There's something oddly reassuring about the enduring love we have for trains and the games that let us guide them through the world. Even in 2023, the romantic attachment persists. For as long as I've been playing games, trains have been a constant, from casual puzzlers to dense management sims. And now there's another one that's piqued my interest. Station to Station has a bit of the latter, but is more of a relaxing, minimalist romp—a light-weight puzzler with a few sim elements and lots of style.
Announced this week, Station to Station is coming to Steam this year, but in the meantime you can check out the charming trailer above. Rail bosses will be tasked with plonking down a rail network across a variety of biomes, and you won't have to feel bad about destroying the natural beauty of these areas, because in Station to Station these transport links actually influence the growth of flora and fauna, fostering nature wherever they are placed.
Biomes will apparently come with their own unique mechanics, though they haven't been detailed yet. If you want a bit more of a challenge from this casual sim, you can also expect optional objectives, stack bonuses and the chance to chase high scores. The real appeal for me, though, is the voxel art and tilt-shift camera, which contribute to a striking aesthetic. The whole thing just looks like a lovely toy railroad. I'm very keen to shrink myself down and take a break in this quaint little town.
In motion it's both serene and quite lively, with plenty of critters hanging out next to the tracks. Let's just hope they don't cause any accidents. It's all very warm and inviting: cosy, in a word. Which makes it rather well positioned, as cosiness very much seems to be the in thing right now, just like wholesome games were not that long ago. Is there much of a difference between a cosy game and a wholesome game? Are we really just victims of savvy rebranding? Stop asking questions and look at this camel.