STATIONflow is a game for people who get enormous satisfaction from shaving 1 minute off their daily commute. It is an exercise in the pursuit of raw, undiluted efficiency. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, then this may be the game for you. We have been following STATIONflow‘s development for quite some time and were delighted to get our grubby paws on it for review.
Gameplay in STATIONflow – Complexity in Motion
The goal of STATIONflow is deceptively simple. In order to succeed, you must connect station entrances – you start with 5 – to each other, and to the rail platforms. Passengers enter your station either via the entrances or the trains and must make their way to their destination. Simple, right? And simple it is. However, STATIONflow’s simplicity is deceptive. As the game progresses, you must juggle more requirements. While a few corridors and a set of stairs will do initially, soon there will be more entrances, more platforms, and passengers with particular needs. Eventually, you’ll resurface to find you’ve crafted an intricate maze of corridors, elevators, escalators and stairs. Each passenger, having arrived at your station, has a destination. It is your job to ferry them via the use of strategically placed signposts. There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing someone arrive and smoothly follow signs through your station.
Over time, the needs of your passengers become more complex, requiring amenities, buildings, and special modes of transport. Consequently, you’ll need to strategise your building. The core gameplay loop of STATIONflow is solid – my main critique is the lack of challenge. It is difficult to “lose”, and the novelty that each new challenge provides is short-lived. Additionally, there are a few minor bugs – invisible walls, passengers not seeing signs etc. These bugs are by no means game-breaking, however, and are usually resolved by deleting and rebuilding. Also, elevators only connect 2 floors – again, not the end of the world, but it’s something that feels a little unrealistic.
STATIONflow‘s art style is minimal, almost stark. There is nothing in the UI that doesn’t have to be there, and the colours are bright and distinct from one another so it is easy to find objects and structures in an increasingly complicated map. The soundtrack is compelling and modern, with a strong beat and industrial feel. It is wonderful for getting you into the flow of building. Overall, the design elements cooperate to make you feel immersed in a tide of data. That said, it is all beautifully done, in a sleek and fashionable package.
Ultimately, if you enjoy challenges of increasing complexity, “easy to learn, hard to master” systems, and finding perfect balance among the chaos, STATIONflow is the game for you. It is hours of fun with a very reasonable price tag. It is also extremely replayable, with a full level designer and integration with the Steam workshop for endless maps and challenges.
I don’t know about you… But I’ve got a metro to build!