Europa is Looking Like One of the Most Engaging Games of the Year

With this feature, we take a look at Novastar Entertainment's upcoming Europa and why it could end up being one of the biggest games of 2024.

Posted By | On 24th, Apr. 2024

Europa is Looking Like One of the Most Engaging Games of the Year

The games industry is at a very interesting place right now, with new kinds of games releasing left, right, and center. The last few years have given us plenty of genre-defining games including but not limited to Elden Ring among others. The open-world genre in particular has been gaining resurgence in a rather interesting way; developers are not obsessing about the scale of the world itself but rather working to ensure that the sense of adventure remains the focus of the experience. 

Novadust Entertainment’s upcoming Europa is a game that also falls into this category, and initial showings of the game have set the internet ablaze with hype and anticipation. There’s plenty of potential in the game itself, and with this feature – we will be discussing why it might end up being one of the biggest hits of the year. 

Europa is the name of one of the moons that rotate around the planet Jupiter, and naturally – the game takes place in an alternate version of Europa where humans have transformed it from uninhabitable to a lush green paradise peppered with trees and lakes and much more. You take on the role of an android named Zee who has awakened from his slumber and must find the answers behind the mysterious disappearance of the last human alive. The story setup seems simple enough, which would be really great if the developer wishes to keep the characters and the world as the driving forces behind the narrative. 

europa

Novadust has done a wonderful job of creating a world that looks really enchanting from a visual perspective. As previously mentioned, the world of Europa is devoid of any human life – so it’s important that the structures they left behind tell a story of their own. As can be seen in the trailers, the different architectural designs on offer take inspiration from different cultures and different time periods – and that alone makes for some really interesting environmental storytelling. 

Nailing that part is crucial to Europa’s success because it’s a game that thrives on exploration. The moment-to-moment gameplay largely revolves around wandering across different corners of the planet, and slowly and steadily uncovering the pieces behind the central mystery. The developer has done a good job of making the simple act of exploration engaging through clever design tricks and mechanics. For starters, there’s no mini-map that will constantly nudge you toward a certain point which forces you to get used to the geometry and use your brain to get around this virtual space while also deepening the element of immersion by a significant margin. 

Secondly, you also get different kinds of gadgets that will help in making exploration easier and more fun. In addition to walking or running across large swaths of ground, you also get to slide across the surface of water, fly in the air with a rocket booster, or gracefully glide from high vantage points through a glider. These movements can also be chained together in different ways, which makes getting from point A to point B almost an act of personal expression as you chart your path across high mountains, lakes, and treetops all in quick succession. The animation work is especially notable here, and the transitions from one form of traversal to the next look pretty seamless.

Europa will also feature dungeons that need to be solved to progress the story, and these dungeons will be a mix of traversal challenges and puzzles. The trailer showcases tracking beams that need to be avoided, magical boxes that periodically disappear out of thin air, and other obstacles that need to be bested through judicial use of your moveset. Of course, dragging boxes and figuring out different puzzle patterns will form the majority of the busywork that players will be doing throughout their dungeon runs. 

Interestingly enough, Europa doesn’t seem to feature any combat encounters. Of course, given the isolated nature of the world – it makes complete sense to not feature any substantial combat mechanics. Instead, avoiding dangers like the aforementioned laser beams and other ancient mechanisms will form the majority of set-piece encounters throughout the game. 

One of the most interesting parts about Europa is undoubtedly its art direction. The developer is heavily inspired by the works of popular Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, the team behind popular animation films like Spirited Away and The Boy and The Heron. Suffice it to say, the team has nailed the soothing aesthetic of its inspirations and the results are absolutely phenomenal. Europa makes smart use of cool colours like light green, sky blue, and beige to portray the earthy tones of its world, which coupled with the granular attention to detail makes this world feel like a carefully crafted painting. Notice how individual blades of grass sway to the tune of the winds, and how crystal clear water reflects the surrounding environments with striking precision. 

EUROPA 3

All in all, the team has done a really great job of creating a very distinct visual identity with the aesthetics of Europa. It’s also weirdly refreshing in a way since we are so used to post-apocalyptic worlds when it comes to games that don’t feature much in the name of existing human life. The Pathless is one recent title that had some of the same markings in terms of visual aesthetics, but Europa definitely surpasses it thanks to a broader and brighter colour palette. 

The secret sauce behind Europa’s probability of success lies in its excellent meshing of a relaxing vibe and an open world ripe with avenues for exploration. The last couple of years have seen an uptick in games that offer a rather relaxing experience through simplistic gameplay, and the runaway success of games like Stray or Stardew Valley provides enough evidence for this shift in consumer trends. Of course, open worlds also continue to be one of the most liked and most played genres – so Europa sitting perfectly at the intersection of these two experiences makes it a great contender for a dark horse this year. 

Talking about the release dates and platforms, Europa is currently slated to come out sometime in the near future. It was previously set to release on April 16 this year, but the developer has announced that the team would require more time to work on the game. As for the platforms, Europa will first debut on PC, and console ports of the same might happen later down the line. The developer has put out a free demo of the game on Steam, so interested individuals can already have a taste of what to expect from the full release. 

In conclusion, Europa is a game that’s brimming with potential. It’s a rather unique kind of experience that has the privilege of being compatible with the current gaming tastes of the consumer, so if it is able to deliver on its promises – there’s little doubt that it might be one of the biggest games of the near future. 

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.


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