Image source: Helder Pinto via We Game Daily

Honey, we've moving house.

Europa Preview on PC via Steam

In this age of unfolding climate disaster, war, and divisive politicking, who wouldn’t want to escape to a new world? Europa, an upcoming cozy adventure game by Helder Pinto, is about just that. Attracted by its gorgeous art style, I played the demo on Steam. Here are my first impressions with a Europa preview.

Europa Has Ghibli-Esque Beauty

Right away, Europa‘s aesthetics struck me. Put simply, it’s a beautiful game. Lush, vibrant environments are deeply reminiscent of Studio Ghibli’s hand-drawn environments, immediately instilling a sense of wonder. 

But this beauty is more than skin deep. As you control an android named Zee, the world reacts to your presence. Deer scatter and birds flap away as you pass them by. The dazzling azure lakes and ponds ripple as you skim over them. It’s pleasing to see the world respond to your presence, and I only hope that you’re able to interact more with intriguing buildings such as the house below in the final game.

Yes, please. I’ll take it.

Although the nature of the biome didn’t vary much in the demo, Europa‘s Steam page promises ‘lakes, meadows and mountains to explore.’ It remains to be seen, however, whether these environments prove sufficiently diverse and full of secrets to demand deep exploration. But if Europa can maintain its initial sense of wonder and intrigue, it has a good chance.   

New Beginnings

Europa‘s story is primarily delivered through the environment and a series of collectible notes. As far as I can tell, an inventor created the playable character, android Zee, to be the vanguard of a terraforming project. Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, was chosen for this ambitious project, perhaps because it’s one of the bodies in our solar system most likely to be suitable for life beyond Earth. It’s clear from the various structures, some well-maintained, others crumbling, that you’re not the first sentient life on Europa. In addition to the buildings dotting the landscape, Zee comes across various mechanized constructs, presumably employed in the terraforming process. Most of these robots are dormant, but not all, as is dramatically revealed at the end of the demo.

Although the environmental storytelling is notable, most of the exposition is delivered by the notes Zee encounters as he adventures. A soothing narrator voices the notes, telling of Zee’s role and gradually fills in information about the terraforming project.

The story I gleaned from the demo has some intrigue and fits the sense of cozy adventure and exploration like a mitten. I only hope that it builds on the premise and introduces some meaningful conflict. Too often these cozy games shy away from fully exploring their themes. In Europa‘s case, this would mean ruminating on the ethics behind creating new life on an extraterrestrial body when the same civilization destroyed the Earth.

Relics of a bygone civilization provide a tantalizing sense of intrigue.

Glide and Slide

When it comes to controlling Zee, Europa‘s movement is satisfyingly fluid. The android skims across water, surfs across seas of rolling grass, and soars through the air. At first, the bulky jetpack on Zee’s back allows you to boost into the air and glide across gaps. Upgrades increase the longevity of this effect. By the end of the demo, I was quite literally soaring through the clouds.

Beyond traversing the landscape, the demo’s gameplay primarily consists of simple platforming and even simpler puzzle-solving. I’m sure the difficulty of these will increase as you progress, hopefully testing the player’s mastery of the movement mechanics in satisfying ways. As well as the aforementioned pages, there are various collectibles to find, such as green crystals nestled in hard-to-reach and out-of-the-way locations. There was a notable lack of narrative context to these, however, reducing my desire to seek them out. It isn’t clear what they represent or do, if anything. Hopefully, the final game addresses this.


Playing through Europa‘s demo, I felt a sense of tranquillity wash over me as I glided through the lush environments. In that sense, Europa looks set to do exactly what a cozy game should. If the mechanics evolve sufficiently, the story deeply explores its themes, and the world holds enough surprises, Europa has the potential to stay with us for a long time after it’s finished warming the cockles of our hearts. I, for one, can’t wait.    

Europa releases on Steam on April 16, 2024.

We Game Daily’s Europa preview was written by editor Tom Killalea.