What ever happened to simple, fun video games? Well, here’s one that brings back the charm we all remember from the days of 8-bit graphics. Environmental Station Alpha is an action-adventure game created by Finnish developer Arvi “Hempuli” Teikari. In the game, there’s a floating space station that was originally designed as a place to protect rare animal species in their natural habitats. Though it has long been shut down, there’s been instances of recent evidence of activity at the station, and you, a brave robot explorer, have to go find out why.
With a limited 32-color palette and a 160×120 resolution, Hempuli has managed to successfully create a game that transports the player to a mystifying fantasy world. Paired with the ambient sounds of Roope “Noby” Makinen, the game is a testament to the magical combination of pixel art and cool electronic music. What more do you need to make a beautiful video game really?
The simplicity of the game design is also reflected in the gameplay, which falls into the metroidvania category—a genre created for games that resemble the 1987 Nintendo game Metroid. Typical characteristics of metroidvania include side-scrolling, a map that fills in as you explore the game, and power-ups that allow you to overcome obstacles to reach new levels that were previously inaccessible—straightforward but satisfying.
Unfortunately, all we have for now is a trailer, but Hempuli’s been working on Environmental Station Alpha for about half a year, hopes to be finished by the end of this year. Fingers crossed that someday soon we can experience this simple beauty in action.
As a bonus, here are some GIFs Hempuli created from Environmental Station Alpha!