Releasing July 10th onto Steam is a Melbourne developed game that asks the big questions. Set on an icy moon of Jupiter, Ice Caves of Europa has you control a sentient drone who explores the moon and its cavernous interior searching for signs of extraterrestrial activity. Although what you end up discovering is something else altogether.
I’ve had the opportunity to play through the game and get a feel for its near future, science fiction story and its challenging drone flight mechanics.
You play as Dragonfly, a curious and newly trained drone who is sent on missions to explore Europa’s icy caves. Your missions will involve navigating tight corridors, gathering data and using your laser to harvest minerals amongst other things. The mechanics behind the drone’s flight feel good once mastered but will take a bit of getting used to. The game wasn’t developed to be easy, instead opting for a more realistic approach where you’ll have to concentrate on speed, momentum and angles. There’s also different flight modes including a vertical stability mode that will keep your drone upright at the cost of some manoeuvrability. You’ll want to learn how to fly in both flight modes.
As the game progresses the narrative also opens up. Your first few missions are fairly mundane and simply ask you to fly to a new area and back to your dock, or master a new technique. But then things open up a bit as you begin uncovering things about the world around you. What starts out as a simple mission about exploration and data gathering turns into the discovery of a sinister interplanetary conspiracy.
The game’s narrative is one of its larger focal points. Don’t go into Ice Caves of Europa expecting to ignore the dialogue and experience a complete and satisfying game. The game’s intention is to unravel a story first and foremost and does so with written dialogue between multiple characters.
The game isn’t too long but it’s certainly worth a play. Ice Caves of Europa will be available July 10th on Steam.