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CAYNE Review - Grisly Perfection

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CAYNE an isometric, point-and-click, horror adventure that released for free last week, and simply put, it's perfect. It's everything those who love the survival-horror genre expects - and more. CAYNE is also proudly South African, and a testament to the creative genius of Cape Town based, Indie studio, The Brotherhood.

CAYNE is a side-story set in the universe of STASIS, the award-winning title also developed by The Brotherhood, and published by Daedelic Entertainment.

CAYNE: Synopsis and Gameplay

CAYNE is very much like its predecessor, a retro-style 2D isometric point-and-click adventure game, and matches great titles from the genre like Monkey Island or the Kings Quest series. You control your character from a third-person perspective and move from location to location via exits which load a new location on-screen. Items can be collected in the world, possibly combined with other items and then used to interact with the world and progress the story. An example would be to sprinkle some powder over a control panel to see where greasy fingerprints were to key in a door code.

Puzzles are a staple of this type of game, and CAYNE provides some excellent mind benders. One such example was to override a machine by rearranging some icons in a particular way -  only some of those icons cannot be next to one another, and you’d need to move them around in a specific sequence. It's a classic puzzle example of point-and-click adventure games.

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Not a good situation to find yourself in...

With CAYNE, your protagonist is called Hadley, a young woman visiting a family planning centre run by the Cayne Corporation. In this opening QuickTime sequence, the doctor asks what would be considered “normal” questions at the time and under the circumstances. Hadley the undergoes a procedure, and when she awakes, she finds herself in an entirely different place, heavily pregnant, and about to be torn apart by some wicked-looking machinery.

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Something is definitely wrong with these scientists...

From here, your objective is to escape the situation and get out of the facility. To do so, you’ll need to identify what is preventing you from leaving, neutralise adversaries, all while learning of the gruesome experiments that went on in this dreadful place, and uncovering a sinister truth about yourself and the situation you find yourself in.

While CAYNE is set in a dystopian sci-fi environment, this isn’t necessarily needed for understanding the “why” and the “how” of things in the universe. The puzzles aren’t complex, but if you’re new to this type of genre, or need an “ah-HA” moment to get the creative juices going again, spoiler-resistance walkthroughs are already available, posted on the game’s discussions section.

CAYNE isn’t a long game, with a bit of sleuthing you can get through this in about four hours, probably faster if you’re a hard-boiled adventure gamer and puzzler. For the “completionist” though, you’ll need to stick around to find all the remaining achievements, as they can be in odd places; but that is the joy of adventure games such as these.

CAYNE: Visuals and Audio

This game is all about horror, darkness, and dystopian sci-fi – if you enjoyed movies such as Event Horizon and the Aliens series, you’ll feel right at home here. The visual feel of CAYNE is mad science gone horribly wrong, with your character starting a chain reaction damaging and wrecking a project already teetering on the edge of tearing itself apart.

Almost everything is splattered in gore, and mechanical things are combined with flesh which, while I support dystopian futures, should never be combined in this way. I’d be loath to wonder what Christopher Bischoff dreams about at night.

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Indeed, what does he dream about at night?

Music and audio are brought together by (amongst others) returning artists Daniel Sadowski (CS:GO and Dota 2) and Ivo Sissolak, who have done a fantastic job of giving CAYNE an incredible score and appropriate jump-scare ammo (not to mention underwear-changing as well). Voice is given to protagonist Hadley by Sarah Anne Williams (Barbie, Final Fantasy VII, Street Fighter V, Skullgirls) and Ryan Cooper - who also returns to the STASIS universe as a most unexpected companion to Hadley during her escape.

CAYNE: Conclusion

While CAYNE is a free game, you can show some love to the developers by buying the DLC attached to the game. This is DLC done right – there is nothing extra unlocked for the main game, it’s not a shareware unlock like on many mobile apps; it includes the soundtrack, a wallpaper set in 4K and the screenplay, going for R75 (and on special at time of writing).

CAYNE was developed as a milestone in the Kickstarter campaign for STASIS, and as like begets like, this game is also being used to herald in the Brotherhood’s newest Kickstarter project, Beautiful Desolation, post-apocalyptic adventure back-dropped in an African environment.

If you’re into any combination of horror or Sci-Fi, then this is something to try. Jump-scares, a burning desire to uncover the story of the place you find your character in, a look into the deranged minds of those who would even conceive of a place such as this, all these serve as a great alternative to a horror movie for the evening.

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Play it alone, or play with friends to work through the story. Even if you’re not, pick up a copy on Steam, it’s free, and a great evening or two’s entertainment. Even at the DLC pricing, you can’t even get that much entertainment out of two fancy pink fuzzy drinks at the local bar.

For those who have played STASIS before, some story elements are tied together with this game, for those of us who haven’t - you can still play and enjoy this as a stand-alone title without being worried that elements won’t make sense and make for a lesser experience.

Minimum system requirements

  • OS: Windows 7/8/10 – 64-bit & SteamOS & 64-bit Ubuntu & Max OSX El Capitan 10.11 (64-bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 @ 2.2gHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ @2.8gHz (3gHz for Mac)
  • Memory: 4GB
  • GFX: GeForce GT 240 or Radeon HD 6570 with 1GB RAM (onboard GFX NOT recommended)
  • Storage: 6GB

Available on Steam

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