I’ll admit that The Final Station was not the reason I scheduled an interview with tinyBuild at PAX East 2016 (that was ClusterTruck and their two new unannounced games). I’ll even admit that, before playing the game, it didn’t think it looked like anything special (as opposed to ClusterTruck and the two new unannounced games). Yet, after playing The Final Station, I can safely say that, while very different from tinyBuilds other games (such as ClusterTruck and their two newly announced games), The FinalStation captured my attention and secured itself as a game I knew I’d need to play.
Title:The Final Station
Developer: Do My Best Games & tinyBuild
Release Date: Summer 2016
The premise of The Final Station is relatively straight forward: you are a conductor on a train following its tracks through a shadowy post-apocalypse. It’s a bit like if Snowpiercer got smashed together with The Road, though there are clearly some supernatural things going on that no-one at tinyBuild was letting us know, not even Alex Nichiporchik, who was tight lipped when he was watching me play through the demo.
The game itself can be divided into two sections: On the Train and At The Station. Both are tense, though in very different ways and requiring different kinds of concentration form you as a player.
The demo began at a station. When you Train arrives into a station, you’ll get locked into the platform. It’s your job, as the conductor, you find the pass code to release these locks, while also looking for supplies and survivors. The entire map is rendered in 2D in muted tones, which fit the atmosphere extremely well. You’ll wander into abandoned houses and buildings, searching dead bodies and lockers, and looking for keys and computer terminals that can give you a hint as to where to find this 4 digit path to freedom.
However, you are not alone…
Hidden in these rooms and behind locked doors are strange creatures only known as Infected. They are beings that look to be composed of darkness or black fire. Some crawl quickly along the ground, while other slowly shamble towards you. Some even where old police riot gear, which make me think they used to be humans, but there’s no way to tell. They take quite a few bullets to take down if you’re not good at getting off head shots, and even with the increased ammo drops of the demo, I was feeling the pressure. Your always able to shove these creatures, which won’t do any damage, but will push them back, and in the demo I had a Handgun and ended up finding a shotgun. Ammo is going to be very rare though, so you’ll have to be careful. This is hard when you open a door and see a half dozen of these creatures suddenly making a rush for your face.
I haven’t felt this much tension in a game since the last time I was out of Estus and had a butt-ton of Souls in Dark Souls 3. Every door that opened felt like it could be leading to me getting overwhelmed and mauled to death. I was constantly on edge, and Alex laughed but reinforced that my skittishness at opening doors and my move to immediately back up as soon as I opened a door was exactly what tinyBuild was aiming for.
You’ll find plenty of supplies, first aid kits and perhaps even a survivor as you explore these stations, but eventually you’ll make your way back to the train after finding the code and be on your way. This leads into the next phase of the game.
Here, you are managing two things: Your passengers and your train. The passengers will have basic needs, like food and medical attention. You’ll have to decide who gets what, but this is pulling from the same pool of resources you’ll be using; do you save the elderly person needing a first aid kit, or save it for yourself for your next visit to a station? This tensions is increased by the needs of the train, which will need your constant attention to make sure that your generators don’t overheat and give out.
The Final Station shows incredible promise, and I am eagerly awaiting release this summer. The game is entering beta this month, and you’ll be sure to hear more about the game as wee approach launch.