Red Candle Games, the Taiwanese developers behind 2017’s highly-acclaimed psychological horror game Detention, has exceeded expectations yet again with their sophomore effort. As previously stated in our coverage of the title’s initial announcement, Devotion is a stark departure from its predecessor, in style, gameplay, and historical context. However, the studio’s only two hits share a consistent point of similarity: massive success on Steam. In fact, Devotion managed to hit #1 on the gaming platform’s Global Top Sellers list in a mere 3 days of release.
While the oppressively stressful and hauntingly beautiful 2D side-scroller Detention chose to immerse gamers in a 1960’s Taiwan under authoritarian martial law in a masterfully woven tale of guilt, societal persecution, and Taiwanese myths, Devotion pivots to a more constrained environment. Set in the apartment home of a 1980’s Taiwanese family, players must explore the equally tense atmosphere in a first-person, completely 3D point of view. Now surely a signature style of Red Candle, the aesthetic of the psychological horror title exudes nostalgia and is steeped in Taiwanese folklore.
According to an interview conducted by Spiel News, the developers chose to narrow their focus to the concept of “home” for the thematic relevance of home being “a place which is a completing spot for all of us.” Taking that comforting foundation and shifting its intrinsic sentiment into one of horror undoubtedly makes for a more impactful experience derived from contrast. Slap on a religious motif – much like the political theme in Detention – and the game thusly encapsulates the surreal mysticism for which Red Candle’s games are known.
With more than 4,000 reviews and an “Overwhelmingly Positive” user review on Steam, Red Candle has proven again the influential, self-marketing power of a fantastically unique title, during a time when games are becoming increasingly monetized and larger studios are undergoing dramatic restructuring. The humble origins of Red Candle, and the little-known culture they chose to highlight, speak volumes to the meticulous details and polished care they’ve put into their projects. Their accomplishments are no doubt well-deserved, and fans can only wait to see what they come up with next.
For a closer look at the game, check out the trailer below: