Narrative driven games are quite the respite from action packed or psychological thrillers. Allowing the player to watch a story unfold in front of their eyes as it weaves its tale. Last Stop by Variable State sure tells an interesting and deviant story, that leaves you wondering ‘what if’ and even ‘Is that possible’? 

The game kicks off with two teens wreaking havoc with a bobby, stealing his hat and escaping through the mangled tunnels of the London Underground. You’re put right into the middle of it, making decisions almost immediately and helping the teens get away. As they make it to a dead end with the cops on their tail, they are met with a balding stranger in a nice three-piece suit standing in front of their only exit.  

A few words are exchanged before opening the door and a blinding green light pulsates through the hallway. One teen stays put…and the other goes. The scene quickly ends, and then you are faced with a tough decision to kick off. 

You get the chance from then on to pick a story out of three. You can play as John or Jack for the story of “Paper Dolls”. Meena, an agent for an intelligence firm who doesn’t do right by her family and is kind of the worst for the story of “Domestic Affairs”. Or you can play as Donna, a teen in school who is living with her mother, sister, and sister’s fiancé and is having a bit of a rebellious stage for the story of “Stranger Danger”. 

kitaria fables

Source: press kit

As you play you learn how each character’s lives are strangely entangled in important and miniscule ways, which became a lot of fun to learn and spot. What exactly in common does the four characters have with the doctor that is having an affair with Meena? Why does Donna know Meenas husband? Every decision you make is important to the plot and can either mean life or death for certain people in each story. If you’re an achievement hunter, it’s a very good game for that as well, without looking anything up I racked up about 75% on my first play through. To make achievement hunting easier, once the game is completed you can return to any chapter within the three stories to hunt down the ones you didn’t get the first time if necessary.  

The twists and turns in this game keep you guessing and, in a few instances, had me shaken by what I had played. Devastated for the characters and quickly growing attached, it’s hard to make some choices knowing that you may not get to see your favorite again, but morally should chose the path that could lose them. Also, sometimes making decisions that stay true to the characters can reward you with a more exciting play through, while still losing some respect for the character in the long run. 

There isn’t a lot of controlling needed to be done in this game, but just enough to keep you interested as the mysteries start to unravel. You can control the walking direction when necessary and select dialogue options when prompted, usually on a timer of five to ten seconds with three to four choices .  There are a few parts where you must look in certain parts of the screen to analyze your surroundings and or interacting with a few items, but this happens in about three to four chapters, so it isn’t very big for the game. Still. The controls are smooth and easy to understand. 

While there isn’t a lot to talk about in gameplay, I did have an issue when the camera switched positions while the character was walking, moving the joystick at all would cause the character to pause for a second before redirecting. This isn’t really a deal breaker but did interrupt the gameplay a few times to distract from the smooth experience.  

kitaria fables

Source: press kit

Even with the gameplay being minimal, the art style of this game is very relaxing and engaging. Making it feel as if you’re watching your favorite animated TV show, the entire time while you’re making the decisions for these characters. The color schemes are intricate and detailed as well as the few outfit choices you get to make for each character. 

 Everything fits very well into the genre of the game and makes it believable. Later in the game, think the last chapter, the developers really pull out all the stops with the artwork and scenery. I don’t want to give too much away but personally the final chapter is amazingly well written and designed while wrapping up the game very nicely, depending on the choices you make, of course. 

When it comes to mystery games, I feel like a lot of surprises an be predicted. Last Stop however, is not one of those. Every single plot twist in the writing had me impressed with how well it was done. The dialogue stays true to each personality the characters have, even the slow progression of character development is portrayed smoothly. When it came to the character voices, they all fit how the characters looked and acted. Cocky and smart, caring and timid, ballsy and annoying, and that is just to name a few traits that were portrayed with excellent acting.  

kitaria fables

Source: Press Kit

The music was fitting for every situation we led the characters into, beautifully built up and suspenseful, mysterious chimes when it was necessary. It never seemed to ruin a moment or overpower the other elements during my play through. The developers took their time to get this all just right and it shows.  

Narrative driven games aren’t always a crowd pleaser, and while I am not usually impressed with this style of game, I found myself on the edge of my seat by the time the startling developments had their way with me. As the credits rolled, I wondered if I should just play it again, because honestly, I just wanted more. I truly think if you are looking for a game to play just to expand your reach in gaming, Last Stop would be a great choice. I’m giving this well written game a 76. 

 

Price: $24.99 

Developer: Variable State 

Publisher: Annapurna Interactive 

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, PC. 

 

Score

Caitlin

Caitlin Rutz

Video Team

white twitter icon
white instagram icon
white facebook icon
white youtube icon
white twitch icon
white tiktok icon
white discord icon
white reddit logo
white linkedin icon
white snapchat icon
white twitter icon
white instagram icon
white facebook icon
white youtube icon
white twitch icon
white tiktok icon
white linkedin icon
white discord icon
white reddit logo
white snapchat icon