The Station Review

The Station Review [PS4] – A Simple And Surprising Space Adventure

Exploring the depths of space is an adventure all on its own, so developers really need to dig deep when adding to the flare that is galactic gaming. The Station (not this one!) is a short but sweet tale that follows the relentless curiosities our species seems to have on the vast void of stars, undiscovered planets and distant galaxies.

With attentive puzzle solving and as about as gripping as any story can get in the span of an hour or so, the indie team behind the first-person space station explorer has created an impressively stout adventure that underlines the mysteries of space.

You’re sent to investigate a three-man team of scientists who have gone missing during a top-secret space mission involving interplanetary studies. Upon discovering another race of sentient beings, the team is determined to study the unknown planet caught in a civil war.

Rather than getting directly involved in the unknown alien species’ conflict, the team thought it vital to observe from a distance as the war rages on. That is until the crew turns up silent over the transmitters which is precisely where you come in, a space station recon specialist.

The Station Review
Welcome to The Station – a hidden space station created to study the nearby alien planet caught in the middle of a civil war.

Discover The Truth Behind The Warring Alien Planet

The Station takes players throughout a story that’s told through audio logs recently left behind from the crew, as well as a series of tasks and objectives that will ever so gradually push you towards the truth behind the foreign species.

In its short amount of completion time, however, players will find themselves amidst an intriguing plot line that is never as straightforward as it seems. While collecting pieces of dialogue content like emails and messages, informative audio logs and crucial pieces of equipment, you will continue to progress further into the station uncovering its many secrets.

The game is an honest balance of healthy discourse and thought-inducing puzzle-solving. Tasks lists frequently pop up to remind players of what they should be working on, but most everything else is left to the imagination of the player.

Repairing a maintenance robot by finding and replacing its components, or unlocking the team’s personal lockers by tracing their specific password, are just a few of the random tasks that will allow you to travel further into the station. The simple objective lists may seem easy enough at first, but nothing is ever as it seems when dealing with a failing space station.

The Station Review
Throughout your missions, you will find objective and task lists that help you explore further into the station.

Throughout your linear quest into the lonely space station, the overall mission never changes once. While the length of the game depends entirely on your ability to solve the tedious puzzles of fixing up everything around you or breaking into personal rooms/storage devices, players shouldn’t expect much out of the brisk space adventure.

The story leaves many interesting perspectives on the table with a truly exhilarating ending, but after one time through, nothing else changes and players can easily blast through in less time than an episode of Star Trek.

The Station Review
Uncover truths about the station through recent messages and audio logs left by the three-man team of scientists.

Worth The Trip?

All in all, The Station – as minimal as it is – serves its purpose as a mysterious and involved sci-fi puzzle adventure. The characters thrown into the plotline are interesting enough to keep players intrigued across their short journey, while the puzzles fit nicely into the setting of the lonely and seemingly abandoned space station.

With no outside threats or method of combat, players of all skill ranges can sit back and enjoy the curious and subtle thrills of solving the many mysteries of The Station.

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Super Hydorah

Super Hydorah Review [PS4 Pro] – A Nostalgic Blast

Hydorah took players back to the 80s shoot em’ up era as a throwback to side-scrolling space shooters everywhere. Re-released and revamped for Sony platforms, Super Hydorah returns to the bullet-riddled skies with the same intense shooting mayhem and unique ship customizing options. Glide your way through surreal space environments, and strap in for a completely unforgiving, quick-manoeuvring ride in the latest release from indie developer, Locomalito.

If you’ve played the classic horizontal scroller, Gradius, Super Hydorah will look almost identical as a spin-off of the beloved NES title. Presented in new-aged pixellated form, this shoot em’ up adds a few of its own quirks to the mix of high-energy space battles. As you make your way through each level, more and more enemies hurl themselves at you in never-before-seen ways. Tons of exciting surprises literally leap out in front of the player, and if not careful, will crudely end your current run.

Super Hydorah
Take to the skies and glide through space fending off enemy spacecraft.
Super Hydorah: Engaging the enemies

The game plays smooth as can be, giving players a tightly wound experience where one mistake could ruin their mission. The levels are broken up into segments, usually ending in some sort of mega enemy encounter, or boss fight. Gliding through the space levels firing away at your cannon, players are able to collect specific power-ups to increase their abilities in flight or combat. Special enemy ships drop rare points when defeated, resulting in either a speed upgrade, protective shield adding an extra hit of damage to be absorbed, or a unique special power. Players can also find extra lives, as well as green and red booster points.

As enemies are blasted out of the engaging skies, more common opponent ships will drop booster points which add to the effect of your primary and secondary weapons. Racking up the green points will improve your primary weapon, while the red boost up the secondary. Fill them both up and enjoy a flurry of charged weaponry, giving players a huge step forward in combat.

Super Hydorah
Many boss encounters are scattered throughout the diverse selection of levels across deep space.
Advanced Weaponry

Initially, players will have to use the standard laser cannon as their primary, and the semi-useful bomb dropping tactic as the secondary fire. Firing away with the single fire button, both weapons unleash their fury upon the clutter of enemies. While the combo of these two starting weapons is useful in getting players out of a pinch early on, the many different weapons available later in the game provide some serious weaponry to your star gliding ship.

By making it to the end of each level, conquering the final boss, which is usually done in a matter of dodging sequences and continuous firepower, players are awarded with a new weapon to add to the growing customization list. Before each level, players are presented with the ship customizing screen, which provides them with the chance to strategically pick from the selection of primary, secondary and special weapon slots. Pairing up the perfect combination of weaponry could be the only thing standing between you and utterly painful defeat.

Super Hydorah
The screen will quickly fill up with enemy ships, bullet fire and powerful icons to help upgrade your ship.

As you make your way through the galaxy filled with dangerous foes and enemies, the game begins to grow increasingly difficult. As more weapons unlock players will begin to understand the strategy of picking the perfect arsenal for each level. Of course, the weapons you select will only help with your offence, dodging and thinking quickly is the main skill to keep you alive.

Co-op Anyone?

The campaign mode takes players across a split path and has players choosing which level to conquer first. While the story mode alone is enough to satisfy most horizontal shooter fans, there’s also the co-op feature in that helps add a little more depth to Super Hydorah. The primary focus of co-op is heading through the story campaign, only now with the help of a friend. This is the basic cooperative gameplay that friends could spend hours on digging each other out of overwhelming holes.

However, this is not the only method of co-op/multiplayer modes. Robot Chasers is an original multiplayer game which has 2 player controlled astronauts tethered by a rainbow cord. Coming in from all angles, invading robots float past and it’s up to the duo to stretch their tether in front of the robots and wipe them out clean. The catch is, the tether only expands so far before it’s disengaged. This can be worked around by slaying robots and collecting the rainbow points to help extend the reach of the deadly tether.

Super Hydorah
Robot Chasers is an interesting two-player co-op mode using the lethal tether.

Super Hydorah is a great way to catch that nostalgic presence of horizontal shoot em’ ups, without having to plug-in the retro hardware. With a decent sampling of weaponry and deadly special skills, the quick-reacting gameplay of this space shooter will likely torment more than a few souls.

Antiquia Lost Review – A familiar fantasy RPG [PS4]

Antiquia Lost shows off its deep roots from the early years of the Final Fantasy saga, but deep down the game sits quietly with a mold of its own identity. Powerful and heroic characters mixed with emotionally charming plot lines and dialogue, Antiquia Lost brings a surprise nostalgic experience to the broad circle of traditional RPG titles.

Deep Roots

Starting the game in the small town of Crysta Village, you take control of Bine – a red-haired demon hunter engaged in the beginnings of a warm and exciting adventure. With the help of his mysterious power and newly acquired friends, you’ll dive deep into the fantasy world full of intriguing towns and villages, dungeons, as well as plenty of turn-based battles along the way.

Antiquia Lost Review
Bine and his cast of powerful allies are full of interesting and eventful dialogue moments in the charming story.

Lunaria and Safira hail from the goo-like people of the Ruta tribe, Jade – an elder of the cat-like species from the Eeth tribe and the protagonist Bine is home to the Fai tribe. Each represents one of the three elements being Earth, Fire and Water. The peaceful tribe lives in harmony with one another in the vibrant world of Antiquia Lost, until important figures from all over the lands begin to disappear. Venturing to the Capital City with your trusted group of friends, you’ll begin to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances that are taking place.

The battle system is set up in a traditional turn-based RPG format, only now with a few enhancements and quirks that help keep the game original. Each character in your party is capable of common physical attacks with whatever weapon is equipped, and of course various magic spells ranging from fire attacks, healing water abilities to ancient powers and the unique Brave Arts ability. Random enemy encounters occur throughout the sprawling world map, rewarding the player with experience points, useful items and equipment and tasty gems which act as Lunaria’s special method of leveling up.

Antiquia Lost Review
Many different physical and magical abilities are crucial in defeating the monsters found throughout the world.

New or Robust?

The storyline in Antiquia Lost doesn’t offer anything new or robust coming out of the stale isometric RPG genre, but creates a wonderful cast of friends and dialogue to keep fans of cheesy narrative lines and fantasy tales playing throughout the campaign. Talking with your party members during down time in between quests will give you the opportunity to either boost your status with each individual – or lose trust – based on the response you choose in dialogue selection areas. Paying attention to each ally’s personality will give subtle hints as to which direction to take the conversations.

Traveling from town-to-town, each small village has a number of villagers, some with additional side quests to add to the playability. Traversing back through previous areas in search of a lost item, piece of equipment or even a stray sheep, more often will result in ending these side quests with a powerful demon fight to cap off your short journey. Once you’ve fully explored the current village or dungeon to your desire, the option to move along with the story remains in your trusty quest log for quick ease of use.

As your party members battle their way through waves of enemies, gaining vital experience and gems to help build the power of their abilities and other attributes, enemy encounters become increasingly more difficult, featuring various forms of every monsters. Color-coded by specific strengths and weaknesses, some monsters require unique weapons to be defeated, while others just require more persistence and strength.

Antiquia Lost Review
Boss battles require careful strategy and powerful skills to defeat the monstrous enemies.

Antiquia Lost Review

Using your attacks and defenses to your advantage is crucial, such as strategically using multiple-hit skills to strike down every enemy in specific rows and columns. These techniques prove useful against large mobs of enemies that out-number your party.

A large variety of supporting items are also present, curing status ailments, healing items and various fruits to help boost important stats in your characters. These fruits can be grown in potted soil kept in your inventory. After obtaining seeds labeled for specific skills – i.e. strength, vitality, speed, attack , defense etc. – as well as other rare items, you’ll plant them in one of the desired planting pots located in the inventory menu. After the timer ticks down, the fruits are ready to be harvested and saved for a time in need to help sway the tide of battle in your favor.

You can find Antiquia Lost available now on the PS4/Vita on the PS Store, mobile devices on the App Store and Google Play, and Steam.