Sarah Graham, Chattanooga, Tenn. – In a gaming market saturated with zombie apocalypse shooters, The Final Station, from developer Do My Best Games, manages to bring a refreshing take on death and decay.
The Final Station is a 2-D pixelated side scroller, which is already a break from the motion-capture hyper realism of the modern game industry.
In it, you play as an unnamed, silent train conductor who is charged with transporting passengers and mysterious cargo from station to station.
The game lets players piece the plot together themselves, leaving them to glean information from papers, conversations between survivors and the ever-changing environment.
All that is really certain is that there is this black goo that turns people into weird zombies and aliens might have something to do with it.
The plot isn’t the only thing that can be confusing, however, as it seems the game itself doesn’t know what genre it falls into.
In the train, The Final Station is a resource-management game. The conductor has to hand out food and medicine to his passengers as he monitors their stats, all while constantly correcting the systems that run the train and responding to vague communications from colleagues.
At the eponymous stations, it becomes a typical apocalypse survival game. Players must shoot their way through hoards of goo-zombies while scavenging supplies out of cabinets and off of dead bodies.
The level can only be passed by finding a code that unlocks the train from a strange barricade system. Players should take the time to navigate the tunnels and rooms that are unveiled as you investigate the level, as the code is often in places one wouldn’t expect.
What The Final Station lacks in game mechanics (every level tends to feel like a rehashing of the one before) it makes up for in atmosphere and intrigue. The conversations and papers all have a tone of incompleteness, like information is missing.
It seems to be missing only to players, however, because every person but the conductor appears to know what’s going on. The fact that the story isn’t spoon-fed to the audience is refreshing, as is the detail-rich background that offers as much explanation to the goings on of this strange world as its inhabitants do.
players must be careful to take it in, if they can tear their eyes away from riveting game play such as balancing energy levels or giving a scientist a bandage.
Overall, The Final Station is both underwhelming and overwhelming. The repetitive nature of the level structure can lull you into a coma but the plot hints towards an ending so twisted you’ll be looking for M. Night Shyamalan’s name in the credits. Fans of indie horror games and conspiracy theories can find it on Steam for both Mac and Windows.