Promising But Laboured Zombie Apocalypse Survival – The Final Station Preview
*Based on the preview build*
Zombies are overdone, this is a fact at this point. It’s like anyone wanting to make a game for a quick buck will force in zombies. How many more times can you survive the undead? When does it become too much? Is there even anything else to explore in a world full of undead? Apparently there is.
The Final Station is a curious collection of themes and mechanics seen in larger games, only this is a much more compact package. Set in a world ravaged by a zombie apocalypse, player’s find themselves taking refuge on a moving train. From here the game revolves around visiting various stations looking for supplies and other survivors. Zombies are just one of many problems for the player to deal with, and that’s where The Final Station becomes more than just another game with zombies in it.
Each train station could potentially spell disaster for any given play through. In the search for supplies and survivors, the player will encounter hordes of the undead . The 2D Pixel-Art style of The Final Station works oddly well in conveying a sense of unknown dread. Each time a door is opened, there’s a strange sense of tension.
It could be down to how vulnerable the player is. Only a few hits can result in death, and with limited means of self defence, death is a very real possibility. Survival horror may not be the core theme here, but it certainly plays a influence. Limited resources and numerous enemies make each maze-like train station a deadly conquest.
There comes a time in which the player much weigh up their options. Gathering plenty of resources means more chance of running into zombies. Is it really worth risking bullets and health kits for the possibilities of supplies? Slowly crawling through each room and hallway can reap plenty of rewards. One bad move or unlucky discovery can cripple a play through. Each station can only be progressed passed upon finding a code. As the game goes on, the codes get harder and harder to find, demanding the player starts to micromanage their resources even more intensely.
Picking up survivors from each station presents some of the games best and worst elements. Each survivor requires the necessities of life, along with a few extra factors. Finding and extracting survivors is pretty simple, the real work starts on the train. Survivors will need a seemingly constant stream of food from station to station. Supplying them with nourishment requires more time scavenging stations for resources. The problem with this is that hunger isn’t the only factor to take into account.
The train’s ventilation system can, and often will, pick off survivors. While the constant struggle to keep survivors alive does provide some sort of drama, it all feels rather false. Far too many survivors would go from healthy to dead within a single journey between stations. If the hunger doesn’t get them, the ventilation issue will cause them to suffocate.
Issues with the mechanic are highlighted by the inability to reject new survivors. This results in the train becoming packed and near impossible to manage. It’s a part of the game that requires some reworking, but does have potential to be something more compelling.
Presentation falls neatly into the love/hate variety. Pixel art isn’t to everyone’s tastes, even more so in a horror context. In fairness, The Last Station does a great job of creating gritty pixelated renditions of a broken world. Train journeys provide some nice imagery, hinting at not all of the world has fallen victim to the zombie plague.
In its preview build, there’s a fair amount that holds promise. Gathering resources across various stations does provide a buzz, even with the odd cheap death. The sense of vulnerability at the core of the combat serves the horror elements well, making each enemy a genuine threat. It’s a little on the linear side, with some stations feeling far too directed than others. Busy work on the train itself needs addressing. Survivors die far too often, resulting in confusion and frustration.
There’s plenty of promise, but it’s currently weighed down by one or two annoying mechanics.