The Final Station is a recently released tinyBuild published title, developed by the two man studio Do My Best. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Final Station felt part-mystery, part-survival, and part-horror all wrapped up in a side-scroller. The world has already been "visited" once, and the topic remains a concern even years after. However, in the wake of new events, the world militarizes quickly in response and it becomes up to you, a lowly train engineer, to see your way through the pieces.
With the world in shambles, the game revolves around your attempt to survive. You're able to bring other survivors along for the ride, but it is in no way required. You’ll gain necessary supplies and currency for keeping the survivors alive on your train, so it is in your best interest to save as many as possible. As you travel the landscape in your train, you'll end up at various stops along the way to hunt for new loot, weapons, salvageable items, and even clues to just what' s happening around you. However, it's not a simple matter of jumping off the train and moving about; an infectious disease has begun to ravage the land and turn everyone into bizarre shadow-like creatures intent on ripping remaining survivors to shreds.
Using a controller for this game felt natural and intuitive, which the left thumb stick controlling movement and the right controlling my aim for my weapons. While the crosshair only extended a short distance from my character, it added a nice challenge in aiming for headshots when I could. Granted, there were plenty of times I felt I had things perfectly lined up only to miss with my valuable ammo, but that's why melee is a capable backup. The game is fully playable with a mouse and keyboard setup, if you don’t want to use a controller with the PC version of the game.
Ramping up the survival and horror aspects of the game is the limited supply of items and weapons. Ammo is scarce while items for crafting are even moreso. The game becomes a balance between trying not to waste ammo in surprise, keeping survivors alive and fed, and managing your train. There are generally more enemies at stations than you may have ammo for, so being conscious of your bullet count is key, especially when there are rooms with up to 10 creatures. Between stations, you’ll be spending your time on the train, listening to passenger’s conversations and attempting to keep the train in working order. While the survivors may have additional info regarding the outbreak and state of the world, they are also potentially starving, injured, and more. The train carries a supply of medkits and food, but you'll have to craft more in order to keep them alive as you make stop after stop.
Eventually, you'll reach massive station hubs that still have living and breathing humans. It's here where your survivors and any looted valuables come into place. Survivors can be worth their weight in gold as delivering them safely provides cash bonuses. Cash, in turn, can be used to upgrade your weapons or to buy additional items. Who doesn't want better guns? This places a major question on your head: do you save the survivors you find at the station towns, or do you prefer to kill them outright for loot and less hassle? It's a tough call, but I will say I did manage to do a decent job in saving survivors every chance I could.
The Final Station is a very well made game and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The game is creepy, has a great world and story that I'm still eager to see more about. While it had a bit of a slow start at first, the game quickly ramped up and kept me moving. While the pixel art appearance may be a turn off for some players, I feel The Final Station has a great retro look and style that meshed perfectly with the gameplay.Note: The Final Station was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.