By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on June 26, 2018
Imagine this; you start up a game and the first thing you see is a planet with the Eiffel Tower hanging upside down. Next thing you know, the Eiffel Tower explodes. Now, I don't know what's happening here, but what a way to start a game!
Today, I'm playing Youropa by Danish developer Frecle ApS. When these guys sent me an email about this game, they described it as a combination of Super Mario Galaxy meets Portal meets Fez meets Jet Set Radio, only completely different... I think it comes as no surprise that I was intrigued by this description. So yes, of course I'm going to play this game!
In Youropa, you control a little bobble-headed character who, for reasons only known to evolution, has suction cups for feet. The first time you meet him, he is hanging upside down in a tree, so your first assignment is to set this little creature free. When I got him back on solid ground, I first started to check out where the hell I was. The first thing I noticed, is that the term "solid ground" is only relative in Youropa, because I was, in fact, standing on a piece of land that floated in mid air! Ok, what's going on here? Do I have to go down? There is no way I'm going to survive a jump like that. I walk to the left and of my floating island and... nothing! No ladder, no parachute, in short; no clue as to how I can get off this thing. So naturally, I check the right side of my floating island and then I discovered the way this game is going to work!
There is no jumping involved, but instead you're free to literally walk around the floating islands; wall walking! As long as there is a rounded edge, you can simply walk off the left or right side of the island and take a leisurely stroll along the side, or even walk across the bottom of the island you're currently on. Of course the camera will turn to keep up with you, so it's not like you have to play the game upside down or something. This is an awesome feature and it really spices things up! And you'll need it, because Youropa is torn apart and it's up to you to restore it to its former glory. By using your unique wall walking ability, breaking the rules of nature like gravity and thinking outside the box, you might just have what it takes to safely navigate this strange and broken world.
The wall-walking is awesome, but it also made me lose my way more than once. I'm not that great with spatial awareness, but luckily the developers came up with two things to help you with this. First, you can always use the overview button to see the level from a top-down perspective. By doing so, you can check if you didn't miss out on any collectibles, puzzles and secrets. You might think of this as cheating, but trust me; when you have been turned upside down and turned around a couple of times, you'll be glad to have this option and be able to check things twice. Second, there's a world map, which answers the questions; What am I doing here, what's my motivation and which way do I need to go now? So, Youropa can be a bit overwhelming at first, but don't worry. The developers set you up with the best tools possible to keep you on track.
Another cool feature of Youropa is the customization of your creature, which is awesome by the way! You can choose facial elements like the eyes, nose and ears and you can also select a full body print. I didn't feel like putting a face on my creature, so I chose a spotted pattern for the full body paint and added stars, hearts and lightening bolts in different colors. So, every player can create an unique looking character, the only thing we will all have in common is that the little guy is still wearing a piece of rope around his ankle, with which he was tied to the tree when we met him at the start of the game.
Youropa is a puzzle platformer with an unique twist that looks truly beautiful. It's available on Steam and offers full controller support (thank you very much for that!). I could go on and on about this game, but I really think it's time for you to try this excellent upside down adventure for yourselves, wouldn't you agree?
June 27, 2018