What’s Youropa?

Youropa is an interesting game. It sort of reminds me of a blend between Little Big Planet because of its child-friendly and casual art/gameplay style, and Fez because of its 3-dimensional walking mechanics

Yourupa (site)

Yourupa (Facebook)

Mikkel Fredborg / frecle (Twitter)

But why let me explain it when you can hear it from Mikkel Fredborg, one of the developers behind Youropa:

Youropa is a puzzle platformer where you walk on walls – you have suction cups instead of feet – and explore a fragmented city floating in the sky.

Adding:

It starts out as a quite slowly, but as you play you constantly evolve and learn new abilities which keeps the challenge going. And all the characters are brought to life by paint, so you get to design your own character and you can create your own levels as well.

Besides a unique puzzler, Youropa is a platformer by heart — however, with so many platformers and puzzle-platformers out there, how does Youropa stand out?

Because you can walk on walls and ceilings it’s a very different experience from a normal platformer, you really have to think in 3 dimensions and twist your mind to figure out how to get from one point to the next.

I mentioned Fez and Little Big Planet as “vibes a got off of the game”. Turns out, I wasn’t completely off with Fez. However, the indie triumph is far from the only inspiration for Youropa. I was, of course, was curious to know, which games did?

It’s inspired by a lot of different games – Some of the biggest inspirations are Super Mario Galaxy, Portal, Jet Set Radio, and a bit of Fez – but there are a lot of other influences as well.

If we focus a bit on the game itself and its conceptualisation, it’s not uncommon to see games made because of a mechanic, ending, characters, or music alone. Sometimes, evolving one feature of the game, centring everything else around that can be detrimental to the rest of the project development phase. At other times, it can be quite the opposite.

There are plenty of sad endings to games, and none of which concludes with the actual ending of the game, but rather — or sadly rather, the conclusion of a failed project. Though not all:

We started out by building the wall walking mechanic, and as soon as we had that working we knew this was going to be something special. We kept on adding twists and turns to the formula so that the game continues to evolve as you play through it, that’s one of the things I like the most about it – it’s never the same as it was 10 minutes ago.

Timeline-wise, Youropa’s development doesn’t look that good on paper as:

[…] it’s been in development on and off for more than 10 years, so obviously that’s a long time.

However, luckily, for frecle, it’s been a blast making their project. From idea to concept, to reality. If I hadn’t asked Mikkel these questions in the same email, I might have wanted to know about those 10 years in development.

How they’d felt and what he learned from it particularly. Luckily, frecle is coming to Game Scope, which means I have another chance — but so do you too, if you’re interested in game development, the story of frecle and Youropa will be worth knowing.

But back to the article!… However, luckily for frecle it’s been a blast making their project:

[…] making the game has been a lot of fun and very interesting all the way through. The biggest challenge has been getting the time and money to do it – in the beginning of the project we spent a very long time negotiating with a publisher, but once we got to the point where they had to put their signature on paper, they pulled out.

That was definitely the low point, we were all out of money and energy at that point. So the project was on hold for a very long time, before I had the opportunity to self-fund the rest of the development and get a small team on board to complete it with me.

And that concludes the article. The only thing left to say is that you can try Youropa out for yourself at Game Scope!

But before I end, why don’t we look to the future — more specifically, the future of Yourupa:

Currently, we’re working on getting sharing of user-created levels and characters working in a nice way, and we are working on releasing it on other platforms. After that, we have a lot of cool ideas about how to develop the universe beyond the game itself.