The decision to end her pregnancy must not have been easy for Hadley, but an already traumatic experience turned into a horrifying nightmare. And it’s all because of Cayne
Genre(s): Point & Click Adventure | Horror
Developer The Brotherhood Games
Publisher: The Brotherhood Games
Release Date: January 2017
Played Main Story
Purchase At: Steam
Almost two years ago, I reviewed Stasis, a point & click isometric horror adventure game with an amazing atmosphere and really cool gameplay and story. It was also a game I backed while it crowdfunded.
After the release, I heard of Cayne, the spinoff title that was in development but as the months went by I admit I lost track of the progress and ultimately forgot about it. Imagine my surprise when The Brotherhood contacted me this week with not only my backer key for the game but also a press one.
With how much I enjoyed Stasis, I had to give Cayne a shot, and if that wasn’t enough reason, the game is free, not just to owners of the original game or the backers, but everyone. You don’t say no to a free game, and especially not to one developed by a crew that put so much effort and love into their creations.
Cayne is a side-story to Stasis, set in the same universe but dealing with other characters and in the process explaining some of the things we saw in that game.
Cayne opens with Hadley in a clinic, about to undergo her abortion procedure. A mechanical nurse calmly tells her to count back from ten, and she slowly drifts off…only to wake up very pregnant and strapped to a table in a metal room, with whirring machines, terminals and a hulking brute pacing around her. A few buttons on a terminal even bring down a horrible bladed tentacle from the ceiling, mean for foetal extraction.
At first, she’s terrified and paralysed by the fear. But then, with quick thinking and the decisiveness and strength that will characterise her, Hadley escapes her bonds, kills her captor and uses him to take out the machines, sending the facility on a spiral of chaos and destruction that sets the stage for the rest of the adventure.
She of course escapes the destruction, as she escapes everything else that blows in her face over the course of the adventure. Hadley takes more blasts to the face than Lara Croft and comes out kicking, and she’s pregnant. Talk about a badass.
But in all seriousness, I enjoyed the character, not just because of the clever writing and design which shows you more about her without telling, using her conversations and monologues to explore her past and regrets instead of explaining who she is as a person, but also because of the powerful voice acting.
One thing I often complain about with voice acting is that the actors aren’t intense enough in dramatic situations, lacking power in their shouts and screams. Hadley’s intensity blew me away. You can feel the raw emotions in her voice and in a game where it’s all about connecting with this character and her horrible situation, that vocal power is amazing.
Visually, Cayne is both stunning and grotesque, with The Brotherhood bringing their signature style from Stasis back for another round. Walls covered in gore, strange biomechanical contraptions that blur the line between reality and nightmares and incredible visual designs that tell as much of the story as the conversations do.
There are two highlights, the “Womb” thing you raise from a pool, which is just beyond grotesque, and the Cayne pod room, how pristine it is when compared to the facility. You can feel the reverence of the characters without anyone telling you—though you can learn of the depths of their commitment and depravity through their log files.
Story-wise Cayne is very strong, with phenomenal character growth in a short period. A relatively short game gives you a character that grows and matures significantly without it ever seeming forced and that’s great.
Sadly, while Cayne’s story is pretty good, it’s also predictable and you will see the big twist a mile away. I did. It’s not bad, just a bit obvious, though I really don’t have much of a problem with it. I came to this game for one thing: atmosphere.
Stasis had a fantastic atmosphere and made you feel tense and dread turning the next corner or completing the next puzzle even if the chances of you having to fight a creature or enter a timed survival segment were minuscule to non-existent. And I’m happy to say that Cayne brings back that amazing atmosphere, powerful and gripping.
Part of this is the visual design, including the puzzle triggers and aftermath, another is the intense voice acting, but what complements those perfectly and makes it all work brilliantly is the strong sound design, minimalistic in music but very strong in sound effects, from screams in the distance to the constant and oppressive grinding of machines and equipment.
Cayne is a powerful adventure game. I would’ve loved for it to be much longer, but it’s free, so I won’t complain—too much—about the length. The level of quality and effort put into this free title is outstanding, beyond what most other developers would do.
5/5 – Hell Yes!