One of the newer types of genres are story-rich games known as “Walking Simulators.” While I’ve said many times that I don’t like this term, it is an apt description for something like The Station. In it you play the part of investigator, looking into a research station gone dark, in orbit surrounding a mysterious alien planet. You try to put together the pieces of the lives of the people living aboard and uncover what happened to cause everything to go haywire.
Gameplay consists mostly of exploring The Station, listening to audio recordings and reading memos, e-mails and the like. The game revolves mostly around the interactions and relationships between the various members of the crew, with several bits about the alien life they are observing on the planet below. The voice-acting and writing are well done, bringing life to a mostly static, lifeless station.
What The Station gets right the most is creation of atmosphere. After all, you are there to solve a mystery and you arriving on the scene very shortly after an incident means that you are not alone, as the game makes clear very early on. Still this is not a horror game, instead relying on atmosphere and a couple well-placed jump scares instead of scary visuals or monsters chasing you.
The game also offers some decent environmental puzzles that are pretty simple but still a worthwhile break from listening to audio logs. Unfortunately, there are only a few of them and the game suffers by being incredibly short, clocking in at just under an hour and a half. Some more puzzles, or more parts of the station to explore, could have gone a long way to give the game more breadth.
The game really seems like it exists because someone had a really good idea for a plot twist and decided to create a game around it. I actually really like what happens in the plot – it’s really clever. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is forgettable, part because of how brief it is and part because there isn’t anything overly special about it. You are taking this trip to see the end, and it is a worthwhile ending, but perhaps a bit too overpriced for the short journey you take there.
SCORE: 6.0 out of 10
A code for The Station was provided to Pixel Related for review.