Explore an abandoned space station in this retro-themed explorative action platformer.
User reviews:
Recent:
Mostly Positive (18 reviews) - 77% of the 18 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (254 reviews) - 93% of the 254 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 22, 2015

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July 28

ESA speedrun at the European Speedrunner Assembly 2016 event!

ESA will be speedrun by Jazzy and ESGPuppetmaster later today at the European Speedrunner Assembly 2016 speedrunning event; if you want to see the game raced by two very skilled speedrunners, do join the stream!

The run will be at 21:51 UTC.

http://www.esamarathon.com/

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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!

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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
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Mostly Positive (18 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (254 reviews)
Recently Posted
Austinlb55
( 29.1 hrs on record )
Posted: July 29
Wait so i wasn't playing metroid this whole time?

...

you're sure?
Helpful? Yes No Funny
i cant feel my eggs
( 14.0 hrs on record )
Posted: July 25
the girl was a robot the whole time
Helpful? Yes No Funny
triplebooyah
( 21.5 hrs on record )
Posted: July 20
This is how a Metroidvania is done. I personally enjoyed the difficulty of many of the bosses in the game which really makes you have to study their moves. Controls are very tight, map design is great, music is really good (although the loungey temple theme seemed really out of place). I also found the "6-bit" graphics charming; a lot was done with them despite their limits.

The post-game content offers some La-Mulana-esque ciphering and cryptic hint tracking, the difference being that these aspects aren't forced on you and are a bit more reasonable. If you're just looking for a more straightforward experience, you have one that leads to the end (the "bad" ending, which was actually my favorite one). Then, if you are inclined for some more hardcore exploration and puzzle solving, you've got a ton more to do.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[B-TEAM] Old Gregg
( 29.4 hrs on record )
Posted: July 19
A fantastic game
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Rune
( 9.3 hrs on record )
Posted: July 18
I don't review games often but I felt I needed to do one for this one. This game captured my attension with it's sorta Metroid look and I ended up playing it all day until I beat it, even with the lack of achievements. If you like games in the Metroidvania style then this game is for you.

The positives I have for the game is it's very balance, great boss fights, great music, and just the right amount of difficulty.

I have only one negative about the game and that is while the game does give you a general idea where to go, I never got any indication where the last boss was. I found the last boss just from exploring trying to fill out the map. Now this is mostly due to my playstyle of playing the main story first and then explore so take it how you want.

Overall I give it 8/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
McFrugal
( 37.9 hrs on record )
Posted: July 18
A fun metroidvania-ish exploration action platformer clearly heavily influenced by Super Metroid.

Pros: Fairly good music, responsive controls, and a HEAPING HELPING of secret content to discover. Like, easily half the content is secret.

Cons: The metroidvania aspect of it sometimes feels confusing or infuriating, as gated areas may lead immediately to a second obstacle you can't get past.
Some of the bosses (especially the optional ones) are frustratingly difficult, and most of the secret content is locked behind a spike maze that's far harder than anything else that came before it. That difficulty spike may be too much for some people.

Tip: Don't get the Crown unless you're already at 200%.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Frogtron ◥。θ┴θ。◤
( 23.8 hrs on record )
Posted: July 15
Absolutely wonderful, beautiful, and fun metroidvania game filled with secrets! Great music, awesome graphics, it's super finetuned and was just a joy to play! For only 8$ it's a steal!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Racke
( 14.0 hrs on record )
Posted: July 14
Great retro Metroidvania with plenty of thoroughly challenging (but never unfair) and super fun bossfights. Good luck to all the poor sods who attempt the final boss without the supercharged module upgrade.

Very much looking forward to the sequel.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Old_Albert
( 60.7 hrs on record )
Posted: July 12
Amazing, hard (in a good way) metroid game with post-game secrets that rival La-mulana in the level of convoludedness.
It's a great game just as metroid-clone with good level-design and boss-design, but post-game mind-bending secrets elevates it to another level. I have infinite respect every game that put so much work in stuff that most people wouldn't even find.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
VGAce
( 18.6 hrs on record )
Posted: July 10
Lovely artstyle! amazing low res low color pixelart
the game looks and plays great in controls and is very fun at the beginning but then the difficulty ramps up from challenging to insanely frustrating!

you will replay some rooms and bosses dozens of times
i despised beeing locked out of areas i could still explore/get missing items after activating the generator
i fought trough the areas obstacle after obstacle but at the plague hive i calmquit and uninstalled
it was just too much and the level design before that area including the lava part with those hanging plants shooting you from out of screen/unreacheable as well

i just beat dark souls before going to this game and even that was less frustrating

the enemies are very annoying in their movesets and often chase you as well as their projectiles
example you shoot a flying enemy that chases you which explodes into 2 smaller enemies that hit you right away
and: "YO DAWG i heard ya like boss phases so imma put a boss phase into your boss phase"

the beam range never gets upgraded and having to jump up to reach bosses all the time was annoying
the beam is basicaly a melee weapon that takes a long time to swing because of the charge shot which you will be using always once you get it
enemies drop nothing and are just there to drain your health

music is ok but sound effects are bad.
enemies exploding sound like baloons popping and you getting hit sounds off

im kinda sad it turned out be so frustrating i really loved it until it became so frustrating
enough is enough wont be playing this again

only buy this if you enjoy frustratingly hard games like "i wanna be the guy" or "ninja gaiden"/similar frusrating NES games
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
60.7 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
Amazing, hard (in a good way) metroid game with post-game secrets that rival La-mulana in the level of convoludedness.
It's a great game just as metroid-clone with good level-design and boss-design, but post-game mind-bending secrets elevates it to another level. I have infinite respect every game that put so much work in stuff that most people wouldn't even find.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.3 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
I don't review games often but I felt I needed to do one for this one. This game captured my attension with it's sorta Metroid look and I ended up playing it all day until I beat it, even with the lack of achievements. If you like games in the Metroidvania style then this game is for you.

The positives I have for the game is it's very balance, great boss fights, great music, and just the right amount of difficulty.

I have only one negative about the game and that is while the game does give you a general idea where to go, I never got any indication where the last boss was. I found the last boss just from exploring trying to fill out the map. Now this is mostly due to my playstyle of playing the main story first and then explore so take it how you want.

Overall I give it 8/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
32.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 1
This game is very expansive and full of challenges, some of which toward the optional ends of the world feel barely possible. There are so many secrets to uncover, super hard optional bosses, extra tricky platforming and grabbling sections, even a spooky apparition I had to run from the whole world over when all it needed was happiness.

I really had no clue what to do after all that and I explored the whole game, but the journey itself was really satiating just because the game provides you with so much. Nothing at all comes to mind to complain about except maybe the translation puzzles which were just matching roman letters with "alien" ones.

Had lots of fun!! Highly recommended for someone looking for another platforming adventure. If you liked Cave Story, Super Metroid, SotN, etc., then there's little doubt you will also enjoy this one.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
37.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 18
A fun metroidvania-ish exploration action platformer clearly heavily influenced by Super Metroid.

Pros: Fairly good music, responsive controls, and a HEAPING HELPING of secret content to discover. Like, easily half the content is secret.

Cons: The metroidvania aspect of it sometimes feels confusing or infuriating, as gated areas may lead immediately to a second obstacle you can't get past.
Some of the bosses (especially the optional ones) are frustratingly difficult, and most of the secret content is locked behind a spike maze that's far harder than anything else that came before it. That difficulty spike may be too much for some people.

Tip: Don't get the Crown unless you're already at 200%.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
16.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 5
this game is simple and pure with a lot of HEART! and just when you think it's over you start to uncover the hidden secrets and depth. the whole experience is incredibly solid and delivers on all the major bullet points of a great metroidvania type game!

if you like metroidvanias at any capacity you should definitely give this a spin!!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
71 of 78 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.

**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!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
45 of 48 people (94%) 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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46 of 50 people (92%) 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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39 of 45 people (87%) 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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26 of 26 people (100%) found this review helpful
8 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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