mean if the school was being evacuated then why leave this poor kid sleeping? It was just a question I had on my mind at the beginning but then this is a horror game and horror plots are often thin at best. Luckily in this horror, the story is quite well thought out and you will find explanations as you go on. The game touches on sin, redemption the afterlife and is a deep subject matter which gets you drawn in from the beginning.

As you begin to explore the school you start to uncover more to the story and without giving too much away, it gets a lot more gripping the more you play. The beginning sets things up nicely and the game is reaped in the history of the country. You will begin to piece together more and more through picking up clues and snippets which will automatically update in your notebook. This is especially useful for a read through when you require and I found this to be a nice touch much like the journal used in Night in the woods 

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Audio

I found the audio part of this review really quite difficult to write about and it’s because it somehow manages to be one of the strongest parts of the game without really ever having a musical score. It’s very clever how the instruments used are played at certain times during the game to rachet up the tension. Sound effects like the wind from the typhoon when you go outside make the place sound even eerier.

Everything sounds so creepy and nothing ever quite sits right keeping you on edge at all times. Screeching sounds as you walk, the ghastly sounds the ghosts make send a shiver down the spine. I honestly hated coming across the blasted things due to the awful sound they make, like they are in real pain and can’t wait to get close to you to alleviate their suffering.

Not that it’s bad it’s just damn right scary. Like the recent Layers of Fear which I reviewed the sounds in this game are fantastically realised.

Visuals and performance

Visually the game gets it right, its 2D but not too cartoony like the recent Coma: Recut game which was harder to take seriously due to its style. Here the sprites have an oddness about them, it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what that is. The backgrounds have a nice amount of detail and movement to them, I especially enjoyed the outside scenes where the clouds are moving fast above you. The colours used are quite dark, so there is no vibrancy but that’s exactly what is needed to paint a picture of this dark and bleak place.

Everything is made to look creepy, from the desk which is covered in an unknown substance in the middle of the classroom to the candlelit shrine. Even when you enter a room full of paintings, you feel something is wrong, maybe it’s because some of them are turned sideways, upside down and have their eyes closed like they didn’t want to see the horror within.

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The ghosts have this animation which leaves you in no doubt that these guys are there to drain your life. Shaking and traversing quickly towards you if you get close enough. I didn’t want to be in the near vicinity, that’s for certain.  The game ran smoothly in handheld and I did not come across any performance issues at all.

Gameplay

This is quite a simple game in that it’s a 2D scroller and you can move left and right. There is no toggle for differing speeds. The only time you slow down is when coming across Lingereds which are ghostly beings. You can hold your breath while walking past them so they don’t hear you. Honestly, this would crack me up every time as it’s literally like someone just let one off, to which you have no choice but to hold your breath as the smell is so bad. Of course, this is not what the developers meant but it didn’t stop me laughing nevertheless.

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Exploration

Moving swiftly on, in your horror adventure you will come across rooms where you will have to explore and find certain items and each has a purpose. Objects of interest will show up on the screen when you get close enough and you can choose to click on them either to pick up the item, read or interact. These items will fill up your little inventory which you can access easily. On your travels, you will also find clues and notes to help you understand what you may need each item for.

Puzzles

As an example to access a certain area I needed to find wire cutters to cut open a fence so I could get through it. You may need paint dissolver to dissolve paint and well the whole game goes on like this until the end. Most of the game is spent in a 2D side-scrolling mode except for when you encounter a puzzle and then you see what the character sees through their eyes. This makes it really nice to see if any items you have can interact with the situation using a little hand icon. For example, you may need an umbrella to to reach an item lodged somewhere. Once the item has been used to accomplish the task it disappears from the inventory.

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It really reminded me of the puzzles in Resident Evil so if you liked the puzzle aspects of those games then I am sure you will enjoy this. None of them is especially difficult but they were all interesting to solve and there are a couple of brain teasers nearer the end of the game. There may be times when you get stuck like I did and this will, of course, make your playthrough longer. For example, quite early on, I knew I needed a third dice to complete a puzzle but I could not find the blasted thing so I must have spent 30 minutes searching for it. Turns out I just didn’t search one particular room hard enough and had missed it. So just make sure you’re thorough in each room because if you do miss something, you will only curse yourself later. I found it a charm of the game as it meant I had more fun exploring, even if it meant I was fearing for my life each time I traversed a corridor.

The ghosts are just kind of there to slow you down. Ordinarily, you may say that this sounds quite boring but on the contrary, I found this game to be highly enjoyable and there is always something else which comes up that will ratchet up the horror factor. Without getting into spoiler territory, there are some things you are going to find a little repulsive but then this would not be a good horror game if it didn’t repulse you every now and again.

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Killing enemies is not possible

I must mention that you are unable to kill enemies or wield any type of weapons. The only thing you can do is avoid them and that may put some people off especially for those who are looking for that action fix. There is no ability to hide here, just hold your breath and time it perfectly so you can creep passed as you can’t hold your breath forever. Perish and you have to start from the last save point. These parts of the game where you have to creep past a ghost are really tense as one wrong move and you could be toast!

There are times when you can feed these ghosts a little cake to distract them and while they eat you can hold your breath and creep past which a little variety to proceedings as it’s entirely possible that you may need a ghost to move out of the way if it’s blocking a door.

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Saving progress

This game does not save automatically, so you will have to save often in the save rooms much like a typewriter in Resident Evil. Bear that in mind as there is nothing worse than getting far into the game only to lose an hour of progress. No doubt this is an older style save system but then an autosave would have made the game a little too easy.

 

Value

For our friends in the USA, you are better off buying the game on the UK eshop. I don’t know why but the game is £7.59 and in the USA it’s $12,99. I am not saying that’s not good value in dollars but if you do the maths, buying this in dollars works out at £9.34 so its cheaper in the UK.

The game is pure quality in every department and at its current price, you are going to get between 3-5 hours of a harrowing but quality horror experience. You will get more out of the game if you are willing to do what it takes to get the true ending which I won’t spoil in this review.

Pros

P

Atmosphere

P

Visuals depict horror

P

Gameplay is solid

Cons

P

A little short