In 2029 a mysterious global blackout led to decades of chaos and anarchy. The old nations disappeared and instead, countless micro-states emerged with their own identities known as Tribes.
Episode 1 of Tribes of Europa begins with an introduction to our three central protagonists Liv, Elja and Kiano who hunt through the lush forest area in 2074. They practice their knife-wielding skills and hunt animals. A loud bang in the distance pierces the tranquil air as a sleek ship, carrying a string of black smoke, crashes down to the ground.
While Kiano wants to go and check it out, Liv is not so sure that’s a good idea. Instead, they head back to camp with their captured prey. Their celebrations for catching a wolf are short-lived though when Liv’s father learns about the spaceship. He decides not to get involved in the outside world, given they’re Origines. Instead, this communion welcome Elja to their tribe following the successful capture of the wolf.
Meanwhile, in a very futuristic-looking Germany, we get a glimpse of a rival tribe called the Crows. Lord Varvara approaches the charismatic and ever-so-slightly mad Kapitan to bring big news. She confirms the crash-landed ship is Atlantian, which could be very valuable to whoever finds it.
The Origines are the first to stumble upon the ship though. Jakob and Mark discuss the technology that’s gone into creating this, while Elja stumbles upon a strange cubed artifact on the ground. Eventually he stuffs it in his robes and takes off with Liv and Kiano, making a quick detour to a makeshift shrine for the old world.
This shed holds clues to the past, tiny shimmers of a world gone by, including scrawled writing on the walls marking Black December in 2029.
Coughing and sputtering sees him turn around and witness an English speaking pilot covered in blood. He pleads with Elja not to tell anyone where he is, as the man despairs about his lost cube. Elja grabs a stack of bandages form the camp, hiding the cube in his belongings. He’s spotted by Liv on the way back out though, who joins him and decides to bring the bloodied pilot back to their camp.
Jakob and Mark meanwhile, stumble upon an abandoned Republic outpost. Unfortunately the reason for its abandonment soon becomes clear as they find numerous men and women shot dead in the courtyard. One seems to be alive though. Struggling to speak, he tells the two that Crows are responsible for the massacre.
Those crows happen to be watching as Liv and the others bring the pilot into their camp. When they do, Elja hands back the cube to him. Apparently this cube holds a message – something dangerous is coming from the East. The pilot needs to bring this cube back home to prevent a big catastrophe, which Elja agrees to help with. However, they hit a massive snag in that plan when Jakob informs them that the Crows are hunting.
Unfortunately that hunting comes to a devastating head when the Crows burst into camp and attack them all. With the Origines under heavy fire, the pilot gives Elja the cube and tells him it will lead to the ark. “Look at the eye, let it scan you and lead you.” The man winces, as the cube falls into Elja’s hands.
Elja charges out, running for the nearby village of Little Praha while the others fight for their lives. It’s no good though, and all the villagers are eventually captured by the Crows.
To prevent Kiano being killed, Mark blurts out that they found the wreckage of the plane. However, he’s murdered for his insolence as the Crows turn their attention back to finding the cube no matter what.
Out in the woods, Liv suddenly awakens as it turns out she’s still alive.
The Episode Review
Tribes Of Europa gets off to a fascinating start as this post-apocalyptic world comes into view and the central plot is revealed. It’s a simple quest in truth, as everyone fights over a McGuffin leading to an ancient artifact, but the world set-up feels rich in history just waiting to be experienced.
Each of the tribes seem to be speaking a mixture of German and English too, which backs up the idea that this is a fractured Earth. As a personal gripe though, it would have been nice to see some French, Dutch and other languages thrown in. Thankfully, the ruinous tombstones of our urban world help to give a sense of history that make it easy to look past this.
So far though, Tribes of Europa gets off to a pretty eventful and lively start with enough in the bag to make for a really promising fantasy prospect going forward.