Europa title image

Europa Demo Impressions

Europa is an upcoming adventure exploration game developed by Helder Pinto and set to be published in 2024 by Future Friends Games. 

Yesterday, we got our first demo as part of the Gamescon 2023, and it is magical. Europa feels like a love letter to some of Studio Ghibli’s best projects. 

Zee under an arc
Our little hero, Zee.


In Europa, we play as Zee, an android and the “child” of one of the last humans. Zee is on a journey through the vast green lushness of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, terraformed to shelter humanity from what seems to be the fall of Earth.

In the demo version, we get glimpses of the story through found pages from a journal and some narration. The language is poetic, even if somewhat vague, but still gives us enough to know that Europa is supposed to be a new Paradise for humanity, and there must be a community here that is yet missing.

Zee wanders through the beautiful landscape by gliding, jumping, and even flying with the help of his little Zephyr jetpack, but he is alone. His only audience is robotic creatures and animals. Something is happening here; we see the abandoned buildings and flying islands in the sky. But where are the humans, that community we were promised? The answer may be in the final version of the game. 

A journal entry describing Europa as a Paradise.
Some lost and found journal pages.


Game controls in Europa are the classic WASD buttons on the keyboard for moving and space for jumping. Holding the space button makes Zee glide, even in the air. Holding and releasing space while on the ground makes for a higher jump. Interactions are done with the left mouse button. Charging various devices is done by jumping in the air and clicking the right mouse button upon landing. Camera movement is freely done by moving the mouse.  

I don’t know if it’s an artistic choice or something that will change in the game’s final version, but the movement is somewhat slow, almost like in water or a different atmosphere. It doesn’t feel as sharp and natural as in other games. Initially, it can be unpleasant, but you get used to it. 

Zee and in the background some buildings and mountains
It feels like a dream.

All in all, Zee moves at his own pace; when you get close to a boulder, you don’t need to hit jump; he climbs on his own. You hit the jump for much higher challenges. 

Europa, at least in its demo version, is an exploration game; I didn’t encounter anything that would require attack and defense. From what I’ve read, the final version will be the same. We meet some creatures, but they either ignore or scurry away from us. No humans, though. 

The Steam page for the game warns of dangers while exploring the ruins. I’ve only encountered my clumsiness when jumping long distances; in that case, the screen fades to white, and you start again from where you fell off. 

The demo version had some puzzles, such as finding an orb, lighting a lantern, etc. I didn’t encounter anything too tricky. 

Zee with a sunset over Europa.
Look at this view!

Art Style

Europa is simply a gorgeous game; the world feels vast and green, and the music is appropriately grand and intimate at the same time. There are these camera pan-outs, like in the game Planet of Lana, where the game feels almost cinematic. Zee moves clumsier and slower than Lana, and we don’t hear him, at least not in the demo, but still, the feeling of wonder and curiosity is there. 

The world feels alive, from how the wind moves the grass fields to how the animals scurry away if you get too close. At the same time, the feeling of emptiness and something missing makes you worried and protective of Zee. If you’ve played Journey, that’s the feeling. 

As a PC user, I haven’t had the pleasure of playing Legend of Zelda, but I’ve seen videos, and Europa is influenced by Breath of the Wild, at least artistically. It would be interesting to hear how the two games compare gameplay-wise.

Europa, seen from space in-game
Europa, seen from space in-game.

Some Side Notes

This demo has no Steam achievements, but full controller support exists. There are some audio, display, graphics, and control options, but no difficulty settings. Also, Europa has no manual game saving, only automatic.  

Final Thoughts

Europa has been on my wishlist for a while, and I was happy to take an early sneak peek. My excitement is even bigger now, I can’t wait to play the whole game. You can find the Europa demo Steam page here. 



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