Games of the Year

The Station

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How would you react if we discovered a sentient alien civilization, challenging everything we know about biology, chemistry, physics, religion, and answering the questions man has asked throughout history? But what if this alien world was discovered in a state of civil war? Determining that the rewards outweigh the risks, an undetectable space station with a small three-person crew deploys to research the alien culture in search of a means towards a peaceful relationship. Unable to contact the crew, a recon specialist to sent to uncover what happened. What players discover will challenge their view of surveillance, imperialism and moral law.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

How many millions of hours have been spent studying space in the pursuit of finding life in the universe? Now, this search has finally come to an end. We detected a sophisticated alien life form on a distant planet. Unfortunately, the aliens are engaged in a widespread civil war. Is this the right time to make first contact? How violent is this species?

It was decided to study them first. A crew of three upon an undetectable space station is sent to research the alien world. Halfway through the mission the space station's navigation, communication, stealth, everything mysteriously shuts down. Prove that we were spying on a potentially violent Alien civilization now floats helplessly above their planet.
In a panic to understand what happened you are sent to investigate and coordinate a rescue with the crew.

‘The Station’ is a short but very atmospheric walking simulator. The game concept is simple. Solve a few puzzles and find and read audio logs from the crew to gradually uncover what happened. Additionally, there are some e-mails and chat messages to complete the story.
It's a fine little game with beautiful graphics and very good sound effects that's quite enjoyable if you play it at night with headphones that help underlining the menace mood on the seemingly abandoned space station and increases the intensity of the few jump scares that will give you the creeps. But although it has some scary moments and the whole setting is nerve wrecking ‘The Station’ is not a horror game.

The game shines with an incredibly beautiful design of the space station. The crew's compartments, the lobby, the different type of stations, it all looks fantastic.
But the play time to finish the game is only about two hours. I like these kinds of short games but in my opinion the current price tag of 14,99 Euro is too high. ‘The Station’ is an OK game. It's interesting and enjoyable but nothing outstanding. Therefore, I recommend buying the game on sale if you’re interested.

Pros
- Beautiful graphics
- Very good sound effects
- Great atmosphere
- Easy achievements
Cons
- Short
- Predictable end (at least for me)

Review from Steam

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the station is yet another 'explore an empty space station' walking sim, not unlike tacoma, though in this case you're on a crew rescue mission, not there after the fact to collect data.
only a few light puzzles, otherwise you just go from room to room, look around, examine items, open locked doors, listen to voice logs, etc. since it's not a post mortem visit, there are voices in the background sometimes, as well as random station noises and a prank by one of the crew members that might make you jump, but it's not a scary game, just a bit tense near the end. I didn't find the characters particularly interesting or memorable, and not because they're only present in voice logs. if done well, they're enough, just look at system shock. the story was okay though.
there's a map and inventory for the select few items you can carry, otherwise it's just picking them up, zooming in and dropping them. the latter doesn't always put things back in their place, just leaves a mess, and having to hold two mouse buttons to examine something up-close is awful. and that's on top of a barely visible crosshair/in-game cursor that makes interacting with the world and your ar pop-up thing frustrating. and for some reason, I couldn't open either locker. entered the correct patterns, nothing happened. based on a quick search nobody else had this issue and a progress-critical other door opened, these were optional, but still not cool.
the rest of the controls are far from great and they're not rebindable. movement is with wasd/arrows, mouse to look around and interact, controller is also supported, you can run and crouch, basic stuff. the option to read handwriting or other in-game depiction of text as plain text is always appreciated, but again, having to hold two mouse buttons to do so is awful. and if all this wasn't enough, opening drawers and such by dragging the mouse is incredibly painful. making the whole interface click-based instead of relying on holding buttons for everything would've made the experience a lot more enjoyable.
graphics are fine, voiceovers are a mixed bag and there are a bunch of settings. separate volume sliders, resolutions, windowed mode, subtitles and languages, various graphics settings, brightness, invert mouse, headbob toggle, fov and look sensitivity sliders. I assume some autosaving happens in the background, no indicator though, but manual saving is possible anytime over a a single slot.
if you're into exploring pretty much empty space locations and going through people's stuff, this is as good a choice as any for about 2-3 hours. you can even forgo the puzzles and play free explore mode, but due to problematic controls even half price would be way too much to pay. interestingly, the vr version is cheaper, nearly half the regular version in euros, but it obviously needs pricey extra equipment.

Review from Steam

Unfortunately too short :(
But
Great Game
Good visuals
Very interesting Story
...
Loved it !

Review from Steam

The game does a really good job of playing on the expectations of the player. The story is also interesting, and you can get get a more detailed info about the events on the station if you read the many logs scattered about. Getting 100% of achievements requires a bit of extra work. The game does have a few "scary" moments, more of really minor jump scares, but the game does not require any shooting, hiding or running away from danger. There's no way to die, and the jump scares are for story/aesthetic purposes only.
Two minor things disappoint me:
1. The description says "unravel a mystery which will decide the fate of two civilizations" - which kind of makes it sound like there's some decision the player can take. But as far as I know, there's no decisions in this game - it's an interactive story - a pretty good one - but still, no decisions.
2. At least one puzzle made me think that it required more thought than it did. Without spoilers: You find a piece of a solution in one room, and the other piece is nowhere to be found. So naturally you start looking around the room and notice some patterns on the books (and there's a ton of books) - so you may think that you have to match the piece to a pattern or two on those books and try those. Nope. You just find the other piece of the solution in another room - requiring far less thinking that I thought.

Review from Steam

Short and immersive. Loved the twist at the end.

Review from Steam

Enjoyed this game very much. Would like to see more games like this.

Review from Steam

An absolutely beautiful atmosphere, I felt like there could have been more done with it (So many empty drawers)! The environmental storytelling is spot on and I really understood all the characters simply from notes and details in their bedrooms. The puzzles were simple but interesting, and fit really nicely into the overall design of the station.
I give it:
Periodic table/10

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