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Where is Mei Shin?

Devotion is a Taiwanese independent horror game developed by Red Candle Games, who also made Detention. It was initially released on Steam on February 13th, 2019, but was delisted a week and a half later following "technical issues". Red Candle Games eventually announced on December 16th, 2020 that the game would be rereleased on, although later that day GOG rescinded on selling it, with RCG saying they would still work on making the game available to purchase again. On March 15, 2021, Red Candle Games launched their own digital storefront to sell the game on.

The story takes place in Taipei, 1987, and opens with screenwriter Du Feng Yu enjoying a relaxing evening watching television in the living room of his apartment while his wife, Gong Li Fang, chats with him about his young daughter, Mei Shin, from the kitchen. But just as she's about to finish bringing dinner to the table, she asks:


"Where's Mei Shin?"

Feng Yu blinks, and opens his eyes to find himself still in front of his TV set, but now it's only picking up static. Feng Yu is alone in the dark, and his apartment has been wrecked. He sets out to find his daughter, but for some reason a ghost lady is intent on obstructing him. What happened? How did he get here? And, most importantly, where is his daughter?

This game is heavily story-driven, so spoilers abound.

Not be confused with another 2019 game, a French Metroidvania called Dark Devotion.


Devotion has examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: As time goes in, it becomes readily apparent that Feng Yu — that is, you became more unhinged the as years went by and their career went nowhere, culminating in locking his young daughter up in the bathroom for seven days to soak in snake wine as a religious ritual, which leads to her death. He was also shown to put a lot of pressure on his daughter to succeed.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Everything concerning Mei Shin, really, particularly the idea that you might be pushing your child so hard, she develops anxiety and has severe panic attacks, and your attempts at help end up killing her.
    • Living with an abusive spouse.
    • Being unable to support your family because your career is a failure.
  • All for Nothing: Feng Yu's attempts to cure Mei Shin. He refused to listen to medical advice that she suffered from anxiety and required psychological treatment, instead turning to Mentor Heuh's cult of Cigu Guanyin, which claims to be able to cure illnesses. The religion is a scam and its rituals — including the one that ended up killing Mei Shin — don't work. Mei Shin had found a way to stave off her panic attacks, but never told her father.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Subverted. The game ends with Feng Yu entering the bathroom where his daughter has been locked for the past week, only to be swallowed by light and a musical sequence involving Mei Shin playing outside to take place. However, the conversations and documents found right before then all but spell out what really happened: he found his daughter dead in the bathtub.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's up to interpretation what happens to Hueh, whose last chronological reference is her failing to answer a call from Feng Yu. Depending how you see it, either she was arrested by the police for running a vicious Scam Religion, or successfully ran away with all the money she got from her victims.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Snakes. The cult of Cigu Guanyin involves the worship of a holy snake and uses snake wine (a traditional Chinese medicine made by steeping dead — preferably venomous — snakes in alcohol) in rituals. The cult also metaphorically poisoned the family by Feng Yu's increasing obsession with it causing him to give most of the family's money to the cult and reject actual medical treatment in favor of cult rituals, which ended up killing Mei Shin.
    • The Arowana fish that Feng Yu keeps in the tank has dual meaning:
      • It's a large fish locked in a tiny tank that leaves it no room to move, much like Mei Shin is locked in the apartment on the account of her illness.
      • In real life, Arowanas were fairly expensive at the time, and often associated with gambling houses, showing Feng Yu's poor financial sense and spending habits.
  • Apocalyptic Logs: Mei Shin's school reports and journal entries are eventually revealed to be this, with the last one made shortly before she went to the ritual that killed her.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Where's Mei Shin?" The answer: in the bathroom, where she died.
    • "Flawless Present". Which doesn't actually exist. It's just Feng Yu in denial that he destroyed his family with his own mistakes.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: "Where is Mei Shin?" After playing the game, it's revealed that part of Feng Yu's mind has been constantly doing this, possibly to shake him out of his denial so he could learn and fully acknowledge that he killed his own daughter.
  • Big Bad: The ghost lady is the main enemy stalking Du Feng Yu in his quest to find Mei Shin. Or so it seems, but the ghost is in his head. In truth, Mentor Heuh is the one responsible for the disappearance of Mei Shin, as she is the leader of the Cigu Guanyin cult who manipulated Feng Yu into worship and got Mei Shin killed through a ritual.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Much of the game is well translated for people who don't speak Mandarin, but there is some writing left untranslated. One example is a writing on the wall that reads "Why won't you open your eyes?"
    • Another occurrence is when the distorted television repeats Mei Shin's score of 88, where it's read as "ba-ba" as opposed to the previously "ba-shi-liu" (86) and "ba-shi-qi" (87). "Ba-ba" is also a common way for young children to say "daddy" in Chinese.
  • Blood Bath: You enter the Hub Level by climbing out of a bath filled with suspicious red liquid. Given the revelations at the end, it might actually be wine.
  • Body Motifs:
    • Hands. The game begins with you staring at your hands in disbelief, and whenever the point of view changes between Mei Shin and Feng Yu, it's always marked by looking at the hands.
    • Eyes, particularly in the 1986 room. After you play the record, the lights change to moving eyes, and Li Fang's eyes are painted over in the portraits. In addition, Cigu Guanyin has four eyes, and a pair of stylized eyes is used as the game's autosave icon.
  • Breather Episode: The end of the 1985 room is perhaps the only genuinely happy moment in the game, and comes right before the horrid conclusion.
  • Brutal Honesty: During the game, it's revealed that Gong Li Fang called a late night relationship radio show to ask for advice about how to save her marriage to Feng Yu. Instead of giving her encouraging advice, he told her that it's hard to change a person and she should accept that the relationship may be over. Her final call to the show is her accepting this advice and agreeing to leave her husband to go back into show business.
  • But Thou Must!: During the Vision Quest sequence, Feng Yu comes across two doors, one of which is barred off. Should he attempt to open it, Mentor Heuh will tell Feng Yu that when Cigu Guanyin blocks off one path, it's to lead him to a better one. No points for guessing what happens next.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: After reaching the Hub Level, you're told that by completing the three "time period" rooms, you can unlock the door leading to "the flawless present". "The flawless present" exists only as a Fantasy Sequence in Feng Yu's head, and shortly after reaching it, he remembers what really happened.
  • Central Theme: As the title indicates, "devotion", both the devotion between family members and religious devotion.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Mei Shin's school journals. They look like typical writings of a normal child with an average home life. Later on, when you learn of Mei Shin's actual home life is anything but average, the journals turn out to be less reports and more comforting self-lies. One of them in particular ends with Mei Shin desiring for her family to lead a healthy life when it's literally already on the dumps by that point, completely changing the tone of the text.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mentor Heuh is mentioned by Li Fang in the opening scene, but you don't learn about her significance in the story until much later.
  • Creepy Doll:
    • Mei Shin is often symbolized by a ceramic doll that teleports around the house.
    • An early section of the game is filled with wooden dolls representing various scenes of Li Fang and Feng Yu's daily life.
  • Daddy's Girl: Mei Shin is much closer to her father than her mother. Played for Drama as her love and devotion to her father made her willing to follow a Scam Religion in order to cure her medical condition, implied to be anxiety disorder. Even when she discovered a much safer and more positive way to help deal with her constant panic attacks, she didn't inform her father about this because Mentor Heuh and her "religion" was extremely important to him. This ultimately and tragically leads to her death via drowning in the bathtub after she took part in a useless and extremely dangerous ritual. This would psychologically break her father to the point where he tries to convince himself that he saved Mei Shin and keep himself in denial that he actually killed her.
  • Dark World:
    • The game features an inversion with the Flawless Present, which specifically exists in Feng Yu's mind to keep him away from the real, depressing reality.
    • The game as a whole does not take place in reality (save at the very end), but in a corrupted version of it. Justified since it's mostly all part of Feng Yu's mind, thus being closer to a Mental World.
    • The apartment during 1986 becomes really close to the traditional horror version of this, especially after playing the record. All the lights become red, giving the apartment a hellish appearance, the hallway is filled with disturbing doodles drawn by Mei Shin, some of the decoration turns into twitching eyes and portraits on the walls now weep a pinkish-red liquid.
  • Daydream Surprise: Eventually, we learn that the opening sequence, which we come back to near the end, is Feng Yu's imaginary "flawless present", where Li Fang approves of the mentor and stays at home, Mei Shin is a quiet and dutiful child, and he himself can watch her performance on TV over and over.
  • Demonic Possession: Near the end, this is subverted. Feng Yu grew convinced that his daughter's mental illness is the result of evil taking hold of her soul, and believes that the same causes his wife to act out against him. His attempts to exorcise Mei Shin ultimately kill her.
  • Deranged Animation: In the sequence showing Mei Shin's panic attack, there are such wonders as people transforming into demons with melting faces and endless classrooms.
  • Domestic Abuse: Between Li Fang and Feng Yu. As Feng Yu's career fell into shambles and he became more dependent on Mentor Hueh's cult, he became resentful of Li Fang's attempts to be the breadwinner and her distrust of the cult. Snippets of the game show them arguing, him listening in on her phone call, and it's implied he stole and ripped up her iconic dress from when she was a star. He even accuses her of being possessed by something malicious, contributing to his view of her as a hostile phantom in-game.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "Devotion" has several meanings in the context of the game.
    • The devotion to the family, which caused Li Fang to abandon her acting career and remain even long after things became bad.
    • Devotion to a child, and the way it can go horribly wrong when the parent is convinced they know what's best. Feng Yu angrily refuses to have Mei Shin see a psychiatrist when the hospital suggests it because he thinks they view his daughter as a lunatic, an action that leads to him to perform the ritual that kills her.
    • Religious devotion, with Mentor Heuh, Cigu Guanyin, and the ritual that ultimately kills Mei Shin.
    • And finally, a child's devotion to a parent. Mei Shin did everything Feng Yu asked of her out of love, even after she found a way to control her health issues, but didn't say anything about it. This leads to her tragic death.
    • The translated lyrics for the song, "Lady of the Pier", also mention devotion and question whether it's worth it in the end.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. While Du Feng Yu's physical abuse of Gong Li Fang is treated seriously, the emotional abuse he suffers at the hands of cult leader Mentor Heuh is portrayed as equally bad, if not more so because she is intentionally exacerbating his mental illness to make him more obedient to her.
  • Downer Ending: The game concludes on The Reveal that not only is Cigu Guanyin a Scam Religion, but that its "teachings" drove Feng Yu to try a dangerous "cleansing ritual" on Mei Shin in a belief that it would fix her, but which actually leads to her death. The final scene is Feng Yu sitting in his now ravaged home, completely broken and alone.
  • Driving Question: Where is Mei Shin? The end of the game answers this: Mei Shin was killed by an extremely dangerous ritual that her father learned from a Scam Religion, her corpse still in the bathtub she drowned in. But in Feng Yu's delusional and now broken mind, she was "saved" and now the perfect, dutiful daughter who might be well on her way to become a famous celebrity just like her parents.
  • Endless Corridor: Two in quick succession.
    • When attempting to reach the door to flawless present, whenever the light blinks, you will be teleported back to the start, making the trip effectively endless.
    • Shortly afterwards, when the ghost is pursuing you, you keep running through the set of the same looping corridors, over and over. The trick here is to go through all the doors at least once — the final door will lead you to the elevator.
  • Evolving Title Screen: As you progress, the title screen goes from a bright cheery apartment into a dark depressing one in the end. If you wait long enough in the title screen after finishing the game, there will be someone knocking on the door; many speculate this to be Gong Li Fang returning to take Mei Shin away from Feng Yu.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Feng Yu wants things done his way. He really does love his wife and daughter, but his inability to step back and let others handle situations causes tension between them. It's implied that he pressured Gong Li Fang to give up her successful career as an actress because he couldn't accept someone else being the family's breadwinner, even as his own formerly promising career dried up and Li Fang returning to work was the only way to make ends meet. He refused to believe that Cigu Guanyin was a scam partially because it promised to allow him to cure Mei Shin, rather than admitting that she had a mental disorder and needed psychiatric treatment that he couldn't provide.
    • Blind devotion is a flaw present through most of the characters, even if it's not their primary one. It's the reason Li Fang stays so long in a deteriorating situation, why Feng Yu insists on following the dangerous rituals of Cigu Guanyin, and why Mei Shin dies, as she played along with a dangerous ritual she knew she didn't need because of her devotion to her father.
  • Flower Motifs: Yellow tulips have a strong presence in the game, mostly symbolizing Mei Shin herself, who is most often pictured in yellow dress. As Feng Yu's mirror reflection during the ritual notes, a small flower cannot be forced to grow large, as it's unable to support itself — a clear metaphor for what Feng Yu did to his daughter. Taking it further, the bathroom, where Mei Shin died, has a stained glass showing a yellow tulip on the door.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Feng Yu and Li Fang groom Mei Shin to become a singer — an ambition that she shares.
  • Foreshadowing: Tons.
    • The bathroom door is locked in most iterations of the apartment. Feng Yu left Mei Shin there for seven days to "cure" her, with explicit instructions that he mustn't open it.
      • In the present day apartment, the door that leads to the bathroom and bedrooms are blocked off. The rooms behind the blocked doorway contains everything that Feng Yu is trying to forget. Especially the bathroom, which may or may not still contain Mei Shin's corpse that never left.
    • Very early in the game, the player obtains Mei Shin's medical diagnosis during the hospital section, which finds no signs of physical disorder anywhere in her body despite her apparent breathing problems. Incidentally, you can also learn about the several ways Mei Shin's parents were grooming her in the previous section. This should be enough information for an attentive player to suspect that she's suffering from a mental disorder exacerbated by parental pressure.
    • About two-thirds of the way in, you see a scene of an adult compelling a girl to jump into a pit of dead snakes. It's a more allegorical retelling of Mei Shin's final fate.
    • The scene that directly precedes Feng Yu's entrance in the Hub Level foreshadows pretty much every plot twist in the game:
      • Feng Yu seeing a statue of a god behind the family portrait foreshadows the way Feng Yu's worship of Cigu Guanyin eventually overshadowed the family bonds between them.
      • The scene described above also happens while Feng Yu is about to drown in red liquid while stuck inside an enclosed bathroom, which ends up being Mei Shin's fate, more or less. Becomes even more blatant with Feng Yu rising from a bathtub (his apartment's bathtub in fact) filled with red liquid right afterwards.
    • The "Protracted Illness" screenplay shows Feng Yu's later decision to take Mei Shin to a spiritual "healer" instead of a real doctor.
    • The storybook Feng Yu reads to Mei Shin about a daughter trying to save her father with the help of a Goddess is essentially the game's plot, but with all the gender roles reversed.
    • When you see a note on the door of Mei Shin's room that tell you to wash your hands before you enter, you head to the bathroom to do so. Your hands become stained with what is most likely blood that won't come off, indicating that Feng Yu has unwittingly murdered his daughter during the cleansing ritual.
    • The game opens with the player watching a TV that shows nothing but white static in a dark room. This is later revealed at the end to be what Feng Yu is doing — broken by everything in his life falling apart as well as guilt over killing his own daughter in his attempts to help her, Feng Yu has taken to watching the family TV for hours on end, even though it is possibly broken beyond repair, representing his fall into a state of denial where his wife never left him while his daughter is "saved" and now alive and happy.
    • There is an event where the player encounters a crying apparition of Mei Shin in the bedroom who, when approached, triggers a small Jump Scare where the lighting flickers and a droning wail is briefly heard before she disappears. The scare resembles the light and sound of police sirens, which hints at Mei Shin's death, Feng Yu possibly realising the severity of his crimes, and the logical conclusion that he is likely going to be arrested for his hand in her death.
    • During the Vision Quest, the player sees multiple creepy versions of Mei Shin asking him to let her outside. The situation makes it sound like it's about her wanting to leave the house to play, but the ending context strongly implies that this is what Feng Yu heard during the seven days.
  • Four Is Death: In two instances.
    • The fourth character introduced into the story is Mentor Heuh, who gets Mei Shin killed with her dangerous and useless advice.
    • There are four doors in the Hub Level. Three lead to the past events, while the fourth is supposed to get you to the "flawless present", while in reality Mei Shin is dead in the present day. Also, your attempt to reach the door is the only time you can die in the game.
  • Gainax Ending: Let's just say that while the ending does make sense taking in account Feng Yu's constant belief that he has indeed saved his daughter, it's still weirdly cheery and trippy.
  • Giftedly Bad: Feng Yu is a zig-zagged case. On one hand, the family has a shelf of screenwriting trophies when they move in, suggesting that he used to be really good. However, by the time(s) we explore the house, there's a letter from his friend saying that six directors refused his script, and the one film that did get made was critically panned. Nonetheless, he keeps writing scripts, enough that when Mei Shin starts turning them into origami, she has enough to fill the whole room with paper flowers.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Feng Yu is the one whose actions drive the plot, but the reason he does his most destructive things is because Mentor Heuh, the leader of a Scam Religion, suckered him into her cult and gave him dangerous fake rituals to use in place of real medical treatment.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: It's implied throughout the game that Feng Yu was jealous of Gong Li Fang's success as a film star after they were married and pressured her into giving it up to be a traditional wife — something she willingly did, until the money began to run out.
  • Hope Spot: After you complete the three rooms, you'll see the apartment full of flowers and Mei Shin narrating that the storybook sequence inspired her to calm herself down by folding origami tulips. Mei Shin's anxiety order managed, Feng Yu has finally done something meaningful to help his daughter get better, and you finally have all you need to unlock the 'Flawless Present'. But then you can't actually reach the door to the present, because you're teleported away every time you get close, and the final part of the game makes it clear that the flawless present never existed, because Feng Yu killed Mei Shin with a Cigu Guanyin ritual in a fruitless attempt to cure her.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Deconstructed. Out of the two women in his life, Feng Yu trusted Mentor Heuh more than he did his own wife, who loved him and was devoted to him. His obsession with Heuh's scam cult would become part of the reason why Li Fang left him, and ultimately and directly cause the death of his beloved daughter, Mei Shin.
  • Housewife: What Feng Yu wants his wife to be, despite the fact that his career is in shambles and her returning to work is the only way they could possibly make ends meet. This would ultimately drive Li Fang into leaving him.
  • Hub Level: A third of the way into the game, you reach a corridor that leads to three open doors labeled "1980", "1985", "1986", each showing the house on a particular day in each respective year, and a fourth locked door that is supposed to lead to the "flawless present". You must complete the stories of all three days to open it, though you can tackle them in any order.
  • Hypocrite: At one point, Feng Yu angrily asks his wife who's going to take care of the household while she's away at work, completely ignoring that, as he's jobless, he could take up the housework himself.
  • Ill Girl: Mei Shin was sickly as a child, with an entire section of the game devoted to her stay in a hospital.
  • I Miss Mom: Mei Shin says this after Li Fang leaves her husband to return to work.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Discussed, and ultimately defied. Mei Shin is a scared little girl, but because of the social stigma associated with mental illness, her father gets furious when the hospital refers her to a psychiatrist, screaming that his daughter "is not a lunatic" and tearing her medical report into shreds. This has tragic consequences.
  • I Reject Your Reality: The 'Flawless Present' is actually this, being the culmination of Feng Yu's refusal to accept that his wife left him because he was driving their family into the ground, Mei Shin is suffering from anxiety and needs psychiatric help, and Cigu Guanyin is a scam that led to him killing Mei Shin.
  • It's All About Me: Feng Yu is this in spades. He constantly spends like his family is still wealthy, abuses his wife out of egotism, and accidentally murders his daughter with a fake miracle cure instead of taking her to the doctor after her diagnosis is not what he wants to hear.
  • Jump Scare: While the game prefers slow burn horror, it does jumpscare you on occasions.
    • One of them is particularly jarring. In the 1985 apartment, you are supposed to be jumpscared by the ghost of Li Fang while heading to the right wing of the house. However, either by design or due to a bug, the jumpscare may not happen the first time the player passes through but rather after, including after every puzzle has been solved already. This could cause some players to be jumpscared completely out of the blue while thinking they are walking through a "solved" section of the game, which everyone will inevitably assume to be safe because every other scare in the game is obviously scripted and does not happen randomly.
  • Leitmotif: The Lady On The Pier, identified as the main theme of Li Fang's breakout movie, appears several times as the piece Mei Shin sings for the contest she takes part in.
  • Kill the Cutie: After all of the attempts made to relieve Mei Shin's anxiety and panic disorder, she dies at the hands of her father.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: During the trip to your yuan shen, you have to walk down a corridor with a mirror on one side. The reflection starts talking to you, mocking the way Li Fang tried to keep the family together and how the two of you ended up breaking Mei Shin by trying to put too much responsibility on her — all through a flower metaphor. He ends up encouraging you to keep going, although it's hard to tell if he mocks you or genuinely thinks you can still save Mei Shin.
  • Medical Horror: Downplayed since it's a very brief portion of the story and the hospital itself ain't guilty of anything wrong, but Mei Shin's experience with medical treatment was not a pleasant one because it involved some agonizing acupuncture. The hallway leading to the hospital section reflects this by showing several childish doodles of children getting stabbed with various needles.
  • Mundanger: For all the bizarre supernatural horrors such as possessed mannequins, spirits in hell, and a vengeful phantom woman, the only real horror is Feng Yu killing his daughter in a delusional attempt to save her after destroying his family, while under the influence of a cult leader.
  • Nervous Wreck: Played for Drama. Her parents' constant arguments caused Mei Shin to develop what's most likely panic disorder.
  • Never My Fault: Feng Yu accuses Li Fang of overspending, but he's the one who buys things like the arowana fish, and he's the one offering most of their money to Cigu Guanyin.
  • Nightmare Sequence: A cutscene near the end of the game shows one of Mei Shin's panic attacks in first person, and it's not pleasant.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: The TV occasionally glitches out, either repeating part of the broadcast over and over, showering the screen with white noise, or switching to show something… ominous, which, in contrast to everything else on TV, seems to be in-game.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The message from the hospital staff cuts off just before they write what treatment they recommend for Mei Shin. Near the end of the game, you see the message again, complete, showing that they recommended psychiatric treatment, sending Feng Yu into blind rage that they'd dare label his daughter "a lunatic".
  • Only Sane Woman: Li Fang is the only one to realize that Mentor Heuh is completely untrustworthy, but she cannot convince her husband or her daughter of it.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In one of the game's very rare amusing moments, at one point you have to smack the TV several times to get rid of the Ominous Visual Glitches.
  • Phony Psychic: Mentor Heuh, a woman to whom Feng Yu looks for guidance when searching for a cure to Mei Shin's "curse". Late in the game, when Feng Yu puts a tape in a tape recorder, it's revealed that she's conned several people before him, with the last recording being between her and a furious man whose father has refused chemotherapy because of her and died from cancer as a result. Heuh has also told Feng Yu to put his daughter in a bathtub filled with snake wine for a week, leading to her death. In the last time he called her, she failed to pick up the phone, which either meant she was arrested by the police or has managed to skip town with her ill-gotten money.
  • Planet Heck: Feng Yu's Vision Quest late in the game has him crossing through Buddhist Hell.
  • Poor Communication Kills: In Mei Shin's final journal entry, we learn that she found a way to calm herself and push back her panic attacks — by folding paper flowers until she calms down — and believes she no longer requires Mentor Heuh's treatments. However, she decides not to tell her father about that, as she knows how important Cigu Guanyin is to him, and goes forward with Heuh's "cleansing" ritual. This ultimately kills her.
  • Psychological Horror: It's saying something when being chased by a furious ghost is the least scary part of the game.
  • Reality Subtext: An in-universe case. Throughout the game, you find pages of Feng Yu's scripts. It quickly becomes apparent that he's taking the events of his life and filing the serial numbers off.
  • The Reveal: Where is Mei Shin? Her corpse is in the bathroom, where Feng Yu inadvertantly killed her as part of a religious ritual.
  • Rule of Three: The three rooms in the Hub Level, representing three moments from the past, as well as the three family members — 1980 for Feng Yu, 1985 for Mei Shin, and 1986 for Li Fang. The three crests you get by completing each room have their respective member carved into them as well.
  • Scam Religion: The cult of Cigu Guanyin is just a way for Mentor Heuh to make money off of gullible people. Not only is it useless as help, it's also actively dangerous, and killed at least two confirmed people by consequence, one being Mei Shin.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Li Fang ends up leaving her husband to restart her acting career, intending to take her daughter away as well as soon as she has the money. Unfortunately, Mei Shin dies before that happens.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mei Shin has a "Magical Girl Fang" backpack, which resembles an anime version of Fang Ray Shin, the protagonist of Red Candle's last game.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • A significant chunk of the plot is devoted to Rainbow Star Stage, a singing show in which Mei Shin competed.
    • A late-night romantic advice radio show that appears a few times provides more context to the relationship between Feng Yu and Li Fang.
  • Shrinking Violet: Mei Shin is very shy and has severe anxiety issues, which is why the singing career her parents push on her causes her panic attacks.
  • Slave to PR: At one point, after things start getting really bad, you find a letter to Li Fang from her mother, where she implores her that she stay with her — at this point, definitely abusive — husband, claiming that leaving will be bad for her career.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Mei Shin is ill with something that causes her to feel chest tightness and have difficulties breathing, but the doctors are unable to find anything wrong with her. That's because her issues are psychological — she's suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, something that does get her recommendation to psychiatrist treatment. Unfortunately, with mental disorders being a huge taboo in the culture at the time, she doesn't receive proper treatment.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Detention. They have similar names, revolve around the protagonist traversing a Dark World resembling a place in their lives (Ray's school, Feng Yu's apartment) to reveal the events of the past, eventually leading up to the present. Both protagonists are also ultimately directly responsible for the events of their games, and both inadvertently killed someone (Mr. Chang was executed because of Ray's betrayal, and Feng Yu accidentally kills Mei Shin with a religious ritual) by putting their trust in the Big Bad (Instructor Bai, Mentor Heuh) who took advantage of them, and the game is also about them coming to terms with their guilt.
  • Starving Artist: Feng Yu is a screenwriter, but it seems that after a slew of critical darlings in his youth, he was either unable to move on with the times or lost his talent, leading to the family's finances — and his relationship with his wife — suffering.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Feng Yu got his successful actress wife to give up show business because he thought that it was the man's job to be the breadwinner, and he only presses further on this the more obvious it becomes that his own career is going nowhere and Li Fang has to go back to work for the family to pay their bills.
  • Stinger: After the credits, Devotion leaves you with the scene of Feng Yu, seen from the back, watching the white noise on the TV in a dark apartment. This could be what's really happening during the sequence that opens the game.
  • Story Breadcrumbs:
    • There's a veritable book's worth of reading material in the game, in form of Feng Yu's script pages, Mei Shin's school reports, and several letters from other people, as well as a number of tales and articles to help foreign players understand the cultural context the game operates in.
    • Late in the game, you also find a tape containing conveniently cut-up and arranged pieces of Heuh's interviews with her clients, which you can listen to through a recorder in the very next room.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: One menaces you at several points throughout the game. It likely represents Feng Yu's thoughts on his wife when the cult took over his life.
  • Symbolic Mutilation: The ritual ends with it as Feng Yu tries to appeal to Cigu Guanyin for his daughter's well-being, scooping out his eye to give her clear sight, cutting out his tongue to restore her singing voice, and shedding his blood to make her healthier. It's unclear how much of it actually happens, as afterwards, he seems still able to speak and see fine. The document found later implies that only the blood-letting was real.
  • There Are No Therapists: Downplayed. The hospital diagnosed and recommended Mei Shin seeing a psychiatrist due to her anxiety and panic attacks. Unfortunately, the common stigma of mental illness in the culture leads to Feng Yu refusing to comply and doing something far more dangerous to "cure" her, resulting in her death.
  • Tongue Trauma: The ritual that's supposed to restore Mei Shin's health involves cutting out your own tongue.
  • Too Dumb to Live: At the least, locking a seven-year-old in the bathroom without food for seven days is obviously a horrendously stupid idea. Tragically, Feng Yu is too foolish for someone else to live, as his actions kill his child.
  • Tragic Villain: Though Feng Yu himself is guilty of domestic abuse and child homicide, he was once an ordinary family man and formerly successful scriptwriter whose life and mental state was completely broken beyond his control. His wife left him because staying would mean financial ruin, while his well-meaning attempts to cure his mentally ill daughter would ultimately result in her death. Not to mention, Mentor Heuh's cult took advantage of his grief and despair over his deteriorating situation and suckered him out of his money in exchange for useless and dangerous advice that got his daughter killed in the first place.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • In the scene where you read Mei Shin a bedtime story, the game switches to a 2D puzzle-platformer for a moment.
    • When you attempt to reach the flawless present, the chase sequence has real stakes — if Li Fang's ghost catches you, you have to start it over, unlike all other times.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Some of Mei Shin's journal reports turn out to be this. Particularly, the ones dealing with her home life. She couldn't even bring herself to write that her mother had left home and this contributed a lot to her anxiety.
  • Villain Protagonist: The player gradually learns that the person they're playing as, Du Feng Yu, is the reason that Mei Shin is "missing" as he, in his blind faith to his religion, made her partake in a dangerous religious ritual that led to her death to cure her "illness". Since you spend the whole game trying to get to the "flawless present" by looking back through Feng Yu's memories, it can be interpreted that the game is his attempt at staying in denial about this fact and convincing himself that his mistakes saved their daughter and kept Li Fang from leaving him.
  • Vision Quest: The game's penultimate sequence has Feng Yu undertake a ritual to find Mei Shin's soul and fix it by making offerings to Cigu Guanyin, which takes him through Buddhist Hell.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out Mentor Heuh's ultimate fate. Their last appearance in the story is not picking up a call, leaving why they didn't respond up in the air. It's generally thought to be one of two things: One, she doesn't respond because she has been arrested because of her advice leading directly to multiple deaths, including that of Mei Shin. Two, she knew that people were beginning to realize that what she did was a sham, and so she didn't respond because she'd skipped town with her ill-gotten gains.
  • Write What You Know: An in-universe deconstructed example. Feng Yu's screenplays are very clearly meant to be about an idealized depiction of his own family, which he increasingly emphasizes as his situation deteriorates. This is implied to be why studios eventually grow sick of him, and consequently what causes the financial troubles for the family.


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