I love a good space faring piece of science fiction. Could be a book, video game or a film I don’t honestly mind. It’s a theme I’ve always had plenty of time for, and one I have enjoyed for about 30 years and now, we have The Station. A Sci-Fi mystery set aboard a dark and seemingly abandoned space station orbiting an alien planet. The three crew members have failed to make contact, and you, a recon specialist have been sent to investigate the mysterious disappearances of the crew. Luckily, the station has a cloaking device to keep them hidden from view of the inhabitants giving you time to forge ahead and solve the riddle that lies ahead. Time to boldly go, my friends.
First of all, I will say that The Station’s strong point is the story that unravels as you progress further into the game, all the way to the climax. However, I don’t want to spoil it all for you by mentioning too much about it, as a spoiler like this will certainly ruin the experience for those that wish to delve further into this mystery. I’ll be fair and say I didn’t see that ending hurtling towards me, and even if you have an inkling at what lies ahead, you’ll still be impressed.
Upon loading the game for the first time and beginning your adventure, a voiced narration explains the details that lead up to the current day and that it’s down to you to find your three missing crew members. Docking your ship, and noticing the large, ominous station that has been provided by the company Axiom to study the inhabitants of the newly discovered alien world. The crew were sent to observe their customs, biology, chemistry and more from distance. The crew have left various amounts of information and clues scattered about that you can find, via audio logs and messages on computer terminals. You’ll soon discover more about them, and that they’re in the middle of civil war which the crew find quite shocking. These logs and messages are priceless to anyone playing through The Station, as it’s the only way to unravel the story, and not only that, but it also exposes the relationships the crew had with each other. If you just plough head first into the idea of completing the game for easy achievements/trophies, I guarantee that you will miss out on one amazing narrative. I played through a total of three times just to make sure I found all audio logs and messages, and never once became bored of the game.
The Stations environments are full of a science fiction theme, and technologically, it has that feel that makes it seem authentic should you have an interest in the genre. Nothing too far fetched, but what it does have, feels right at home once you explore the surroundings. Namely corridors and various rooms you’d expect to find on-board such a space station. There are puzzles to solve that are both directly and indirectly involved with story progression. The question is; how curious are you with regards to locked doors that don’t necessarily need opening? Searching high and low will reveal more about the people and their past, which helps fill the gaps for your nameless and silent protagonist.
If there’s is one issue that I have with the game, and it may put people off, is the length of the game. If I’m completely honest, when the game credits rolled at around after hours worth of play, I felt a tinge of disappointment having already finished solving the mystery. Sure I played it another two times, but the fact remained that I knew what to do and where to go, which made for a less exciting involvement, but nevertheless was still enjoyable. Allowing me to find out how to unlock new locations and pieces of the story hidden away in audio logs and just nose around in general. I’d have liked to see the game fleshed out had there been a bigger budget available for the developer, but as is the case with Indie games, they have to make do with what they got. Which means that sometimes, they have to work within tight deadlines and only invest time into developing a game in a time frame available to them. Had this been a big budget game, we could well have been exploring an expansive space station with far more puzzles and pieces of the puzzle to solve. As it is, I can’t fault them for creating a short experience, but on behalf of consumers, I felt the need to bring this to the table.
The atmosphere generated from the dark shadows that reside in the corners of each room and corridor, give a slight sense of unease, but nothing that resembles a true space horror such as Aliens. There are set pieces within the story that play out once you reach a certain point, but again, no spoilers. The feeling that the place isn’t truly abandoned always makes its presence felt as you wander around looking for clues. Something I felt has been implemented perfectly.
Overall, The Station is an excellent game that everyone should experience. Whether that be an immediate purchase or for those who are more careful with their money, a purchase once in a sale. Either way, it may only be an hour of your life that you spend playing it, but it’s an hour that has a huge impact on your memory. It’s been over a week since I played it and I still find myself thinking of the what ifs and what could have been. There’s a lot of talent within the development team, and I for one can’t wait to see more from them.
Overall Score 8/10
Developer: The Station Game
Publisher: The Station Game
Release Date: 20th February 2018
File Size: 2.74GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Steam, MAC & Linux