From developer Do My Best and publisher tinyBuild comes The Final Station, an incredibly gripping post-apocalyptic action platformer that sees you take control of a train Conductor on a tension filled journey as you travel throughout a dying world.
As the player you’ll take control of an unnamed train conductor thrust in the middle of what will come to be known as ‘The Second Visitation,’ a global event that is turning humans into mindless monsters who are determined to end your journey at each possible stop. It is your job to not only shuttle surviving humans to safety but to also transport the last remaining tool that can be used for humanities saving, and given the progress of the infected species it’s not going to be an easy task.
The Final Stations makes use of two distinct types of gameplay modes. The first of which sees you doing the job for which you were assigned (conducting and controlling the train) and the second of which sees you exploring the different stations or stops that are spread throughout the dying world. Both of the game modes use the same control scheme so it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of the layout. The left stick moves your character around the 2D map while the right stick controls the sight or aim of your weaponry. Both sets of bumpers are used quite effectively as well, with LZ being used to pick up items from the environment and RZ being used to fire the weapon you have selected. By pressing the R bumper or the B button you will use a melee attack. This becomes increasingly useful as bullets become more scarce and you need to fight off a single enemy instead of an entire room full of them.
As the train conductor, your primary task is that of keeping the train stable and fully functional. This is done by monitoring the energy use of the different cabins that your train has attached to it and interacting with them in a specific way in order to level out the energy usage. The task isn’t hard by itself, but these sections are made difficult when multiple tasks pile up. In addition to monitoring the train, you must keep an eye on the passengers you rescued from the different sites and also keep in touch with other train stations and conductors throughout the crumbling civilization. Sometimes this means deciding whether or not to give your passengers medicine and food, both of which are finite resources, or letting them die and looting their bodies for more resources. Maintaining proper communication with outsiders is simply a way for the plot to be moved forward but takes up a decent chunk of time in the process and is one of the many different decisions you’ll have to make in this gameplay section.
The stations you explore on each stop offer suspense, challenge, and are very well designed in regards to layout and variation. In these sections of the game it becomes a constant battle of survival as you manage the few bullets you have with a health pack supply that may be nonexistent depending on how you treat your passengers. Throughout The Final Station you’ll be able to make use of a few different weapons including your trusty pistol, your fist, a shotgun, and even an automatic rifle. Additionally you can pick up items from your environment and throw them at your enemies and even interact with explosives to take out entire rooms of your infected enemies. As you progress to larger cities at the close of each of the 5 chapters, you can purchase upgrades to your weaponry and also restock on health packs and food for your journey.
The gameplay felt very polished and like I was always in control of the character, which is something I greatly appreciated while playing. The game also has very short re-spawn times in between deaths so you’re never left feeling frustrated for long because you’re thrown right back into the action.
Unlike many of the Nintendo Switch games that have adopted the ‘retro’ stylings, The Final Station takes a different approach to this accessible design. Rather than using a heavily varied and intense color scheme, the game opts to remain very realistic in regards to the overall palette that is used. This creates a grounded sense of reality and helps to keep the player engaged in the story by making it feel more real. The same can be said for the approach to sound design taken by the development team. By using more realistic sounds, or even no sound at all, the general atmosphere keeps building and is quite suspenseful, which lends itself very well to the idea that you’re supposed to be battling through a second apocalypse.
The Final Station is a game that I absolutely loved playing. The storyline kept me engaged and each level or station ended up being the perfect length so as to keep moving the game forward. The price point is also justified given that a surprise awaits players who complete the campaign in the form of “The Only Traitor” which is a DLC pack that is included with the Nintendo Switch version of the game. This DLC allows you to experience the same events but under a different character. In my mind this game is a NintenDeal and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to experience the unique blend of platforming and shooter action.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – tinyBuild Games
Developer – Do My Best
Price – $19.99
Genre – Action, Role-Paying, First Person, Platformer
Size – 289MB