The Espial sits above an alien world, its mission to watch the warlike race below to see whether it is worth contacting them. They’re the first intelligent life ever encountered, but seem set on wiping each other from existence through near-constant wars. To aid in this mission, the station is invisible to sight and sensors alike. Then something went wrong.
The Station sees you being sent to investigate the Episal, and see if the three crew members are still alive after contact was lost. It’s a first person exploration and puzzle game that takes place entirely aboard the apparently abandoned station. Much like the Marie Celeste, things seem to have been left in a state of recent use.
As you explore you can access logs and recordings left by the crew. The design of the Espial is really quite cool. Lights come on as you enter rooms, parts of robots and various devices are still working away, and you often need something to enter another area. The station is modular, so when you eventually gain access to the crew quarters they are literally parts of their homes and furnished accordingly. It’s a really nice touch.
One worry I’ve seen voiced around the internet (because man, did we get this game well in advance), is that it was a “walk around and pick things up simulator”. Well, yes that is literally the point of the game. You’re investigating the Espial to see what happened to the crew! Batman picks things up to investigate, do you think you’re better than Batman?
Another thing is that the trailer looks like it can be a scary game, or at least have jump scares. The game is tense, and there’s certainly that air about the game. However, there are no enemies and I didn’t find a way to die, so just try to enjoy the experience.
As well as exploring, you’ll encounter puzzles. Some are easy, others require memory, and others are kind of time consuming. There are even a couple of optional puzzles which, honestly, I couldn’t work out how to do. The others must have been really easy for me to get those… Still, they were fun, and it’s never a bad thing for a game to challenge you.
As I mentioned earlier, the Espial looks great. Everything does, even down to the view of the planet below with its smatterings of light showing the constant state of conflict. The audio is also great, from the sound effects to the music cues and voice acting.
The only issue with The Station is that you can meander through it in about two hours. Even with backtracking, and trying to find solutions to optional puzzles (which I assume are tied to Steam achievements), you’ll not reach three hours.
I had a lot of fun with The Station. It is short, but I didn’t feel that I was robbed when it came to an end. There are still a couple of puzzles that I couldn’t figure out, but as I mentioned they were optional as they didn’t prevent me from finishing the game. I’m definitely interested in playing through the game again, if only to try and work those out.
If you enjoy exploring well realised environments, and following a compelling story, then you should check out The Station. There are some great puzzles that aren’t easily solved, and even a scale model of the Espial to put together. I’m looking forward to what developer The Station does next.
The Station (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.
A bit on the short side, but with a compelling plot and a great looking location. If you like first person puzzle games, then prepare to like The Station.