Hop on the survival bandwagon, stay for the eerie atmosphere.
Generally, I am not the biggest fan of survival-esque experiences. The game type manages to pull me in sometimes, but just the concept of survival isn’t enough for me. I need something more, be it an entertaining wrapper, attractive gameplay, or engrossing moment-to-moment action. The Last Station is the latest title to pull this off, and it really struck a cord with me.
The Final Station puts you in the action from the get-go. Taking control of a train conductor who wakes up for his daily shift, it starts with just caring for the train. I took care of the train, spoke to the passengers and tried to make it to the next station in time. It didn’t take long, however, to realize that something was amiss. After a few stops, the military shows up with cargo that needs to be delivered. The Second Visitation, a rather unnerving event, has started to unravel. It turns inhabitants into terrible beasts that will stop at nothing to crush you. So now it’s up to a train conductor to save things.
The gameplay has two segments that you hop between. The first part sees you conducting the train. It is here that I immediately noticed how hard-hitting The Final Station can be. Survivors get picked up while you ride and as they join your group, you are faced with choices. Who do you keep alive with food and medicine? The resources, which you get from exploring at stations, are extremely limited. It is possible to let all the passengers die and continue like nothing happened, but is that truly what you want?
The exploring side is where things become a bit rougher. The flow of the game takes you through 30 station stops, and each one needs to be cleared by finding a four-digit code. Sometimes the tasks presented are straightforward, while others see you finding objects to enable a chain reaction. While these segments are well designed, they are straightforward. Most of them follow narrow passageways, so they don’t often feature surprises. It wasn’t terribly difficult, aside from some close encounters with beasts.
The Final Station controlled quite nicely, though it takes a while to get a hang of. Both sticks are used for most of the character's movements, with the shoulder buttons required to perform additional tasks. Once I learned to deal, it’s precise. As far as the presentation is concerned, the pixelated style is nice and sharp. The Final Station does a great job to present the sense of dread without overly complicating matters. The developer, named Do My Best, certainly did the best they could to make the ride engaging.
The thing with The Final Station is that it knows what it wants to be. This proud survival game mixes the eerie with action smoothly, and I couldn't help to be impressed. While it is more linear than I would have liked, it delivers on a thrilling experience that I can't get enough of. The pixelated style and its gameplay are some of the smoothest seen on the platform, and it is hard to pull yourself away just a tiny bit. The Final Station is an intriguing journey through and through.