A train game taking place during the end of the world? That’s just what The Final Station is. The game starts off during a beautiful morning, and by the end of your first day the world has ended and everyone is struggling to survive. Through traveling to multiple stations you’ll unravel exactly what’s going on, and hopefully save some people along the way.
There’s two different phases of play as you move through the world of The Final Station:
- The train phase.
- The station phase.
In the train phase you’ll be making sure your passengers are healthy and fed, fixing up the train, crafting new items, and listening to conversation. You’ll also get a peek at the world around you thanks to beautifully rendered backgrounds. It’s fairly simple, but can get a bit anxiety-including if you don’t have enough supplied to take care of passengers, and have to start cleaning up dead bodies.
The station phase is where you’ll be wandering towns and villages, trying to gather supplies, fighting turned humans, and learning more about what’s going on in the world. Again, it’s not terribly difficult. It’s easy to learn the patterns of the turned and save ammunition by killing them with melee attacks. Even if you do die, the game has a checkpoint system that always is just a few steps behind you.
Speaking of the turned, there’s a few types. None of them have names that I’ve found, but here’s what I’ve ended up calling them:
- Normal – These just shamble slowly around and really pose no threat.
- Runners – These are small, and really fast. As soon as they see you then coming running at full speed.
- Armor – Normal turned that have swat armor. They can be killed by a melee hit to knock of their helmet, then a bullet to the head.
- Giants – Pretty much Normal turned, but bigger. They take the same amount of hits to take down.
- Burned – Normal types that are on fire. If you shoot them they’ll run toward you and explode.
- Humpers – Gross little Runners that stick to you and continue to do damage.
As far as protection, you get a pistol early on. Shortly after you’ll get a shotgun that’s great at taking out groups of turned at short range. Ammo is scare, but it’s melee attack is a bit stronger than your fists. I found myself using this for most of the game. Towards the end of the game you get a rifle. It’s the best weapon in the game, but comes a bit late. By that point you’ll have melee combat down with the shotgun, and only needing the pistol on occasion.
The game progresses from train phase to station phase over and over again until the end. Where the game really shines is the story, which is unravelled through notes you find, people you talk to, computer terminals, other train operators, and conversations survivors have on the train. It’s really what kept me moving through the game once I had enough supplies to take care of people and enough skill to easily kill or avoid the turned.
The Final Station is a beautiful game with some amazing pixel art. While the characters and enemies are fairly simple, the beauty lies in the environments and amazing backdrops. There were several times where I was caught up in what was behind my train that I neglected conversation, passenger well-being, and train maintenance. Combined with a wonderful OST, the game oozes theme.
I had a lot of fun with The Final Station, but like I said earlier, I had a better time uncovering the story than through the actual gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay was solid, but a bit repetitive. It was the visuals, music, and writing that kept me playing through the game. I had almost stopped playing the early beta I had of the game due to the lack of much of the story, and am glad I came back to play the final release. Is it worth the $14.99? Yeah, it is.
A copy of The Final Station was provided free for review by tinyBuild.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.