Sometimes you just need a minute to relax. Though mechanically a puzzle game, Station to Station‘s scenic pixel art and light-touch goals offer players a gentle space to decompress. Its objective, to connect resources and towns via train, aren’t designed to strain your strategic thinking skills — unless you want it to. I got a chance to check out the new custom game mode which really shows off this have-it-your-way gameplay.
Atop a blocky cliff, voxel horses graze and look over a low valley. The presenter has chosen to set the first game in his custom game mode in a craggy landscape. Beside biome type, players will be able to decide the level’s size, industry type, difficulty, and even if they want to deal with money or not. After entering in all the perimeters, the procedurally generated countryside unfolds in ever-changing ways.
My role-playing brain loves the idea of inventing histories for these places in my head and my penchant for stress-free games glows at the idea of watching the wildlife roam as I transform the land. While this preview is a hands-off affair, I previously dove into the game’s demo and connecting rails works smoothly, facillitating a meditative mood.
One of my favorite moments of the presentation comes as the development team shares their love of the subject, talking about playing with trains with their kids and the painstaking detail they’ve put into recreating real, historical locomotives.
Entering into the last few months of the year — gaming’s busy season — the pull of a homey passion project is hard to resist. Station to Station releases October 3, and I hear tell of post-launch updates soon after. I hope to see some fall-appropriate things to play around with, but I’m all aboard this ride either way.