Station to Station – Review
Follow Genre: Simulator game, puzzle game
Developer: Galaxy Grove
Publisher: Prismatika
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Station to Station – Review

Site Score
Good: Simple yet addictive gameplay
Bad: Doesn't have a narrative
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(0 votes)
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Up until recently, if you asked us for our opinion about Station to Station, we’d tell you that it was a rather underrated entry in David Bowie’s oeuvre, but these days you’d need to clarify whether you’re talking about the title track of a musical album or developer Galaxy Grove’s latest game. In both cases, we’d be singing praises, although we assume it’s a coincidence that the game shares its title with the tenth album of the Thin White Duke. Paper-thin segway aside, let’s get back on track with our review. What makes Station to Station –the game- so good? Read on to find out.


One thing we did feel was sorely missing in Station to Station was a narrative. The game oozes charm and atmosphere already, and a simple story could have really tied everything together. Unfortunately, this isn’t present here, although the game makes more than up for this in pretty much every other aspect.


From the get-go, Station to Station impresses with gorgeous voxel art visuals, supported by beautiful lighting that elevates the overall atmosphere of the game to the next level. Every single level is filled to the brim with cute details that bring them to life, from the different kinds of wildlife all the way to the cities that are brimming with human activity. A simple but fantastic effect adds more splashes of color as you expand your railroad network, although the game already looks fantastic in its “basic” mode. The game resembles a miniature railway built up using LEGO bricks, bathing in the golden glow of a late summer sun. While Station to Station doesn’t necessarily push any graphical boundaries, it makes the most of its minimalist art style. Finally, although the game is filled with ample details, performance doesn’t suffer either, and the game runs as smooth as butter.


While you won’t be hearing the aforementioned Bowie song in Station to Station, the game’s soundtrack fits the cozy atmosphere that the graphics radiate to a tee. Likewise, the sound effects, both ambient and directly caused by the player, help with bringing the world to life. The only real downside is the absence of voice acting, although this is tied to the lack of narrative.


Sitting at the midway point between a full-fledged train simulator and a puzzle game, Station to Station occupies a gameplay niche that is as interesting as it is enjoyable. The premise is deceptively simple: all you need to do is lay a railway track to connect various buildings to one another. Once you meet the criteria set by that specific level, you win. There is much more to it than simply drawing lines, of course, with elements like resource management complicating things. Additionally, earnable one-time-use action cards provide special bonuses that will aid you in clearing a level, but knowing when to use a card over the course of a campaign adds another layer of strategy as using them early on may mean that you’ll be facing unexpected difficulties in later levels. Overall, the game feels much closer to games like Railbound or Overcrowd than it does to Train Life or Railway Empire. That’s not to say that Station to Station doesn’t have any depth to it, far from it in fact. This is just your customary warning to set your expectations accordingly, as the game’s initial impression doesn’t feel particularly accurate compared to what you’ll spend the majority of your time doing.

The game’s central campaign comprises six different settings, ranging from the blistering heat of a Sahara-like desert to the cowboy towns of the Wild West. Each of these offers five or six interconnected levels, and the various elements of each environment will require different solutions to overcome them. Forests, for example, might require you to hire lumberjacks to clear a path for your budding railway or force you to avoid destroying the natural resources around you, whereas cliffs require bridges to overcome the height differences. The clever level designs are the clear highlight here, with clear goals that make sense both from a gameplay perspective and within the in-game world logic. Different buildings require specific resources in order to produce more specialized materials, which are then used in another layer of industrialization. To put it in clearer terms: if you want to supply your city with tools, for example, you’ll need to provide iron ore and coal to your steel mill, then connect your steel mill to your factory, and then finally connect the factory to your city.

With the campaign clocking in at roughly six hours, you’d be remiss to assume that Station to Station doesn’t have a whole lot of content to offer. There are star ratings for each level, with more efficient connections offering money bonuses that help out massively in later levels, as well as simple bonus objectives like finding a number of camels hiding out on a desert map. This approach works wonders for replayability, as getting the top star rating in each level definitely incentivizes you to return to earlier levels, and there are periodical updates planned to add more content to the game as well. However, Station to Station’s longevity is mainly found in its Custom Game mode. Here, you’re able to create levels of your own, including fully randomized ones, giving you a nearly endlessly replayable version of the simple-yet-satisfying puzzle gameplay. The only thing we would have wanted here was a way to share custom levels with the online community, but even then there is plenty here to keep you occupied for quite some time. While Station to Station doesn’t necessarily force punishing difficulty upon you, unless you choose this yourself in Custom Mode, there is something to be said about the cozy and relaxing atmosphere. There are only two ways to really ‘fail’ at the game, being either that you run out of space or money -and the latter can be disabled too. It all adds up to a game that is less about the challenge and more about a relaxing experience playing with tiny trains. Sometimes that’s all you need.


If it wasn’t clear by now, there is a lot to like about Station to Station. The audiovisual presentation is absolutely delightful and the highly accessible gameplay is enjoyable and addictive. The bonus objectives and star rating system add just the right amount of challenge to keep things engaging without becoming frustrating. We would have loved to have seen a story implemented as well as a way to share custom stages online, but even without these, Station to Station is a fantastic little game.

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