Explore an abandoned space station in this retro-themed explorative action platformer.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (10 reviews) - 100% of the 10 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (236 reviews) - 94% of the 236 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 22, 2015

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Recent updates View all (27)

April 22

Anniversary sale!

To celebrate the first anniversary of the game, Environmental Station Alpha is -50% on Steam for this weekend! The OST also has a 33% discount!

0 comments Read more

March 13

New patch! Mac port updates and bugfixes

This update changes the mac port to use a different, more efficient wrapper, which should make the game run much better on macs while making it more stable as well! Please send feedback if something breaks or changes due to this update.

Also some exploits were fixed along with certain longtime bugs. Thank you for playing the game!

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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

Windows
Mac OS X
    Minimum:
    • 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
    Minimum:
    • 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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Recent:
Very Positive (10 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (236 reviews)
Recently Posted
Kohmei
( 4.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 24
In my book, this is the closest a game has ever come to the brilliant design of Super Metroid. If you consider yourself a Metroidvania fan, you owe it to yourself to play this.

The good:
+Brilliantly designed, massive world with tons to explore and collect
+Plenty of optional upgrades making exploration worth it
+Great atmospheric soundtrack
+An interesting and not overbearing story that slowly unfolds
+Multiple endings depending on your progression

Neutral:
=The game is difficult but fair. You will rarely be able to jump into a boss fight and defeat it without learning its attack patterns first, which might take many attempts

The bad:
-Graphics are oddly stuck somewhere between Atari 2600's resolution and SNES's color palette, giving the visual impression of neither
-Arbitrary 55 fps cap

I've played this game for 15 hours now (Steam time is not accurate) which represents one 95% playthru. Multiple endings and a new game+ mode indicate tons of replayability which I will definitely be returning for.

Worth it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
RUSE NEVER DIES
( 21.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 24
How did I not write a review for this game yet?

If you loved playing Super Metroid, this is something of a spiritual successor. Obviously, this game is its own thing, but you'd be surprised how much game you'll pull out of this seemingly innocuous title.

Metroidvania fans - get this game.

Be aware, however, that this game is challenging. It's not super hard, but you won't be able to just stumble your way through it. Some skill is required. The game has a nice, smooth learning curve to it, but ultimately you'll just have to git gud. Also, if you're stuck at a boss, it's possible you missed an upgrade somewhere.
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ChickenLiverNuts
( 18.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 22
This is the best metroidvania type game i have played that isn't actually a Meroid game. It is challenging and does not hold your hand in the slightest. The fantasic music and immersive atmosphere complete the experience
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Zet
( 11.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
I have to start this review with a confession: I didn't love Cave Story. I thought it was an alright game and very impressive for a one man job, but it didn't hit me in the same spot as everybody else. I always felt it couldn't really decide if it wanted to be gameplay or story driven and in the end neither portion of the game felt like the "complete" experience. I guess, it just wasn't my cup of tea but if you love it, I'm happy for you.

With that in mind, I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of Environmental Station Alpha. I'll go as far as to say, I felt like this is the best Metroidvania that isn't a Metroid I've ever played yet. (And yes, I've played Axiom Verge.) Simple in design, strong in execution. Little to no unnecessary dialoge or other gameplay interrupting cutscenes. The focus stays on exploration and progress and that's what I enjoyed oh so very much about ESA.

The game is not perfect (nothing is) of course. The difficulty is always somewhere between challenging and too damn hard; I had to repeat a few boss fights quite often and the only thing that kept me from rage quitting was the very awesome boss music. Unfortunately, I felt that the very last boss of the game was just artificially unnecessary hard and the ending I got after that fight was everything else but satisfying. It hurt me a little that a game that started so amazing ended so disappointing, BUT I haven't yet found all the extras, so there might be a special ending somewhere.

While sound design is not outstanding and the music does nothing interesting, I fell in love with the soundtrack immediately. The feel of uneasy calmness is perfectly captured in the lo fi psychedelic tracks and accompanies your travels through the deserted space station. If you want to play a simple Metroidvania that doesn't give you too much handholding and keeps the atmosphere mostly in the level design instead of the story, you will like Environmental Station Alpha!

Highly recommended.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Justavian
( 15.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 20
Among the top ten best metroidvania games i've ever played. This game is pretty clearly HEAVILY inspired by metroid - there are a lot of enemies and sounds and gameplay that just seems straight out of metroid. But it still does its own thing, manages to distinguish itself quite well, and is incredibly well put together.

It can be a little bit slow at times if you're not playing it all in a couple of sittings. If you were to take notes on places you need to return to, those slow times would disappear, i'm sure. The problem is that there are a lot of power ups and what are essentially keys to open other areas. While the map is a big help, it's sometimes hard to remember where you saw that set of blocks you can now open, etc. This is standard for metroidvania, though - i would expect nothing less. Someday i'll actually play one of these and take notes.

I'm not sure how much replay value it will have - it doesn't look like it's going to get a bunch of playthroughs from me like Valdis Story, for example. But it's easily worth the price.
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Xefroscalene
( 24.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 20
Absolutely amazing game!

Just a forewarning: the bosses can be VERY difficult. If you're like me and you love really hard games, then this will be quite the treat. However, if you don't have much patience with extremely difficult challenging things, PLAY ON EASY MODE. Normal mode can get insanely hard at times, and easy mode gives you a little more breathing room when fighting bosses, because in normal mode, there isn't much room for error.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
DoubleCakes
( 29.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 8
How does an indie Metroidvania stand out from its peers? The way Environmental Station Alpha does it isn't through a notable gimmick but rather through craft. It is a quality and cohesive title that, barring difficulty issues, could be a real treat for you.

It's the classic story of an abandoned research facility and an agent sent in to investigate where it all went wrong. The player takes control of a robot that will explore ES Alpha and discover the truth behind its downfall. Along the way the player will explore, fight, and powerup in traditional Metroidvania fashion.

The powerups are cool and have that great mix of unlocking new areas in Alpha while assisting in moment-to-moment combat/traversal. You will explore many diverse regions of the Station that are memorable as they are fun to traverse. The game provides many interesting scenarios including the player speeding through a region while their health is slowly drained by the intense heat. These are interesting biomes that are fun to traverse the first couple times. That brings me to one of the game's few flaws.

To get around, even with teleportation, you'll have to go over lots of ground that you likely have already trekked through because even with all the powers you obtain, the paths through ES Alpha are labyrinthian and don't open up as “wide” as they should. One must take the long way around to get anywhere, even late in the game. It can be grueling or tedious and it's only exacerbated by the game's difficulty.

Now I won't tell you if the game's difficulty is bad or not, but it's a hard game that can be unforgiving at times. For example, not only are a couple bosses very difficult and long, the game utilizes a very draconian save system. There is no autosaving, there are no checkpoints. The player must go to save rooms to record their game. If the player beats a boss and then dies without saving, the player will have to load in to their last save and do the boss over again and if there's a long gauntlet on the way to the boss, the player will have to do that too.

Bringing it back to the positive, ESA employs a pixel art graphic style that is one of the most considered pixel artstyles in modern indie games. The music is similarly great with lots of memorable ambient sounds that have real emotion and story behind them. The game's simplistic presentation goes very far.

ESA also has a very involved post-game (or extended ending, if you will). It highlights what's already interesting about the plot and expands on it. Warning though, conquering the post-game involves a cipher puzzle so if that bugs you, you might want to employ a help guide. The secrets of ES Alpha truly feel forbidden enhancing the otherworldly, alien tone of the game.

If you want a Metroidvania that relishes in its quiet, lonely tone and can tolerate some occasionally vicious difficulty, you'd be doing yourself a favour by checking out Environmental Station Alpha. It's engaging, it's interesting, and it's a real gem in the genre.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Frostilyte
( 19.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 1
ESa is structured a lot like the original Metroid and definitely pays homage to it. The game is very much focused around exploring a huge map with varied environments to find new power-ups that help you explore further. This is coupled with finding random HP upgrades that are often hiding behind breakable walls and discovering the lore of the area you are exploring.

Overall the game plays well. The controls are far more responsive than the game it pays homage too, which assists greatly in the epic boss fights and some incredibly difficult platforming segments. ESa makes very good use of allowing the player to traverse the environment using it's various power-ups even before the correct power-up for a certain segment is found. There were numerous times where determination and precision got me to an area I would have normally required a power-up I didn't have to get to.

Speaking of bosses, they are balls hard. You can't take very many hits, so most boss fights require the player to know all of the boss' attack patterns and how to deal with them. This is both a strength and weakness of the game. On one hand the bosses being so difficult made defeating them feel really satisfying. On the other, losing repeatedly to the same boss in it's last phase is frustrating as hell. This frustration also partly comes from having to reload from the last save point, which is only near a boss about half the time. The other half of the time you have some walking to do.

The only other gripe I had with the game was a brief segment in the middle where the game gave me no direction on where to go next. I still hadn't discovered enough power-ups to really explore the station fully on my own and I spent about 5 hours trying to figure out where the way forward was. This really messed with the pacing of the game.

Overall I quite liked the game. I'd recommend it if you are looking for a Metroid-like experience, or you like games that are old-school hard.
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elves
( 20.7 hrs on record )
Posted: June 1
Environmental Station Alpha is the Metroid game I\'ve been waiting 12 years for. It\'s got tight controls, an environment rich with life and detail, and it brings an eerie ambiance and mystery. This game is definitely worth the $8 - I highly recommend it!

Teleporters throughout the game do away with the grueling backtracking that completionists suffer during Metroid games. The bosses, enemies, and platforming puzzles are tough, but not unfairly so. This game never felt unfair or cheating.

One of the coolest items you earn in the game is the hookshot. An entire platforming game could be built around this mechanic alone, and it\'s very well done.

In terms of playtime, I\'m already nearly 10 hours in.
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Feedish Swish
( 18.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
Multiple endings, aliens, blowing stuff up, this game is A++ and one of my favorite games of all time. Beat the game? Keep exploring. You may find more.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
29.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 8
How does an indie Metroidvania stand out from its peers? The way Environmental Station Alpha does it isn't through a notable gimmick but rather through craft. It is a quality and cohesive title that, barring difficulty issues, could be a real treat for you.

It's the classic story of an abandoned research facility and an agent sent in to investigate where it all went wrong. The player takes control of a robot that will explore ES Alpha and discover the truth behind its downfall. Along the way the player will explore, fight, and powerup in traditional Metroidvania fashion.

The powerups are cool and have that great mix of unlocking new areas in Alpha while assisting in moment-to-moment combat/traversal. You will explore many diverse regions of the Station that are memorable as they are fun to traverse. The game provides many interesting scenarios including the player speeding through a region while their health is slowly drained by the intense heat. These are interesting biomes that are fun to traverse the first couple times. That brings me to one of the game's few flaws.

To get around, even with teleportation, you'll have to go over lots of ground that you likely have already trekked through because even with all the powers you obtain, the paths through ES Alpha are labyrinthian and don't open up as “wide” as they should. One must take the long way around to get anywhere, even late in the game. It can be grueling or tedious and it's only exacerbated by the game's difficulty.

Now I won't tell you if the game's difficulty is bad or not, but it's a hard game that can be unforgiving at times. For example, not only are a couple bosses very difficult and long, the game utilizes a very draconian save system. There is no autosaving, there are no checkpoints. The player must go to save rooms to record their game. If the player beats a boss and then dies without saving, the player will have to load in to their last save and do the boss over again and if there's a long gauntlet on the way to the boss, the player will have to do that too.

Bringing it back to the positive, ESA employs a pixel art graphic style that is one of the most considered pixel artstyles in modern indie games. The music is similarly great with lots of memorable ambient sounds that have real emotion and story behind them. The game's simplistic presentation goes very far.

ESA also has a very involved post-game (or extended ending, if you will). It highlights what's already interesting about the plot and expands on it. Warning though, conquering the post-game involves a cipher puzzle so if that bugs you, you might want to employ a help guide. The secrets of ES Alpha truly feel forbidden enhancing the otherworldly, alien tone of the game.

If you want a Metroidvania that relishes in its quiet, lonely tone and can tolerate some occasionally vicious difficulty, you'd be doing yourself a favour by checking out Environmental Station Alpha. It's engaging, it's interesting, and it's a real gem in the genre.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
This is the best metroidvania type game i have played that isn't actually a Meroid game. It is challenging and does not hold your hand in the slightest. The fantasic music and immersive atmosphere complete the experience
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 24
In my book, this is the closest a game has ever come to the brilliant design of Super Metroid. If you consider yourself a Metroidvania fan, you owe it to yourself to play this.

The good:
+Brilliantly designed, massive world with tons to explore and collect
+Plenty of optional upgrades making exploration worth it
+Great atmospheric soundtrack
+An interesting and not overbearing story that slowly unfolds
+Multiple endings depending on your progression

Neutral:
=The game is difficult but fair. You will rarely be able to jump into a boss fight and defeat it without learning its attack patterns first, which might take many attempts

The bad:
-Graphics are oddly stuck somewhere between Atari 2600's resolution and SNES's color palette, giving the visual impression of neither
-Arbitrary 55 fps cap

I've played this game for 15 hours now (Steam time is not accurate) which represents one 95% playthru. Multiple endings and a new game+ mode indicate tons of replayability which I will definitely be returning for.

Worth it.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
69 of 76 people (91%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Recommended
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.

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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42 of 45 people (93%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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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43 of 47 people (91%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
26.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 25, 2015
buy this game if you like:
-metroid
-exploring
-challenge
-really crazy puzzles/riddles

don't buy this game if you don't like:
-dying
-getting lost
-cryptic (but solvable) riddles
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38 of 44 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
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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23 of 23 people (100%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
Recommended
11.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 2, 2015
Honestly, this one was a borderline call from me to recommend.

On the plus side, it's pretty much Metroid. "Spiritual successor" is an apt description. Metroid 1 sensibilities, but with a lot of the abilities and puzzle cleverness of Super Metroid. It's really good, and when it's fun it's fun.

But this game is HARD. Maybe I'm a sissy, I never got into Dark Souls, but this thing is crazy hard. Like "neighbors think I have Tourettes" hard, "Smash a controller like it's 1997" hard. It's so hard I almost want to downvote it, because it's "almost feels like a personal insult" hard.

This is not the cushy Super Nintendo style Level->Save->Boss->Save progression. There are multiple bosses in every level, and rarely is there a save point directly in front or directly after it. Right now I'm at the 2nd boss of the Temple level, and I can't even reach the boss with 50% of my health. I haven't seen a life tank or powerup for 3 or 4 bosses. Not mini-bosses, legit bosses.

So there you have it. Recommended if you like getting your face smashed in old-school.
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25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
Recommended
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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26 of 31 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
27.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 23, 2015
✓ Superb soundtrack which is atmospheric, varied and fitting.
✓ Very good map design and exploration, (seemingly intentional?) sequence breaks possible which makes for interesting replayability and playstyles. Strange, cryptic, (post?) end-game secrets, bosses, lore
✓ Surprisingly addicting, like, A LOT in my opinion. Gets better the more familiar you get with your surroundings
✓ Even difficulty, not too hard and not too easy, not to brag though(!) my past speedrunning, sequence breaking, low% runs, and tons of other high level Metroidvania skills and feats SURELY made this game easier compared to people with no knowledge and experience of similar things and techniques.
✓ Good boss designs

▬ No Steam overlay (Screenshots must be done manually, Broadcasting not working)
▬ Some ill-matched, repetetive sound effects
▬ Feels almost like a Metroid-mod, not too much of an own personality, a bit too similar to Super Metroid/Zero/Fusion in terms of enemy design, fake blocks/traps, sprites, areas and items.
▬ Somewhat clunky combat mechanics and A.I. but becomes acceptable the more upgrades you get.
▬ No incentive to kill enemies as they don't drop anything or serve any other purpose than to damage you
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