Youropa is a mind-bending puzzle game that messes with the player’s sense of gravity. It features some great puzzle design as a result, along with a nice aesthetic, but does suffer from some technical issues.
Great puzzle design. This is the type of puzzle game that really requires the player to think outside the box. The game world is made up of floating islands and the player is able to walk along any surface on these islands, be it the floor, walls, or ceiling. The puzzles make heavy use of this constant shift in gravity, requiring the player to not just consider what is in front of him/her, but what may be above or even below. Some of the puzzles are even linked to other islands, allowing for some pretty complex puzzle design. Despite this though, the game maintained a pretty steady difficulty throughout. I did get stumped a few times, but never more than maybe five minutes at a time. The puzzles struck a good balance between complexity and difficulty.
Excellent aesthetic. Youropa combines a variety of different artistic styles to form its own unique aesthetic. The game’s environments, for example, take a more realistic approach, while the characters and enemies take a more cartoonish, stylized approach. This contrast was pretty cool and is made even better by the game’s use of paint. Not only is the player able to customize his/her character model with this paint, but some of the game’s puzzles even make use of it in interesting ways. The paint acts as an indicator of how much health the player has left, so when a level has rain, the solution involves working around it, so as to avoid paint being washed off. This combination of realistic environments, stylistic characters, and paint provide for a pretty striking aesthetic. The fact that there is no HUD is also a nice touch, allowing for more of the game world to be taken in without any sort of on-screen distraction.
Uncooperative camera. Considering that the entirety of the game’s puzzle solving relies on constant gravity switching, a good camera is a necessity. Unfortunately, Youropa lacks in this regard, with a camera that is oftentimes just not cooperative. It sometimes zooms in all the way when switching between floor, wall, and ceiling, especially in tighter areas. This was rather annoying when solving puzzles that required me to enter tunnels and such. The camera is also incredibly frustrating to use when utilizing the game’s zoom-out feature, putting the entirety of the level in focus. When doing so, it can be difficult to position the camera the way it needs to be, which is necessary for some puzzles as solutions can sometimes be found on a wall that is not visible to the player normally, but is visible when zoomed out of the level.
A bit buggy at times. While the game is polished pretty nicely overall, I did run into a couple of bugs that are worth mentioning. One such bug is with the game’s crumbling blocks. Normally, when running across them, they crumble behind the player, respawning after a short delay. Well, I managed to get myself stuck in one of these blocks, forcing me to restart in order to get unstuck. Another bug I encountered was with a door that is activated by a button. This button requires a weight in order to be held down, but I managed to press it down and make it through the doors before they closed. Fortunately, the game allows warping between levels, so I did not end up getting stuck in the level I found myself in, but this was definitely not the intended behavior.
Youropa may have a number of technical issues, but it is still a decent puzzle game overall. The puzzle design is excellent and works well when combined with the game’s aesthetic, even if it brings with it some faults (like the wonky camera). On top of that, the game does have a few other technical issues, but I give it my recommendation regardless.
You can buy Youropa on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.