The Station’s premise initially seems similar to that of the recent Tacoma (a sci-fi adventure developed by Frictional Games, those behind Gone Home), but it’s clear as soon as you start playing this narrative adventure that the tone is in fact very different.

Set aboard a space station above a newly discovered alien planet, we find ourselves in the space boots of a recon specialist sent to the station after an incident that sees its communications and stealth systems go offline, leaving the ship visible and open to the potentially hostile race on the planet below. Upon arriving at the station we find it ominously deserted; that is until something shakes the ship and we see a space-suited individual running around. So off we go to see what’s happening.

As I’ve already mentioned, this is a narrative adventure, so this means most of your time is spent exploring the environments for information. Notes are left on desks and pinned to walls, and your specialist suit comes with an AR function that allows you to tap into audio logs from the crew. When you find these floating blue orbs you can carry on exploring as you listen, taking in the environment that the person inhabited and trying to get an idea of their character.

The thing that separates this from the likes of the aforementioned Tacoma, however, (aside from the logs being audio based instead of visual) is that these logs aren’t the ultimate window into the narrative, and what makes The Station interesting in its own way is that this ‘incident’ we are here to investigate is still very much ongoing. The logs provide essential backstory, but the real drive comes from progressing through the ship after this space-suited character.

Along the way there are a handful of puzzles to get involved with, some optional. They’re fairly simple in concept, but a couple of them may test you for a while. One puzzle requires you to switch off power to a room to open a door, for example, whereas another has you looking through a stock list trying to find parts to repair a robot. The optional puzzles are more like secrets to backstory, such as unlocking the crew’s lockers by finding their passcodes (simple patterns that you need to draw out on the lockers’ control panels). The puzzling was unfortunately lacking in content – when I said “a handful” I wasn’t being modest – but what few you get to experience are at least engaging enough to get by for a short adventure.

I was more impressed, however, with the atmosphere of The Station, and its story and setting plays a big part in this. There’s no failure state, and of course games like this tend to lack any form of combat or actual threat, however I still couldn’t help succumb to a feeling of tension as I explored this station. The ever present notion of a potentially hostile alien planet below sits at the back of the mind with every step you take, and the mysterious figure that you’re catching up with creates a bit of a spooky atmosphere as you wonder (and begin to discover) what has happened to the crew. There’s even a good jump scare thrown in for good measure.

The story itself is an intriguing one, and there’s been a reasonable amount of detail put into things like the crew’s alien research, which adds value to exploring the different rooms. However I was a little disappointed in a lack of detail to pretty much everything else. You can pick up, view and manipulate most of what you find on the ship. And while some items are quirky in their futuristic design, most of what you can play around with has little to offer. You’ll pick up bottles, books, bland bits of equipment and tools, none with any real interesting context. Compare this to Tacoma, and that game had writing on the back of bottles and food boxes, and all sorts of minute details. It’s a trivial point I suppose, but having the extra detail helps one to form a picture and an interest in the setting, but in this case I couldn’t see much point in examining anything I found.

The game is unfortunately rather short as well. Lasting me barely over an hour, it would have been nice to get to know the crew a bit better. The audio logs only dabble briefly in their personal lives on the station, and by the end you barely know them better than when you started. On the other hand, considering the direction the story takes I can see a benefit to its brevity – like a short story, but as a game this ultimately means there’s not much to it.

I will say, however, that the ending was very cool, and overall I had a good time with The Station. It’s intriguing and interactive enough to hold your attention, and I suppose the fact that I wanted more by the end is a good sign as well as a bad one. I’m unsure of the price at the time of writing, so you’ll have to judge for yourself when it’s released. But if you’re interested in a thrilling but short sci-fi story, then The Station could be for you.


John Little
John Little

I started gaming with the release of the PS1 - Crash Bandicoot and Ridge Racer Revolution being the first 'real' games I ever set eyes on - and have been enthralled with the medium ever since. I particularly love strategy and horror games, the sort offered by titles such as Total War and Silent Hill, though I also have a soft spot for a good RPG. I studied Journalism at university in the hopes of progressing into writing about games. You'll most likely find me covering indie games as I'm always on the look out for interesting little titles, and generally I stick to the PC and PS4 platforms. I'm not interested in MMOs or really any kind of online game, and I have an unusual and frankly worryingly expensive obsession with collecting gaming guide books, but aside from that I like to think I'm a well rounded average gamer. Find me on twitter @JohnLittle29