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    Caffeine: Indie Games

    It’s the year 2097 and rampant coffee addiction has sent the world into the far reaches of the galaxy to mine for synthetic caffeine. And we thought the lines at the local Costa were excessive. This atmospheric horror adventure from one-man dev team Incandescent Imaging sees you waking up as a young boy on an apparently abandoned caffeine mining ship far out in space. Without any memory of where you’ve been, you can only piece the story together from increasingly desperate messages on Post-its and audio logs scattered around the ship.

    Getting hands-on with the game is immediately impressive. Lonely and abandoned, wandering the corridors of the craft with no weapon to speak of is instantly unnerving. The sound design is beautifully understated as sentry robots bleep through corridors and airlock doors open on approach with an equally familiar and menacing hiss.

    This thankfully isn’t Outlast in space but there’s a thrumming sense of horror throughout as you wander through sterile abandoned living quarters and offices. ‘He sees me’ repeats a Post-it on a wall menacingly, while another just says ‘caffeine is the key’. Just a case of a little too much Starbucks it seems. That is, until a voice whispers “Psssst” in your left ear as your pass a darkened doorway and you start seeing the shadows darting past at the end of hallways.

    Built using the Unreal Engine 4 the game is more than easy on your caffeine-dilated pupils. Corridors are sharp and sterile, while the lighting effects are superb and water glistens beautifully underfoot as you explore flooded rooms and offices. Dev Dylan Browne clearly has a bad case of the JJ Abrams, as lens flare makes a frequent appearance when peeking through the ship’s windows at the lonely expanse of space outside.

    Buzz kill
    Apparently influenced by FEAR, Condemned and Doom, Caffeine’s sense of horror is palpable but thankfully restrained. Yes, there are jump scares here but cranked back just enough that you don’t expect them but want to take a headphone off one ear just in case. There’s some gentle environmental puzzling too as you explore rooms, picking up lights to see into dark corners. With full Oculus support and a confirmed release for 2015, we’re jittery with excitement. Put the kettle on, will you?

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