By train is one of the best ways to travel. Lot’s of leg room, you can walk around, there’s a viewing car so you can watch the landscapes go by, and there’s a dining car. Sure it takes longer but it is ideal in terms of comfort. So the zombie apocalypse breaks out, forget making it to the airport, and skip the minivan, make your way to The Final Station.
The Final Station puts you in the shoes of a train engineer after the zombie outbreak. You’re just a guy trying to do his job; maintain the train during transit, load up cargo and passengers, get the code to the lock, and continue on. Except it seems that all those things are not at the station when you get there and it is your job to go explore the towns looking for survivors, supplies, and figure out where that lock code is. At first it’s just a minor nuisance. Things get grim however when you start encountering the walking dead during these supply runs. On top of that you have the military forcing you to carry Top Secret cargo. What’s in the box? Is anywhere safe? Is the train industry safe during this terrifying era? Continue your route and find out!
Exploration is rather simple. WASD controls for movement, “E” or “F” to interact, Right click to melee, and Left click to shoot where your cursor is located on screen. “Q” pulls out a med kit, and “R” reloads your weapon while TAB switches it. When it comes to using an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller it’s just as easy as the PC of the game since more and more games that are getting a release on PC are getting controller support straight from the start. You move through each town interacting with items as they highlight either opening a door, reading a note, or looting a locker. Headshots help preserve ammo and where your cursor is does matter. The Final Station never felt unfair, meaning I realized that my death was because of something I did, not the result of some cheap enemy spawn or mechanic. It’s my fault I ran out of bullets, it’s my fault I needed to use that extra medkit. The only thing I did find slightly annoying was you can pick up certain objects and throw them and it was somewhat disappointing to clear a room of zombies to find one of these objects on the other side of the room making it useless.
Aside from gathering supplies to keep your train running and passengers who pay for fare as motivation I regularly just found myself interested in exploring this game. Each location feels just enough different and adds its own unique touch to not feel repetitive. You never know what’s behind the next door and more than once I found my heart pounding as the door opened and I was immediately set upon by a swarm of undead. This feeling of uncertainty, combined with the need for supplies and passengers is at the core of this game’s atmosphere.
Adding to that is the design work, deliberate color palette, music, and overall excellent sound design that gives this game, despite it’s 2D charm, a genuinely suspenseful atmosphere. There were a few occasions that the atmosphere had me on enough edge that when something unexpected happened I was frantically looking around for what caused it. This is not easy to pull off in a 2D scroller/shooter, but Tiny Build pulled it off.
Overall, The Final Station isn’t adding anything too new or revolutionary to the zombie shooter formula gameplay wise, but at this point what really matters is your motivation and the atmosphere the game takes place in that helps a game succeed in this genre. Tiny Build packed The Final Station full of both of those things and the end result is a surprisingly genuinely suspenseful 2D experience that combines train maintenance with zombie slaying. If you’re looking for a fun zombie slaying game and more you’ve found it. You’ll be very pleased with The Final Station and what you’ll find on your adventure.