Genre: Adventure, Indie
Developer: The Station
Publisher: The Station
Release Date: Feb 19, 2018
Edited by Thorstag
It’s not often that amazing atmosphere mixes with a well-told story in such a way that a game some may classify as a walking simulator becomes more like a puzzling emotional thriller that keeps you wanting more. The Station does this flawlessly. From the interface to every clue left behind, it all feels perfect for the setting in question. There are a few things to note that bring the package down, but we’ll get to those later.
You begin your journey through this abandoned station by listening to a short speech about exploration and discovery, though you quickly discover that everything is not perfect. The whole station is in a state of disrepair, leading to many interesting puzzles as you try to piece together the whereabouts of the missing crew, as well as the station itself. From the very beginning, you are thought to manipulate objects in the environment and to examine everything. The atmosphere is quite haunting, making you feel like something horrible could happen at any time. This sets a tone of psychological horror as lights flicker, and you hear crashes from deeper within the dilapidated space station. As you explore, you find audio logs and various other notes that slowly draw a complete picture of the events leading up to you having to set foot on this station.
The visuals are full of a variety of colors, from the neon blue of a terminal screen to the shining reflections from the polished metal of the station. Everything looks wonderful and truly fits with the aesthetic of the rest of the game. Even the user interface and hud are explained by reasons that fit with the game’s lore. It was a surprise to me when the station’s computer told me that the VR system was activated, and I could suddenly see additional information and brilliant glows indicating important objects. Not everything gives off this heavenly glow, however, so you’ll still need to keep a sharp eye out for the many puzzle pieces dotted around the environment. Sound is well done, with high-quality believable voice acting and atmospheric ambiance. There isn’t much in the way of music aside from the opening movie and the title theme. This only adds to the overall experience of picking your way through this seemingly abandoned station.
Most puzzles are simple, find item A and put it in location B. This, however, is where my issues lie with the game. You do have an inventory, but it’s reserved for key items like passcodes or keycards. This means that to solve a puzzle, you must pick up item A by left-clicking on it and hold down the mouse button throughout the entire journey to its final resting place. It would have been nice to have a pack or limited storage system to assist in the transport of these items as sometimes you’ll need to carry items from one room into another. The key isn’t usually far from the lock, though, so most will be short trips, only a room or two away in most cases. You’ll be switching the power on and off, fixing broken machinery, and finding passwords as you work your way to the truth.
- Well told story
- Amazing atmosphere
- Interesting puzzles
- No real inventory
- Long mouse button holds
- Vision obstructed by carried items
GlitchedVision gives The Station a score of 8.0(80)
Overall, I would highly recommend experiencing this mystery if you’re a science fiction fan or a lover of the mystery game genre. The well-told story meshes perfectly with the nicely built atmosphere of The Station to create an experience that shouldn’t be missed. With a price of $14.99 on Steam, it’s a decent impulse buy that you won’t be disappointed with.