Review: Detention (PS4)

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Detention BlockWhile thematically similar to The Coma: Recut from Devespresso Games, Red Candle Games‘ excellent Detention ($12.99 on PSN) manages to add a more psychological as well as historical tone to its scary elements. Set in a 1960’s era Taiwan during the horrfic period of martial law known as The White Terror, the game works extremely well as a short but solid game experience that gets as much mileage from its frightening imagery as it does with its somewhat timely political allegory

This isn’t a “survival horror” game in the zombie-packed Resident Evil vein and while it has a more similar vibe to the early, more thoughtful (but weirder) Silent Hill games, there are no weapons to wield here or a need to stock up on healing items for your trip through this virtual hell-space. This one’s a pure side-scrolling horror adventure game where you’ll need to avoid or appease the freakish ghosts you’ll encounter as you try and escape from the nightmare that Greenwood High has become.

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Busload of Horror: Or, Way Too Many Scary Games This Month, Part 1

detention-6Ha. You should see my inbox and backlog. You’d scream. A lot. Especially at all the scary games that try to elbow each other in the eyeballs for attention. Some of these end up beign great, some not so great, a few even end up like broken dolls you want to keep because they have promise but need to be taken to the toymaker and fixed up a bit. Anyway, here are (well, three at a time in this series) some quick looks at a bunch of games I liked that you may want to try… if you’re brave enough.

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arb_mainA Room Beyond: Currently up to its second of five chapters (the first one is free), René Bühling‘s excellent, distinctly smart psychological horror game does its frights up right, using a superb, intentionally crude yet perfect and gorgeous “2.5D” pixelated visual style that actually amps up the chill factor considerably. The experience is pure classic adventure/exploration game with a Lovecraftian vibe creeping throughout its narrative, but combat against creatures is a necessary and well-implemented evil in the second chapter.

From the opening moments when your character wakes up trapped in a cave and makes his way down that winding hill to a foggy village with some very strange residents, there’s a sense of uneasy dread that something terrible not only will happen, but has happened. Your character is tied into all this somehow, of course. But despite his hardiness and good intentions to help out while trying to solve his own mystery, in a way he seems not quite prepared for what’s coming. In other words, I’m hooked in for the long haul.

The official site notes A Room Beyond is “A novel story of crime, mystery and life-philosophy is told in five episodes which finally reveal into a complete story line,” which sold me right away. You can try out the FREE demo on Steam (highly recommended), but if you’re already a big horror game fan, I say just pay the $6.99 for the current build and play this at night with the lights out and a pair of headphones on for best results.

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