The dev behind upcoming sci-fi horror Caffeine has released a new demo (early for us press types) and we here at Pixel Judge were all too keen to get our grubby little mitts on it. The lone developer helming the project, Dylan Browne, covered a few changes and improvements in a recent devlog. Browne briefly brought up the implementation of portable light sources in that video and in this demo you're given a few chances to mess around with them here. Though, as mentioned in the devlog, the physics still definitely need a touch more fine tuning. I sent many a note or card or cup flying when I tried to interact with it.
Speaking of notes, there are lots dotted about the space station and they really help to add to a sense of, for lack of a better word, 'lived-in-ness', making your loneliness all the more disconcerting. There are also audio files that build upon the story as well as the environment and that environment certainly is atmospheric. The sound design already creates a great sense of dread, apprehension and the distinct feeling that there may be something else on board with you that doesn't like you very much. There are a few jump scares already but they are very effective and surprisingly subtle. The big bad on board didn't show itself during my time with the demo but I definitely got the sense that it was there in some form.
The last thing to touch upon is the visuals, which are gorgeous. Browne has often spoken about his quest for high visual fidelity during the development of Caffeine and one really sees all of his effort here. The space station is very shiny and very pretty and is made to look even better and more interesting with the role light plays in the game. The station rotates around a star, meaning that depending on the time some rooms will either be bathed in darkness or well-lit and much less scary. This adds an interesting dynamic to exploration of the station (and Browne has said that light will also play an important role in puzzles later on).
This demo makes Caffeine look very promising. It demo delivers well on the atmosphere promised in earlier trailers and definitely left me wanting to uncover all of the space stations secrets.