Also On: PC
Developer: Do My Best Games
Retro-gaming really has taken off in recent years, with old games getting re-skinned and new games being built with the pixelated retro style. Some succeed with great gameplay and well-designed modern mechanics while others fall short. Developer Do My Best Games recent contribution to the genre, The Final Station, succeeds on all fronts. A basic side scrolling action game on the surface, with an in depth survival mechanic underneath makes for a fantastic game experience.
The Final Station starts out simple, albeit with no tutorial or explanation. You are immediately thrust into the world of a train conductor starting his day in bed. As you begin to traverse the world you can immediately start picking up on little pieces of story. A note here, a text message there all start laying out the narrative for you. You have to dig to find the story but it is there and it is pretty good. You learn about the “First Visitation” and how the “Counsel” has been handling it. These things mean very little at first but start to make sense as you progress through the game.
You then start your job at the train station shuttling people along from A to B while maintaining the train’s various systems. You run from one end to the other while conducting small mini games to keep the train running smoothly. These consist of looking at readings and adjusting heat levels for the vents or maintaining cargo meters. This must all be done while checking on your passengers and keeping their health and hunger needs met with health packs and food. This never gets overwhelming and adds an interesting element to the gameplay.
After you get the hang of the train gameplay, you are introduced to the real meat and potatoes. The Final Station is at its heart a survival game. You learn that the “Second Visitation” has occurred and you are left to scavenge through the world for survivors and supplies, all while running errands for the military. The lore is relatively vague, but the safe assumption is that aliens have taken over and you must fight them off. Or everyone has turned into zombies… I told you the lore is vague. There are four main types of enemies; your standard slow moving regular joes, slow moving armored enemies, fast moving small demon-like enemies and slow moving monsters that explode when shot or if you get too close.
The environments are very well designed and manage to stay fresh throughout the entire journey. The Final Station is challenging, but not unfairly so. You will die a lot as you figure out how to traverse the land and the enemies but checkpoints are plentiful. Ammo is scarce so you have to learn how to pull off headshots and time melee attacks appropriately to shut down the biggest threats first. The land shows itself as you progress, so every door you open has a mystery on the other side. You might open a door to find ammo and food on the other side, or you will find 7 enemies ready to rush you as you frantically retreat back to the safety of the areas you already cleared.
The Final Station doesn’t break any molds, nor is it revolutionary in its gameplay or ideas, but it is fun. It is good old fashioned, quality fun. I thoroughly enjoyed my 3+ hours with the game which is about how long it takes to run through the campaign. If you are someone who cares for achievements this game is a good play, as I gained 700 gamerscore (7 achievements) simply for playing through the game. This is truly a good choice in a time where the gaming landscape is a bit scarce, and a ride I would highly recommend you don’t miss.