A few weeks ago we were approced by producer and developer of The Station, The Station. I hadn’t heard anythhing about this game before hand, but after a quick peek at the store page for the synopsis was all I needed to give the game a try.
The game takes place in a single location, an aging orbital observation platform—the Axiom—capable of using stealth technology. The station and its crew are on an extended mission to observe the local dominant species, to determine if they will have any further contact with them given they have a very warlike demeanor. Unfortunately, the systems that govern full control suddenly and unexpectedly lose power exposing the station to discovery. As the player, you are sent as an investigative agent to uncover the mystery of the station and what happened to the crew aboard it. Undertaking logic problem solving, you must restore the systems to the station so that you can gain access to the under powered areas.
The game does an excellent job of telling a story with no interaction between the player and the crew of the station. Through notes, voice messages and written messages sent between their families and each other, the game adds depth. Each one manages to feel unique as well. The engineer is an old salt focused completely on his job and his duty, but still has a decent sense of humor. The science officer is incredibly intelligent but at the same time is full of himself, only thinking of how an opportunity can help further his status and career regardless of the impact that has on others. The captain, while in her dealings wih the crew comes off confident and responsible, but hides a deep core of self doubt that she was picked because of her parentage rather than her own merits. I found myself surpised that at the end of the game, I actually felt something for all of these characters even though I never got to interact with them directly.
The game also delivers a very important message, and while I’d love to put it here, the game would be pointless to play if I did. Throughout the game, I had evolving sense of hatred for the species that was referenced by the crew in their studies. The barbarism that they showed to their own species filled me with disgus
t. Even more so later in the game when you actually begin to encounter them in a limited capacity as you explore. At least until the final reveal where the game managed to take all of the feelings that I had left building, and turned them all against me. Which I thought was both clever and very insightful for the developers.
The design of the station is fantastic and looks very realistic, or at least as real as one can get with sci-fi designs of future technologies. While everything does seem to be beyond our current capabilities, they feel realistic enough that if we had this technology today, I could see us building space stations in a similar fashion to this.
If I had one complaint about the game, and I can tell you that there’s only one, is that it’s far too short. I got stuck a couple of times with the puzzles, one in particular took me 10 minutes to get past becasue I couldn’t get my head around it, and even still I managed to clear the game in a little over an hour. I would have liked it much more to have more to explore, more secrets to discover and more about the crew to learn. Having said that, it is a minor complaint and I only realized how short it was after I had cleared it.
All in all this was a fun litle game to explore. It’s currently out on Steam, so if you’re a fan of exploring enclosed spaces and getting story delivered by notes rather than longwinded speech sections, this is a great game to play. The deep story outweighs the short play time and forces you to think of your own perspective on how you think on other cultures and species. GG, everyone!