The Final Station is an indie Survival Horror side-scroller, developed by Do My Best Games and published by tinyBuild. It was initially released on August 30, 2016 for PC and Xbox One, with a PlayStation 4 port releasing a few days later.
You are Edward Jones, a train conductor in a near-future society still reeling from "the Visitation," a devastating Alien Invasion that occurred 106 years ago. On a routine job testing an experimental new train, reports begin coming in that the dreaded "Second Visitation" has begun, with the aliens utilizing a bioweapon that transforms people into monstrous, tar-spewing zombies. Conscripted by the military to deliver vital cargo, you must keep the train running and rescue as many survivors as you can before you reach the final station...
Gameplay is split into two segments. Onboard the train, you must keep your passengers fed and healthy while maintaining the train's faulty, untested systems through various minigames until you reach your next stop. From there, you must explore the monster-infested stations to find food, ammo, and medkits, while also looking for any survivors. The game is split into five chapters; at the end of each chapter, you will receive rewards from the people you save.
A DLC side-story, The Only Traitor, was released a year later, answering some lingering questions from the main story while raising a few of its own. In it, you play as a doomsday prepper named Peter trying to reach safety after the onset of the Second Visitation. Gameplay is notably different from the main story - you no longer have to manage the hunger and health of your survivors or maintain your transport (a Cool Car rather than a Cool Train), and merely need to collect a set amount of supplies to reach the next level. This is balanced out by only allowing you to bring one survivor with you at a time, with your crafting efficiency and between-level healing tied to their skills.
No relation to The Station (which is set in space), or Environmental Station Alpha (which refers to a domed environment.) Compare Fear Equation, which is also about being a train driver during an apocalypse.
The Final Station provides examples of:
- Action Bomb: Flaming zombies attack the Driver by exploding, dealing severe damage to both the Driver and other zombies if they're close enough. If they're shot but not killed, then they'll catch on fire and start running towards the Driver. However, if they do not reach the engineer after a few seconds, they will explode on their own.
- All-or-Nothing Reloads: You can interrupt the reload animation mid-way through certain actions, and you have to go through the entire animation again to finish the reload.
- Alien Invasion: One possible interpretation of the Visitations.
- Anti-Villain: The ultimate truth about Arthur Vane. He started out as an extremely rich man with deep ties to the criminal underworld who was brought in to The Council by Vermond White to prepare the world for the Second Visitation before realizing that the visitations were meant to try and help humanity, even if it killed most of them. So he became committed to spreading the gas, resulting in the deaths of most of humanity but the ascendance or "rebirth" of those who survived. While he is utterly ruthless and not very ethical - willing to betray most of the country - he has moments, such as being willing to offer "Rebirth" to those who help him, to forgive betrayals by long time allies like that of the Blacksmith, and to look after the daughter of a man he helped kill.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Without the protection of his train's reactor, the Driver quickly succumbs to infection after breathing in gas from one of the capsules, and gradually turns as he returns to his home.
- Anyone Can Die: Every single survivor you pick up can, and will, die if you don't supply them with food and medkits. The only exception to this, sadly, is Arthur Vane.
- Bittersweet Ending: The game's ending implies a new dawn for humanity, as those who have been positively affected by the Visitation begin to rebuild what's left of civilization. However, you also end up getting infected by the gas, slowly mutating into a zombie, and getting shot right before you reach your daughter.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: It's extremely unclear what the aliens actually want to achieve through Visitations.
- Boom, Headshot!: Some enemies take extra damage from headshots. Occasionally, there are special death animations if you score a kill with one.
- Boring, but Practical: Melee attacks. They don't use up any ammunition, and if you charge up before striking a zombie, you can often take them down in a single hit.
- Choice of Two Weapons: In addition to the basic punch, the conductor is a Multi-Ranged Master, able to quickly swap between a single-shot pistol and a shotgun. You'll also receive the rifle at some point, which replaces the pistol. It uses the same ammunition type as the pistol but can fire rapidly with a larger clip size.
- Chokepoint Geography: Enforced by the blocker system, which forces all trains to stop at each station. The only way to continue advancing is to input an access code that is transmitted from Metropole, which is then given to the engineer by whoever is in charge of the station. The impracticality of this system is lampshaded by a number of characters in the game, and the onset of the Second Visitation starkly highlights its flaws.
- Company Town: Ristol. According to the game's lore, private mining corporations were formed soon after the city was founded, which helped the city expand - and eventually joined to protect it from the threat of the Second Visitation.
- Cool Train: The BELUS-07.
- Eldritch Location: Several of these appear.
- The tunnel in the vanilla game. First, it appears out of nowhere, on a length of track that was supposed to pass through two cities. Then you see thousands upon thousands of gas capsules, and strange lights. When the train finally stops, you walk into a warehouse that seems to be traveling through space without actually moving. When you finally exit the warehouse on the lower floor, you find yourself outside, in a night sky with two moons. Then you re-enter another warehouse, only to find that you've somehow backtracked to that warehouse, which is now filled with technorganic machinery. When you reach what is supposed to be your train, you find that it's covered with giant pulsating tubes. The passenger that you rescue in that level is vomiting black goo and appears to have been contaminated by the gas, yet he remains lucid and harmless.
- The final area in The Only Traitor. You literally walk through time and space, traveling on various chunks of land that float through a mysterious void. You also see various, disjointed encounters between other characters, and at one point you even travel far into the past and walk through a medieval castle.
- Gainax Ending: In more ways than one.
- Giant Mecha: The Guardian. Its foot is bigger than your train.
- Heavily Armored Mook: The soldier zombies are Immune to Bullets and melee attacks thanks to their helmets and armor. To defeat them, you have to first knock off their helmet with a melee attack, then shoot them in the head with a firearm.
- Heroic Mime: Throughout the entirety of the game, you won't see a single word of dialogue coming from the engineer; however, he'll still interact with the other characters, who seem to understand what he's saying perfectly well. The only clues as to what he said lie in other characters' replies.
- Averted with The Only Traitor DLC protagonist.
- Hope Spot: Usually when there's a load of ammunition, there will be a room full of zombies immediately after.
- Item Crafting: A gameplay mechanic used while in the train. Various raw materials found at stops can be used to build medkits, shotgun shells, and pistol rounds.
- Kudzu Plot: The game has a rich background and story, much of which is revealed by the world around you, some of it is apparent (such as the purpose of the huge underground shelter and the Guardian), and more than a few details are deliberately left vague. Such questions include where does the gas and the capsules come from, who's using them, who "they" are, what destroyed the Guardian on its first and only sortie, and what happens during the Visitations.
- Locomotive Level: Everything with the train.
- Money for Nothing: Once you're past the final civilized area there's no use for money. As if taunting you with this trope, one of the things you find afterwards is a dead guy with a briefcase with a million dollars in it.
- Mysterious Stranger: Arthur Vane, a member of the Reborn. He appears multiple times in both The Final Station and its subsequent DLC, but his intentions are left largely unknown. In The Final Station, he shows up in the conductor's dreams and appears in the final act of the game, where he guides the player home — before eventually shooting him in the head. The DLC reveals that he was working with the members of the Council to ensure the safety of the other Reborn - and the destruction of regular humans. He also promises the protagonist Peter safety, on the condition that he cause the death of the conductor from the vanilla game. He also acts as Mr. Exposition during the final act.
- Non-Player Companion: The Only Traitor DLC allows you to recruit survivors that you find; they will accompany you during most of the journey, crafting items and giving exposition.
- Noodle Incident: Many. The events surrounding the game are left just vague enough that we can't really get a firm grasp on what's happening.
- No one is actually sure about what actually happened during the First Visitation. Though a few characters were alive at the time, or heard of the visitation from older relatives, many facts lay muddled or confused and are only heard in background dialogue.
- The incident which resulted in the institution of the train blocker system is never clarified.
- Nuke 'em: Once you arrive in New Costfield, your cargo turns out to be a nuclear bomb, and it's detonated by the remaining railway workers right after you leave the town.
- The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Apparently in charge, after the events of the First Visitation.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Part, but not the whole, of the Visitations are building-sized capsules falling out of the sky, though nobody can quite explain where they come from. They unleash a black chemical as a gas and liquid, and exposure mutates people, turning them into black goo-covered creatures that are mindless and highly aggressive against regular humans. Large swathes of the population are turned, and only those who can find shelter from the gas and fend off the roving mobs are safe. People haven't given these creatures a name, but they are discussed. It's not clear if the devs were trying to invoke a flavor of zombies, but given their nature and the tropes they fill, zombies are best mold they fit into.
- Also, the effects of the black gas can be nullified or delayed with the radiation given off by the engine of your train. When the protagonist's train breaks down, he starts to turn after being exposed to a gas capsule.
- Furthermore, a mere handful of people react differently, being made highly intelligent and possibly gaining access to bodies of knowledge they should be ignorant of; these people are known as the "Reborn". What's more, this might be the intended purpose of the gas, but most people turn into monsters instead. The game heavily implies that it was meant to elevate a small number of highly intelligent and talented individuals at the cost of many, many more human lives.
- Resources Management Gameplay: Food, medicine, and ammunition are scarce in a dying world. In order to keep both you and your train-mates alive, you have to manage your inventory carefully.
- Food can be scavenged at train stops or purchased from merchants but is rare to find. They are consumed exclusively and often by survivors on your train.
- Bullets come in two versions: shotgun shells and pistol/rifle rounds. Both can be scavenged for, bought, or crafted in the train.
- Medical kits can be found throughout the world, bought, or crafted in the train. You can use them to heal yourself at any time or keep bleeding train-mates alive.
- Various raw materials can be scavenged at stops to build medkits and bullets in the train.
- And finally, you have money you receive from scavenging, selling items, or successfully transporting passengers alive to their destinations.
- Shoot the Dog: You get killed right before you reunite with your daughter.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: The shotgun is by far the most powerful of the three weapons in the game, capable of one-shotting clusters of zombies with each shot. It also does more damage in melee than the pistol, as well. Ammunition for it however, is harder to find and craft.
- Tanks for Nothing: On your way to New Costfield, you will come across dozens of utterly annihilated tanks with no dead infected in sight.
- White Eyes, Take Warning: Every single person with white eyes is infected by the gas from alien capsules. And whether it's mindless zombies or the Reborn, they are always bad news.
- Unorthodox Reload: Averted. The above-mentioned All-or-Nothing Reloads notwithstanding, reloading is relatively realistic. Empty shell casings fly out of your gun and hit the floor, and the shotgun is reloaded with a fully-animated break action.