Trains are fun, aren’t they? Well, when they’re not late, busy and there are no seats, super expensive, hot, annoyingly loud, ultimately stressful and basically the worst way to travel around this country. I mean, that could just be the United Kingdom but the magic of train travel seems to be somewhat tainted when you live in this rubbish country.
But I digress..
What this does mean is when you enter a different world that has the most beautiful of choo choos you begin to understand that flying to Austria to take a trip on the Orient Express would be so bad after all? Station to Station celebrates the most basic of ideas, connecting freight trains from one necessary mechanic to another across a variety of absolutely stunning voxel visual maps. That’s about it really. And well, it’s wonderful.
Evolving into different stages, Station to Station offers biomes to connect your trains together through a series of important production buildings that all work together to complete a level and bring it to life.You only have a certain amount of money to use on each level to complete the full connections. Levels with more complicated biomes (such as hills and raised platforms). When each level is complete it’s worth taking a second to zoom in and out of the level and explore it with the camera. Each level is beautifully rendered once complete, not only building trains, production buildings, flowers, livestock, pure colour into the real world that is always absolutely divine to look at.
Each produce point has a place of connection for the trainline that you have to successfully connect to complete each level and move onto the following biome.
Of course, you can’t just connect everything to anything and be on your way. Say you begin with a cheesery, and it needs to be connected to a dairy on either end of the map. They need to be connected via a mill and a grain farm which all pop up in the middle. Connecting all the routes until the supply chain is achieved. The aforementioned ‘to life’ effect is what you’re after though, and creating life biomes is truly a rewarding feeling and each corner of the map comes to life once it’s perfectly connected. It’s so rewarding watching the world come to life and it never gets old.
The ‘game’ comes from completing your sub-stage and earning new buildings that then have to be added to your already complete network. It becomes a little tricky as you can’t move a track once it’s connected, so you need to always be a few steps ahead of yourself to ensure you’re leaving enough space for additional train lines and produce buildings. Of course, you only have a certain amount of money to play with and laying your tracks over hills occurs additional costs which hit pretty hard so you’re either lying down really long stretches of track which costs very little or you’re going to have to take up an expensive bridge and take the hit.
You soon realise that the early levels where you’re laying down tracks of without a care in the world. Suddenly the difficulty really spikes and you’re going to be looking at the level for hours trying to work it all out. And yet, it never feels stressful or difficult, and you can restart whenever you wish – it just depends if you have the patience to do so. If you can complete supply chains with a single track you’ll find the additional building placement a lot easier.
If you’re really struggling though fear not, Station to Station allows you to play cards at each stage including a freight train which, if used correctly can double your yield. Soon you’ll be drowning in dollar. Play another card and the bridges become cheaper. It’s a huge benefit
It’s a tricky puzzler then wrapped up in gorgeous voxel wonderment, and the addiction comes from knowing that you can do it, you just have to work it out and the cycle goes. Station to Station is a cathartic experience unlike anything else that rewards you with some serious beauty if you’re ready for the later challenges. It’s an absolutely beautiful world wrapped up in a lovely puzzle game that’s easy to pick up, difficult to master. That old chestnut, but the engine keeps running purely because it’s just so endearing.
Station to Station is a beautiful voxel experience wrapped up in simple to pick up, difficult to master puzzler that’ll keep your engine chugging along until the end. It’s a short but special game that deserves an audience, the endearment of its central mechanic is well worth the ticket price.
Station to Station is available now on Steam (reviewed)
Developer: Galaxy Grove
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy from the publisher.