Review: Verde Station

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The hard part of reviewing a game like Verde Station is explaining why it’s so good without spoiling any of the things that make it good. It’s one of those games like Eversion or Doki Doki Literature Club where all the magic is in discovery and perception, and the more you know about it going in, the less effective it’ll be. Don’t worry, it’s not wholly dependent on its twists to do what it does, but I wouldn’t want to rob anyone of their full impact the first time through the game. And it’s one you’ll probably want to revisit anyway, perhaps to see what other possibilities the station holds, or perhaps to really dig into the fantastic, thought-provoking story.

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You have been selected for a special year-long mission on Verde Station, a special research station designed to test the limits of both terrestrial plant life and the human psyche in space. The heart of the station is a greenhouse, filled with plants of all shapes and sizes which you will be responsible for. Beyond that you have your quarters, a lounge, a kitchen, and storage for your supplies. It’s not a big place but that’s part of the challenge, making do with the confines of the place as you carry out your long, interminable mission. Fortunately most everything on the station is automated… just don’t think too hard about what happens if those processes fail.

In addition to all the items and features of the station you can pick up and fiddle with, each chamber has a computer console to interact with. The interface here is a delightfully retro command line thing where you enter numbers for menu selections and full file names to run programs. There’s a lot to poke at on the station, and that will only become more important as your situation changes. You’ll find curious logs that don’t seem to line up with the experiences you’re having, and far more dramatic encounters that indicate just how wrong things have gone on the station.

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That’s really all I can say about the game without stepping on its dramatic toes. Verde Station does some absolutely brilliant things with perceptions and expectations that I wish I could tell you about, but experiencing them for yourself makes for such gratifying moments. The graphics and gameplay are just good enough to support this, and while the sound design is effective, it’s the writing that really makes this feel like such a sinister, mysterious journey. You’re going to have to trust me that Verde Station is an excellent psychological adventure, filled with horrific twists and realizations, and something that any fan of dramatic storytelling in games needs to see.

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