I love Game Pass on Xbox One. Without it, I wouldn’t have had the money or motivation to play many games. The latest addition to catch my eye was The Final Station. A single player side-scrolling sci-fi-horror title developed by Do My Best Games.
The Final Station consists of two types of gameplay. The first takes place inside a train where the player must balance taking care of survivors that they have rescued. This is done by feeding or healing them when required with a limited number of resources. At the same time you must take care of the train by completing small mini games to ensure it keeps running. As soon as the train arrives at a station, you can depart and move on to the second part of the game.
At each station, you explore a side scrolling level in an apocalyptic setting. Resources are thin so you need to strategize. There are darkened enemies at every turn. Will you melee them and risk your small amount of health? Or will you shoot them and waste your dwindling ammunition? Then again, you could avoid them all together. However, doing this means you will likely miss out on vital resources. Either way, your mission is to find a hidden code that will get the train moving again. You’ll likely come across additional survivors so make sure you find enough food and medical supplies or they simply won’t make it.
The story in The Final Station is heavily shrouded in mystery. The player takes the role of an anonymous Conductor working as a train operator 106 years after a catastrophe dubbed “The First Visitation”. One day, the Conductor is tasked with taking an experimental train to pick up a special cargo. However, during the journey, the Conductor quickly discovers that he is in the midst of “The Second Visitation”, as cities and towns are attacked by an unknown force, and their inhabitants are transformed into aggressive monsters by some unknown infection. Eventually, the Conductor picks up the power source and central processor for the Guardian, a massive war machine being built to protect humanity from the Second Visitation. The Conductor finally reaches the city of Metropole where the Guardian is being built and delivers the cargo.
I won’t say much more about what transpires beyond this, you’ll have to play the game to find out.
On the surface, The Final Station may seem complicated. However, it’s quite linear and easy to get to grips with. The real challenge is in ensuring that every survivor makes it to their destination alive. Supplies truly are sparse which leads to some moments of high tension.
One thing that needs to be mentioned is the pixelated art style. I’ve been critical in the past of this style in games with horror themes. Uncanny Valley was one such game that suffered from a lack of fear factor due to the style. Personally, I find it hard to be afraid of a bunch of blurred pixels. However, the enemies in The Final Station are darkened which helps greatly. Also, the narrative is strong therefore, the mystery surrounding them adds to the fear levels. Also, each new background is well designed.
As I mentioned, the story and written dialogue in The Final Station is likely its strongest aspects. It’s extremely intriguing but can end up feeling somewhat muddled at times. Another strong aspect is the sombre score that makes The Final Station surprisingly atmospheric and claustrophobic. Although, I never felt particularly invested in the nameless protagonist.
Overall, The Final Station is a simplistic game but a fun one at that. As it’s a game that you can experience with Game Pass I recommend it. Otherwise, it’s definitely worth a play at a low price. It’s a fairly easy 2300 Gamerscore, so there’s that too.
The Final Station