Freeware Garden: The Midnight Station

The mythical tax return; it never really existed.

I hadn’t really noticed this until now, but the ZX Spectrum had the ability to make everything look a bit spooky. I’m convinced that this colour-clash was the initial inspiration for the whole glitch movement, though you’d be better off ignoring me and just downloading The Midnight Station. You’ll see what I mean.

The Midnight Station, a post-Speccy Jam offering sporting a distinctively ’80s palette, is a weird game both in the way it looks and the way it plays. It’s an interdimensional action-RPG with horror elements, in which you play as a sentient mask forged from humankind’s collective soul following the obligatory and probably unavoidable apocalypse.

Toilets, on the other hand, still do.

From what little I’ve understood by reading the manual and talking to Kugla (an in-game brain in a jar) The Midnight Station has you trapped by The Architect in The Architecture; a place of pure surrealism and deadly bureaucracy that needs to be escaped. It’s a lore-heavy purgatory of failed species that comes complete with its own souvenir shop, murderous books and spinning nurses.

To be perfectly frank, The Architecture will only start making sense after you’ve put a couple of hours into the game. Only then will you be confidently navigating Tax Returns, managing your inventory in a way that’s almost rational and starting to understand what’s really going on. Interestingly, the fact that each and every piece of equipment you grab comes with its very own flavour text will help you sort things out.

Granted, equipping Chaos Theory can be quite confusing, but you can always discuss both it and Abstractrion with the Everman. Just make sure to regularly save by confessing your sins in the Bathroom facility and you’ll have a brilliantly odd time.

5 Comments

  1. Monggerel says:

    Seems straightforward enough

  2. StranaMente says:

    I love Freeware Garden. Even, or especially, when the games are outside my comfort zone the presentation pushes my towards trying them. Great work!

    • Konstantinos Dimopoulos says:

      Why, thank you very much. I must admit I quite love writing FW for the same reason actually ;)

      • Strangeblades says:

        Yup yup. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again – keep this up. I appreciated the previous columnist’s work of sifting through a bajillion of these games to find ones that clicked. I appreciate your work in sifting. Snifting? Snifting out click-lick games? Whoa. Where am I going with this? Gotta hit that vodka.

        Cheers

  3. Zallgrin says:

    I really liked the writing in the game, but I suck at the combat =/ Had the same problem with Binding of Isaac, which I dropped for the same reason. A shame, I would have love to experience more of the story.