Explore an abandoned space station in this retro-themed explorative action platformer.
User reviews:
Very Positive (274 reviews) - 93% of the 274 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 22, 2015

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September 27

Environmental Station Alpha in the Humble Clickteam Fusion Bundle!

Environmental Station Alpha is featured right now in the Humble Clickteam Fusion Bundle along with several really cool games made with Clickteam programs. Go check the bundle out: https://www.humblebundle.com/clickteam-fusion-bundle

1 comments Read more

September 5

Small update!

Fixed a long-time issue where sequence breaking at a certain point could cause the player to get permanently stuck on the derelict ship!

3 comments Read more

About This Game

Environmental Station Alpha is an action adventure platformer with a retro aesthetic and heavy emphasis on exploration. In the game the player controls a robot sent to investigate a mysterious, abandoned space station with the mission to find out what exactly took place there. Overrun by wildlife the station is immensely dangerous to explore, and on top of that earthquakes have made navigating the various areas very challenging. Over the course of the game the player must uncover secrets, fight loads of bosses and amass powerups in order to really figure out the fate of the space station. The game also features a wonderful ambient soundtrack to immerse the player into the gameplay.

The game's musics were made by Roope 'Noby' Mäkinen ( http://noby.untergrund.net/ )
The SFX were made by Joonas 'Kissa3' Turner ( http://twitter.com/kissakolme ) and Niilo Takalainen

NOTE: The Mac version doesn't have gamepad or Steam Cloud support.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i3 CPU
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 310M
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 30 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Realtek High Definition Audio
    • Additional Notes: May vary from computer to computer
    • OS: OSX Yosemite
    • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 600
    • Storage: 150 MB available space
    • Sound Card: Intel High Definition Audio
    • Additional Notes: No gamepad support for the Mac version
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (274 reviews)
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230 reviews match the filters above ( Very Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
34.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 7
I should have reviewed this earlier. This game is a favorite of mine. It is in the spirit of classic Metroid games, but even beyond my nostalgia, I would have to say I enjoyed Environmental Station Alpha even more. The upgrades make you feel great, the bosses are quite fun to fight. There's also a fair amount of sequence breaking that can spice up a run, or be used tactically when speedrunning.

Beyond that, what really rivets me to a game is an interesting tale of something anomalous. As the game starts, you're sent off to a station to investigate strange signals from a long abandoned space station. The story already seems a bit intriguing, but it goes so much farther. The station contains so much more than meets the eye. This is most certainly a game I would reccomend.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 11
Score: 4/5 Good

At its surface the game is a high-quality retro adventure platformer one green visor away from a Metroid fangame; but Environmental Station Alpha sadly suffers from Too Much ♥♥♥♥ Going On Syndrome, indistinct foreground vs. background tiles, and the delusion that extravagant difficulty is the sole criterion of a good game, which was getting old back when Newgrounds was still relevant.

- Bosses routinely boast two or even three phases, each more impossible and bullet hell-y than the last
- Numerous & agile enemies in unavoidable places
- Lots of ordinary-looking blocks that are actually disappearing blocks
- Standard gameplay themed on ability physics exploits not expressly explained to the player (the hookshot corner-jumps stopped being fun after the 20th time)
- Generally unfair & unintuitive expectations

The game gives the strong implication it was designed by a Super Metroid speedrunner, and even includes an early-game portion expecting the player to run through the volcano biome without any heat-resistant gear (a strategy of EVERY Super Metroid speedrun.)

Casual players heed this warning: You'll lose interest in this game by the third or fourth boss (Serpent 5), if you manage to get that far.

But coolkids & masochists? This asinine game beats out Dark Souls any day.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
105.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
Played it though nearly fully, very difficult to get alternate endings. Programed keyboard macros to get through some tough parts. Amazingly, the old 8-bit metroid's graphics were probably better than this game, but this was just so much more interesting and just as much fun. Look forward to other simmilar releases.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
This game just didn't do it for me, I'll admit I didn't get especially far but the game just felt too clunky and obtuse to be fun, instead of being challenging or exploratory. The game feels deceptively railroady where each time I got a new powerup it still didn't help me got back to past previous areas that seemed now accessible. Combat isn't fun or interesting, your gun sucks, and enemies do not drop health so you have to hope for a health chamber or save.
I wanted to like it, and the hookshot was actually a really fun item, but nothing else in the game was.

Ultimately this is a pretty on the fence review, I don't think it's a terrible game and some might overlook what bugged me so much.
There is a free demo though, so if it's interesting to you try that first probably.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
This game is amazing and very fun it's a metroidvania style game and understandably it's pretty retro in its presentation. the boss fights are also, rather amazingly, not awful. Early fights require quickly realised approaches, then it’s just a case of applying skill… to a point. But we’ll get to that once my opening enthusiasm is spent.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
80 of 88 people (91%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
19.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 27, 2015
This is pretty much your best bet if you're searching for a metriodvania game on Steam as of this review... 9/10

Just a moment of your time, if I may: Steam is filled to BURSTING with absolute garbage! I've been through nearly 5000 games on my recomendations queue, and I've only been barely interested enough in 200 of them to put on my wishlist.

If you're like me, and completely jaded by misleading tags, lack of gameplay in trailers, early access games that have been abandoned, ( A flood of RPGMaker, visual novels, poorly drawn anime dating sim, choose your own destiny, point and click, simulation, "survival horror", etc.) games that you are unable to filter out!!! (seriously steam, why the **** can't I filter this trash out?!)... Then your poor brain deserves this.

**Edit: Dear LORD of ALL that is HOLY and good in the universe, they've added a filter to the recommendations queue!! Thank you Lord Gaben!

The point is, this game is a deep breath of fresh air in an ocean of complete excrement.

+tight controls
+FULL controller support, even allowing you to use the D-pad or the left thumb stick for movement. So I don't understand the "Partial controller support" on the game's features. (And you bet your *** I'm using the XBox One Controller's D-Pad)
+rewarding discoveries
+brilliant and appropriate music
+awesome boss battles
+extended end game content

-there aren't enough talented people making games for Steam

Buy it at FULL price, because it's already being sold short!
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53 of 56 people (95%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
87.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2015
I don't generally recommend things in a public place, because it seems a little pointless, but I hope this helps someone make a decision.

I've played every 2D Metroid, I've dabbled in more recent Castlevanias, I've done a lot of platformers. ESA managed to hold my attention for over 75 hours of exploration, trying somewhat challenging things, and more exploration. This is Hempuli's first commercial release to my knowledge, but he spent about 3 years tinkering with this game and trying to make it better. This is a better-designed metroidvania than Super Metroid was. There's no arbitrarily huge amount of health that you need to recover by grinding off of little enemies spawning out of pipes. You find a save, you get your health back, you fan out in multiple directions and see if you can find anything. The only real negative I can think of when it comes to ESA's exploration is that you don't find some little missile pack buried in each room, stuffed in a wall. You don't get that momentary gratification and pointless increase to the capacity of a weapon you'll never use. Instead, when you find some health or a bonus item, you feel massively more rewarded. That's not for everyone, but it's certainly for me.

I see a lot of complaints about ESA stemming from its difficulty. "This boss has too many phases", "I don't have enough health", "I don't know where to go", all that kind of deal. The boss pacing definitely feels off in a couple of places. Some of the earlier bosses are decidedly more challenging than later ones feel at the time. The reason this doesn't bother me is because each boss actually feels very unique. Each boss has its own mechanics and feels complex in its own way, aside from the first couple of bosses designed to teach you basic mechanics, and the bosses in ESA managed to have more varied and unique design than the entirety of every single 2D Metroid boss. Health is also not an issue in this game. There's an easy mode available directly from the start if you can't progress on normal, and it increases your maximum health, lowers enemy damage, and starts you with more maximum health. ESA also does a great job of directing you to where you need to be if you actually interact with terminals you find after bosses. Similar to Zero Mission, ESA will explain where you need to go through highlighting the target square on your map for you, which continues for quite a long time to allow you to continue progressing and exploring on the way to your destinations. You can also get around the game much faster than it initially seems due to the eventual introduction of a quick travel mechanic, eliminating a lot of pointless backtracking. Save points are generally positioned well and are used to prepare you for a boss so that you have a minimal run to get back to a boss. There are very few exceptions to this.

The amount of optional content in ESA is also very impressive. There are secrets hidden everywhere, optional upgrades you can find, and with the introduction of a recent patch an entirely new area to explore. On top of this, once you've beaten the main game and reached an ending, you may have some questions about things you have found in the past that seem to have had no effect. This is where your postgame starts, and there are plenty of clues about how to progress postgame that can be found simply by continuing to investigate each unfilled square on your map. The secrets of ESA are not like a missile expansion hunt you would experience in a Metroid game. They are targeted and explained if you look carefully. There are only a scarce few entirely self-contained bonus rooms having little to no indication of their existence; almost all the things you want to find have a directing point somewhere. The postgame secrets are handled in an entirely different way than the traditional metroidvania style and require a different mindset to continue delving into each step in the chain of hidden information, which is a wonderful changeup so late into the game.

The soundtrack was also handled very well. Every track fits into the area it belongs in and helps set the mood particularly well. The instrumentation used in ESA's soundtrack really goes well with the style of game and manages to call up memories of old SNES titles while not being some shameless ripoff. There wasn't a single instance where I felt "Oh, this track is obviously inspired by another game". My single complaint with ESA's soundtrack is the lack of variance in boss music. There's one track used for almost every boss in the game, and it became noticeable after a while. I definitely would have appreciated a bit of variance in the boss music, even if it was just one extra track on some bosses. Luckily, this isn't a huge issue, because most bosses are intense enough or go down quick enough once you know their patterns that the music doesn't feel repetitive.

The graphics are the only point where it starts to break down for me a little. For the most part, ESA functions visually, but there were definitely times where I felt that the player character was blending into the background a bit too much. The low-pixel style also impacted how enemies and environments appeared, and more than once I was a bit confused as to what I was looking at until I took a second to inspect it. This isn't a major issue, but I would personally have appreciated more pixel density for ESA so that I could better interpret what was going on in each area. It's easy enough to tell what you're looking at in 95% of the game, but that other 5% is what I wish had more to it. That said, each area in ESA is quite visually distinct and the environments never felt samey or repetitive. Each room, even, is visually memorable, which is pretty impressive.

Hempuli's put a lot of time into making ESA great. Any time a bug has come up, it's been fixed as soon as possible. There's still a persistent issue with some people running the Mac version where the game runs at decreased speed or lags, but from what I understand this might be fixed soon with a change in the Wine/Wineskin wrapper and is a result of a recent Mac OS update. Linux, unfortunately, does not jive with Multimedia Fusion. At the time of this review, your best bet is going to be playing this on Windows or using a dual-boot (which I guess people might have anyway because of Linux?), and the Mac version may be improved pretty soon to have few or no issues. There's one issue in particular where the Mac version will not support a controller natively, but using Joy2Key or any other program you like is a very quick workaround for this, and the keyboard controls function totally fine on their own. As far as the content of the game itself goes, bugs that have been reported to be negative for people have been ironed out pretty quickly, and nothing currently stands out as being broken. This is a game which has been examined and improved upon consistently since its release, and I really can't recommend it enough. Hempuli knocked it out of the park and has done all that was required of him as a dev, plus a free update with an entirely new area and its own secrets. Some people seem put off by ESA because of how it looks and from the apparently intimidating difficulty, but I promise that even a little patience goes a long way. I hope those who pick this up decide to keep at it even if a boss initially feels impossible or exploration feels initially unrewarding, because it is ultimately worth it.
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45 of 50 people (90%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
26.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2015
buy this game if you like:
-really crazy puzzles/riddles

don't buy this game if you don't like:
-getting lost
-cryptic (but solvable) riddles
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39 of 44 people (89%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
32.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 22, 2015
ESA is a game. It is a game about a space station. You as the protagonist is tasked in figuring out what has happened to it and its survivors. And that's about it for the story. Quite honestly, the fact that things are like that is fine for me. Although it does seem a bit same-y in terms of the sci-fi genre, the story is placed well not only with the various logs and computer terminals that are scattered about, but the environment and the atmosphere that each unique area presents.

The gameplay is good, and the item progression solid. It feels similar in pacing to Metroid Fusion, but it doesn't handhold you, nor are there long lengths of dialogue or exposition (okay, maybe it's more similar to Zero Mission). Enemies are distinguishable and have their own behaviours. All the bosses have their own strategies so you can't simply tank damage, and each battle a challenge to defeat. Each upgrade you get feels worthwhile and rewarding.

The sound effects of this game are great. From the various bits and pieces of the station that are still running, the pitter patter of water in the caves, to the heated areas that is the Volcanic Sector--all of it combined with the soundtrack brings its own feel. The soundtrack is closer to the 16-bit era of music instead of the blippy chiptune noises you get from the current nostalgia-hype of 8-bit music, and it's refreshing to hear it.

There's plenty of secrets to be had even if you finish the game. It doesn't pull the move of locking you into a predefined end-game path; the world remains quite open for you to explore. Health upgrades are pretty important items to find as later bosses take more hits to kill and find more ways to damage you, but that's not the only secret hidden on this station. I thought I'd seen everything, but then another one popped up.

It might be a while before I truly can consider myself 100%ing the game, but I can say that this game is great, and I recommend that you buy it. Watch out if you think ESA is going to be easy. It's not.
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26 of 30 people (87%) found this review helpful
17.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 22, 2015
As an avid fan of Metroid, I got wind of this game just today. Yes the release day.

And let me tell you, ESA is a wonderful experience to play!

The simplistic pixelated graphics, the soundtrack, the gameplay.. all of it. What really gets me is ESA really sets the atmosphere very well, just like Super Metroid. Even the Controls are spot on with a 360 controller (even if the D-Pad isnt the best, it still plays very well, so you cant blame the game on movement, you have to blame yourself)

Item collecting is very rewarding, boss battles are tough yet fair, everything so far with 3 hours in feels.. Right. Very right, and well done.

Highly reccomend this title to anyone who loves Metroidvanias, or really good 2D platform adventure games. Honestly will be buying this for friends down the road too for them to experience it.

TL;DR - ESA is a love letter to the Metroid Series, and goes to show that this style of games, are not dead.

PS. I really hope they release the Soundtrack to this game, its very soothing to listen to.
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Recently Posted
18.9 hrs
Posted: October 24
this game learned me very much about space. there is a sand place, a lava place, a regular place, a dangerous place.
if everybody played environmental station alpha, we would all know every place, together.
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20.2 hrs
Posted: October 22
This game is probably one of my favorite Steam purchases, hands down. I played it nonstop until I finally beat it. As an adult, that doesn't happen too often anymore, but this game did it for me.

It's an action platformer– lot's have compared it to metroid, I never played metroid but it does remind me of megaman.
It's a very challenging game, and I think that's why I love it so much. It's hard, but not in a cheap, game-broken way.

The boss fights are no joke. I had to retry many many times before I beat each one. The platforming can get pretty difficult too; I drove myself crazy trying to get through certain segments, but it got easier with time. The game makes you work hard to excel at it, and when you do, it feels awesome.

Also, there're some hidden power ups near the end that turn the whole game into a cakewalk– if you're willing to go through hell and back to get them.

Last note: the soundtrack is amazing. I never got bored listening to it. So many memorable tunes.

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Poofie Love bird
0.7 hrs
Posted: October 16
LIke Metroid 1 if there was ever an intellivesion version.

I am not a fan of low resolution (retro) games, but this one was a lot like metroid. It gave me some mystery, some fun things to shoot, and some good music.

It even has a save, and load system which metroid did not. (They used a keycode system for the the save points, you manually had to key in with the d-pad.)

I must have gotten it in a bundle or something, it was a really pleasent supprise to play it today.
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Additional Thyme!
12.8 hrs
Posted: October 12
Awesome game! Best I've played in a long time. Very well-balanced difficulty as the game progresses. Great music. Nice control. Cool bosses. Can't wait 'til the sequel.
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13.6 hrs
Posted: October 12
Originally I was somewhat annoyed with the game due to the fact that there's really only one way to progress each time you get a new power up or item, and sometimes it can be difficult to remember where exactly that is.

Thinking back though, that's pretty much exactly like the original Metroid games were, and I loved those as a teenager. I think I had a somewhat difficult time letting go of the mentality that things have to be spoonfed to you and that you always know exactly what to do or where to go. Once I did though, and simply let the game unfold and play at a more measured pace with fewer expectations that I would get a new powerup at specific times, I had a ton of fun.

The beauty of this game is that the gameplay and progression are so experty tuned, so that even if you don't know where to go, it's a pleasure to simply play the game and traverse the environments trying to figure it out.

Bosses are cool for the most part, none feel cheap and they have great designs.

I think my one real complaint is that I don't hate "retro" style graphics but the extreme low resolution sometimes hampers your ability to distinguish the foreground from the background. You do get used to it though.
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11.6 hrs
Posted: October 11
Metroid with good movement gimmicks.
Tons of secrets.
Difficult, but I never felt like I was fighting the controls.
It is a good game.
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