I’ve played several games now from indie developer tinyBuild but The Final Station may be the most interesting one yet. The idea of the game is simple but a lot of different parts about it help tell it’s mysterious and interesting story. However while The Final Station has a lot of interesting things about it there are some things that derail this train quite a bit.
The Final Station is a 2D, side-scrolling game that is set in a pixel art world. You play the role of a train driver in a world that is clearly in trouble. Yes this is yet another post-apcalyptic game but it’s not quite that simple. You are given orders by the military early on to use your train to transport some important goods. You board that train and set off to many different locations to achieve your mission. Along the way you’ll make stops at different locations and have to explore them to find supplies as well as find survivors and bring them with you on your train. At each of these locations you’ll also need to find a four digit code to input back at your train so that you can keep moving. However doing any of this in these different areas isn’t easy as you’ll be fighting zombie like enemies in them.
Where it gets tricky is you don’t know when to quite expect them. This is because you can’t see inside most rooms until you open the door to it or climb down/up a ladder into it. You might open a room door only to have five or more of these zombie creatures rush you. Or you might open it and find no one there at all. You always have to stay on your toes and be prepared for what might be hiding on the other side. You can kill these zombie creatures in a few different ways. You can use one of the different guns you find along the way as long as you have ammo for it. You can pick up certain objects to throw at them such as chairs, toilets, monitors, etc or you can use a melee attack which you can hold down the button for to charge it and make it stronger.
However one of the issues with the game is the controls when you are trying to fight. You aim with the right analog stick but it doesn’t feel quite right and you can easily miss shots for the very limited ammo you have to work with. It takes some getting use to for sure. Should you run out of ammo you’re pretty much probably going to die as the melee system isn’t a viable second option. Should you die though there really is no penalty for it. In some cases it’s actually best to let yourself die should you end up wasting too much ammo or other resources in a certain encounter. That way you can do it again and hopefully do it better next time around. There are different types of enemies that you’ll have to learn to take out. There are small enemies that are very fast and can kill you quick. There are armored zombies that you’ll have to blast there helmet off first in order to kill them. Then there are zombies with steam coming out of them that you’ll want to take out from a distance as they explode when they die.
You’ll want to search everything that you can as well like lockers and bathroom mirrors and such for food and medkits as you’ll be needing them. As you find survivors they’ll board your train until you reach certain destinations. As you ride the rails you’ll have to take care of them by giving them food and medkits when their food or health bars get too low. These train sequences will also task with you managing certain parts of the train but this is pretty simple stuff. All you’ll have to do is press the buttons over and over. You’ll also be able to use a computer terminal to talk to people your character knows and craft resources. Now you could just let these passengers die but you really don’t want to do that. This is because keeping them alive until they reach their destination will grant you rewards such as money and resources like bullets. These train sequences can start to get repetitive much like the rest of the game but since the game is only around 5-6 hours long it’s tolerable.
As you are traveling the passengers will talk back and forth about what is going on in this world. This along with the background visuals help tell this interesting story and keep you interested. You’ll also find notes and messages on computers that help provide some of the story as well. It’s pretty interesting stuff and some of the things you find will make you question what is going on and what roles certain people may have played in this zombie infested world. I’m not fond of the way the game ended though so that’s a downside to it.
By the end of this train ride I enjoyed my ride with it as it presents an interesting tale along with tense gameplay. I enjoyed searching through the different locations and trying to keep my survivors alive even though I didn’t always succeed. The controls could have been better as could the ending. I also feel like the game is a little high in price for the short run time and really the lack of replayability. As it stands though this is a train worth boarding if you want to experience an interesting post apocalyptic tale.
*A review copy of this game was provided by the publisher.