There are few niches as specific as the one Red Candle Games have carved out with Detention and its successor Devotion, launched just yesterday. Both are sharp, unsettling but grounded horror stories that blend the supernatural with tales of real life in Taiwan in the not-too-distant past. While Detention was a side-scrolling adventure set in the 60s, Devotion is a first-person psychological study of a deeply religious family in the 80s. See the launch trailer below.
While Devotion looks a little less historical than its predecessor, it still feels - speaking as a mediocre white British guy - like a candid glimpse at the fears of people from another culture. One understandable, but not quite my own. It's educational and unsettling at the same time. A few Taiwanese players commenting on the game on Steam have mentioned that its house is unnervingly familiar, sparking memories of decades past, and perhaps some less-than-great memories of a 'traditional' upbringing.
So far the only common gripe I've seen about Devotion is that it's short - significantly shorter than Detention. It's understandable why, as detailed, animated 3D environments take a lot more time and effort than static backgrounds. There's some replay value, with semi-hidden notes to discover to fill in some of the blanks of the story, but it's mostly a linear, story-driven affair with some light puzzling. Expect a few jump-scares, but nothing too over-the-top. Psychological horror is about getting under your skin, anyway, rather than ripping it off.
If you've not already checked it out, I highly recommend Red Candle's previous game. Adam Smith reviewed Detention and had a lot of good things to say about it. It got another shout-out in our list of the best horror games around, along with a little bit more historical context. Well worth a spin - the real-world horrors are far scarier than anything supernatural it could offer.
Devotion is out now on Steam for £13.49/€13.99/$16.99.