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Review: Eufloria 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the growing-on-you dept.
eldavojohn writes "Eufloria is a strategy game made by independent game company Dyson. I bought it on the Steam service this weekend for $20 and was impressed that it is a visually and aurally pleasing game. It's a real-time strategy game, but isn't a rehashed Civilization or Age of Empires — it employs a different kind of mechanic to conquer. Like a lot of games that rely on novel game mechanics (Braid & Spore come to mind), part of the game's experience relies on you learning as you progress through the 25 or so levels. They will definitely push you to utilize different strategies and tactics, so don't read this review if you're already planning to play this game, as it'll most likely be filled with spoilers about developing a strategy. I give the game an average 6 out of 10 and would like to say that with titles like Braid and Eufloria out there, 'independent' no longer equates to 'sucks.'" Read on for the rest of his thoughts.
  • Title: Eufloria
  • Developers: Alex May, Rudolf Kremers
  • Publisher: Omni Systems
  • System: Windows
  • Reviewer: eldavojohn
  • Score: 6/10

The game's graphics and soundtrack are seemingly procedurally generated. If you find things like OS X and the Wii simple and aesthetically pleasing, then this game's for you. The very first thing I noticed was zooming. This game makes you feel as if you're staring at a petri dish, and you're capable of watching from 30,000 feet with little bugs flying around asteroids or you can zoom in and observe the battles the bugs are having. The music is very ambient and strangely soothing. Not only do your seedlings grow procedurally (depending on when you click the plant button) but the music seems to react to your movements and the commands sent to your guys. It's really an enjoyable experience that can make the hours melt away as you listen and enjoy the organic movement and music.

The gameplay is reminiscent to that of Risk ... except vastly simpler. The early levels basically run themselves, and it becomes increasingly complicated and more difficult. Multiple enemies, different kinds of weapons and decreased odds of winning slowly stack more and more against you. In this respect, patience is often a virtue as you grow more seedlings or wait for two enemies to attack each other, giving you a chance to win. Several times, however, my territory served as a battle area for the AI, destroying any chance I had. The early strategies being simple, I found myself employing a scout and move strategy to stay alive in later levels.

For what this game tries to be, it succeeds. The downsides of the game are more the additional features than a shortcoming in the design or the gameplay. As levels grew larger and more complex, I found myself staying at the highest possible view of my seedlings and conquered asteroids. It became a numbers game, with the strategy focusing on where to set up defense and where to set up offense. This becomes necessary to be aware of everything going on around you, but it reduces the graphics of the procedurally-generated trees and flights of your seedlings to blurry dots on the screen. While aiding you, it removes you from the things that make this game beautiful. An unfortunate side effect, for me.

Another flaw of the game is a pretty weak storyline. With trees and seedlings as your "actors," there's not a whole lot of human emotion and therefore the storyline (while containing a twist) seems weak and tacked on. Along with that, the game is short. You could squeeze perhaps 20 hours out of this game ... depending on how much patience you have. If you start doing bad at a level, you can always just start over and wait for the computer AI to slip up. The AI is not the best in this game. Several times the computer could have wiped me off the map ... but for some unknown, humanitarian reason chose not to. While that made it much easier for me, it sure destroyed my sense of accomplishment. All too often I got away with being very poorly defended.

The last complaint is a common one: no online mode. I imagine all my strategies would be revolutionized were I pitted against other players. When you play this game, you'll realize that it has a lot of player-versus-player potential, like the majority of RTS games rely on. And yet, there is no online or even LAN capabilities. Unfortunately, multi-player is not in the plans for Dyson's future.

Eufloria is a beautiful game and is priced reasonably. If you're an RTS fan, this game's for you. If you're a gamer who'd rather be planting bullets than trees, or a gamer who needs multi-player online play then this game isn't for you ... but it might be a nice break to steal away every now and then for a few moments of ambient music and procedurally-generated beauty.

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Review: Eufloria

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