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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

Comments Filter:
  • Dyson. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by UseTheSource (66510)

    I bet this game never loses 'suction'! :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rei (128717)

      That's why they changed the name. :) It's based on the Dyson Tree [wikipedia.org] concept, but they didn't want confusion with the vacuum cleaners.

      Looking over how gameplay works, it kind of makes me think of "Masters of Orion", but, realtime, and with trees. Now they just need to make the enemies demand a tribute of negative money and create fleets of MAXINT or negative numbers of seedlings, then they'll be all set! ;)

    • a visually and aurally pleasing game

      Sure, but is it orally pleasing?

    • by Larryish (1215510)

      "Eufloria" sounds like the sort of thing that penicillin was made for.

      As in "Oh shit, I hope that hooker I just screwed didn't have eufloria!".

      Way too much punctuation in that second sentence, btw.

  • For the record... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Monday November 23, 2009 @11:40AM (#30203150)
    Civ is NOT real-time strategy. Why should I take the rest of your review seriously??
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      Mmm. Bear in mind we're talking about a regular Slashdot article contributor who can't even score a job as an editor, and that's on a site where the criteria for employment appears to be "Must not be beyond all reasonable doubt a small shell script".
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by IQgryn (1081397)
        Large shell scripts, on the other hand are perfectly acceptable.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eldavojohn (898314) *

        Mmm. Bear in mind we're talking about a regular Slashdot article contributor who can't even score a job as an editor

        That's not really my goal ... do you assume every time you read "<someone> writes" that <someone> is trying to 'score a job as an editor'?

        , and that's on a site where the criteria for employment appears to be "Must not be beyond all reasonable doubt a small shell script".

        I assure you, sir, that I am twice the shell script you are! :-D

        It all makes sense now. Why Zonk moved on to do something else. Why Soulskill rarely posts a game review (four or five in a whole year?). You'd have to be insane to write reviews for games on this site. So far the discussion has been about me labeling Civ as an RTS -- I'm sorry, my mistak

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheSunborn (68004)

          The reason nobody talks about the game, is that you did not describe the game at all. And you describe it as "risk but simpler". How the hell can it be simpler then risk? What are the main gameplay points and what the hell is the game about.

          Oh and what platforms does it run on. This one is importent. For all the jokes about "Does it run linux" the answer is (According to their faq) that Yes it does run on Linux. (And maybe on Os X too, but the faq is a bit unclear about that).

          • by KDR_11k (778916)

            The main gameplay elements are waiting for more seedlings to spawn and crushing the mostly harmless AI with superior numbers.

        • by davek (18465)

          we love you eldavojohn.

          seriously.

          • by Rogerborg (306625)
            It should go without saying - but apparently doesn't - that I wouldn't troll him unless I loved him.
    • by megamerican (1073936) on Monday November 23, 2009 @11:45AM (#30203234)

      Maybe he meant a real-time-consuming strategy game. Both of those games (CIV and AOE) have consumed more of my life than I'd care to admit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Depends how you approach it. One would say that a pizza is a turn-based strategy game because its sliced in to pieces and you usually approach it one slice at a time, making turns for every slice. But what happens when you put two slices together? Or go wild and round the whole pizza as a tortilla? Turn-based strategy game turns in to a real time strategy game.

      Just saying, there are multiple ways to approach a problem.
      • by MrNaz (730548) *

        I think the only way your analogy could be worse would be if you added moral disgust to total absurdity by comparing gang rape to a turn based arcade game.

    • Speaking of Civ...what's your favorite Civ variant. Right now, I'm having a lot of fun with the open-source [1] C-evo [c-evo.org]. It's a tiny Civ clone; the base game is 1.4megs 7zip compressed (without sound). Yes, this game fits on a single floppy. You'll need a second floppy disk to fit the sounds (about 900k). [1] The game is public domain with source code available, but the game is written in the proprietary language Delphi. No, it won't compile in Lazarus without work done on it; we've tried.
    • by mcvos (645701) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:19PM (#30203602)

      The review is not a review of the game, it's a review of the reviewer's experience with the game. Other than it being a real-time strategy game, he tells absolutely nothing about the game itself.

      • It sucks.

        Need to know anything more? :D

        More specifically the controls are awkward, and the game really doesn't seem to have very much to it. You just drag connections to circles. There is very little to do.

        • by Brian Feldman (350) <.gro.DSBeerF. .ta. .neerg.> on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:44PM (#30204528)
          Terrible summary. You don't mention a SINGLE mechanic of the game. I thoroughly enjoyed Eufloria and its various interacting features: asteroids with attributes affecting difficulty of capture, distances that the asteroids can send your troops if you route through it, attributes the asteroids confer upon troops that each one grows, defensive trees, offensive (standard troop generating trees) producing eventual flowers that can be sent to ay asteroid you own to turn defense trees into bomb producers and offense trees into super troop producers, fog of war that is revealed through scouting.

          You and the reviewer should be ashamed at how useless your contributions are.

          • by Sparton (1358159)

            You seem to be the right person to ask in the thread then...

            What is the objective of the game/each level? Somehow, amongst all of the complaints/defending of the game/review, that still doesn't seem to be mentioned.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Brian Feldman (350)

              The game's standard campaign (contrasted with user-generated levels which I have not played around with yet, though there is a community of mission makers on the official forums) generally picks one of two criteria for winning. Depending on the mission, you must either:
              1. Colonize every asteroid in the map.
              2. Eradicate those species that are not your own.

              You start off each level owning a particular asteroid, and you may have some seedling-generating trees and/or some seedlings with which to spread your col

              • by Sparton (1358159)

                Sounds entertaining.

                It really is a shame that this game isn't planned to be multiplayer, as it sounds like it has potential. That said, one of my roommates has been playing Mushroom Wars (I believe it is called), which is a PSN title that is an interesting take on the RTS genre as well, but we both feel that the game promotes defensive play way too much, which would make multiplayer absolutely terrible. So maybe it's for the best, or maybe Eufloria may not suffer from that, and something cool with multiplay

                • Plenty worth the $20 for me because this is the first RTS game I've ever really enjoyed :) I would love to play a multiplayer version if ever one was developed; the concept of a "zerg rush" is foreign to this game off the bat due to the requirement of colonization of intermediate asteroids before being able to reach enemies that are not neighbors. The balance between defense and offense feels good; even a planet full of grown defensive trees will fall almost instantly to a large enough swarm of enemy seed

                  • by Sparton (1358159)

                    Sounds unique enough to be worth experiencing, at least. As a game designer, I'm certainly interested.

                    Thanks for all of the insight, by the way.

                  • by KDR_11k (778916)

                    Multiplayer just wouldn't work. The first one to grab a valuable asteroid (and the way the game is set up those would not be fairly distributed) or get a flower at the right time will win. As always I'll point at Kernel Panic [springrts.com] which doesn't have such randomness despite being resourceless as well (and is free instead of 20$).

          • by KDR_11k (778916)

            You can do all that but in the end you just crush stuff with your 500 seedling army and if one thing is better than another that's nice but you captured both anyway (and it's not like the missions let you pick what to conquer anyway, almost all require capturing everything).

        • I played this game frequently for about a month. The reviewer clearly hasn't played the game for very long. While there are a lot of things to like about this game, it gets quite quite repetitive. Also, the AI is not very good. Once you figure out some basic strategy, the AI is no match for you. If the game had multiplayer, it be worth the $20. It's just too too repetitive to actually play for very long against the computer.
    • by Liambp (1565081)
      How did the parent get modded up to five for such a rude, lazy comment? The line rodrigoandrade objects to is entirely incidental to the review and strictly speaking incorrect because the original article doesn't actually say that Civ is an RTS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ultranova (717540)

        How did the parent get modded up to five for such a rude, lazy comment?

        Because pointing out that the Emperor has no clothes is not trolling.

        The line rodrigoandrade objects to is entirely incidental to the review and strictly speaking incorrect because the original article doesn't actually say that Civ is an RTS.

        The line heavily implies that Civ is an RTS, which is flat out incorrect; this, in turn, heavily implies that the reviewer has no idea what he's talking about. Add the fact that Civilization is one

        • They must not have paid very well to only get a 6/10 score. ;-)

          I have to agree with ripping the Civ gaff, however. How on earth do you compare it to a game you're unfamiliar with?

          • by ultranova (717540)

            They must not have paid very well to only get a 6/10 score. ;-)

            Does the score really matter? Most people aren't going to read he review, they are going to note that the game has been mentioned and either skip the discussion or join it. Besides, in the age of modern advertizing and the resulting cynical population, would giving the game 9 or 10 out of 10 be even remotely believable?

            There is no such thing as bad publicity, except for copy protection systems.

    • Read it again. He says Eufloria is a real-time strategy game. Then he says the Eufloria game mechanics are not in the style of Civilization. Those two statements do not imply that Civilization is a real-time strategy game. He later says Eufloria reminds him of Risk. Would you say then that he is implying that Spore is a board game?
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You idiot! Spore is *NOT* a board game!

        (Sorry, somebody had to follow the vaudevillian gag through to its logical conclusion.)

    • I'm more confused why he's trying to convince me to play a game that he rated a 6/10...

      ANYTHING that I recommend to others, be it games or anime, usually is an 8/10 or higher. 6/10 is for the bargain bin games that weren't entertaining at all and only for the niche crowds that love X-style game.

    • Because his knowledge and impressions of Eufloria are not dependent on his knowledge of the Civ franchise?

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Monday November 23, 2009 @11:42AM (#30203178) Journal

    If you find things like OS X and the Wii simple and aesthetically pleasing, then this game's for you.

    As long as you don't, you know, expect to actually run it using OS X or Wii...

  • Euflooria (Score:4, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Monday November 23, 2009 @11:44AM (#30203216) Homepage
    I will always know "euflooria" term as a winner in the monthly neologism contest run by Washington, DC columnist Bob Levey. It refers to the sensation of being on the Beltway in free-flowing traffic when the other side is at a standstill in a traffic jam.
  • Videos (Score:5, Informative)

    by snarfies (115214) on Monday November 23, 2009 @11:45AM (#30203228) Homepage

    The images on the official website aren't loading (probably slashdotted already), but even if they were, I don't think I'd have had a very good sense of what this game looks like without a video.

    Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBXpNpwDFzw [youtube.com]
    Gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EneQefAchHQ [youtube.com]

    Reminds me a little of another recent independent game, Osmos. Check it out at http://www.hemispheregames.com/osmos/ [hemispheregames.com]

    • by kalirion (728907)

      Reminds me a little of another recent independent game, Osmos.

      Hey, I just played the demo of that yesterday! Pretty neat concept and execution.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      This review is worth it just for the link to Osmos. That looks like awesome, can't wait to get away from the desk.

    • by raddan (519638) *
      Wow, cool. Thanks for the link.
    • "Osmos" looks like a modern variation of the old favorite, "Asteroids"; but at the cellular level.

      "Eufloria" looks like a "Star Wars" version of single cell life at a pond.

      They both look interesting to play, but my heart still thinks "Empire" is the measure. My settings on CIV4 are set to only one way to win, "By Conquest".
    • These graphics totally remind [blogspot.com] me of the Little Prince [wordpress.com].

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      Osmos reminds me more of Art Style Orbient, not so much Eufloria.

  • For people who like abstract open-source games, Cultivation [sourceforge.net] is a very interesting tiny (400k, 300k 7-zip compressed) game. You need to grow a garden, mate, and have children to win the game.
  • Snooooozerrr.
  • A) Create a logical thought process B) Why unnecessarily confuse readers? C) When did Slashdot become a place for crackpot game reviews? Isn't this supposed to be a news (or something approximating it) site? D) I'm trying to figure out what you mean half the time with all your squinting modifiers... E) Why bring up OSX, which this game won't run on, or conjure up the Wii, which focuses on hand gestures when this game does not, and is an unsuitable platform for RTS...?
    • A) Okay, I created one. Now what?
      B) Would it be better if he necessarily confused them?
      C) A game review about a potentially up-and-coming game seems appropriate. Is this any different than reviewing a book? Besides, no one made you read it, and I'm sure some gamers out there found it useful.
      D)Go back and read your post. Do you *really* want to be a pedant about sentence composition?
      E) Did you miss the part about finding them "aesthetically pleasing"? He was clearly referring to the "clean" style of graphics

    • by aflag (941367)
      fyi, according to wikipedia it does run on Mac OS X.
  • I'm not quite sure based on the review, but is anything procedurally generated in this game?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hi, we generate all of the art (font excepted) and pretty much all of the levels procedurally. Cheers! - Alex

  • From the demo download page: "You may have some luck running the Windows version in a VM like Wine." I would have thought that a game developer might be able to do a bit better than that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Being a game developer doesn't necessarily mean they know anything about Linux, Wine, or the free software world in general. In fact, I'd say most game developers don't know or don't care about their game running in *nix. And for the few that do care, I forgive them little mistakes like the above.
  • by MORB (793798) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:13PM (#30203540)

    The article lost any credibility to me when it mentioned the "novel game mechanics" of Spore, which is nothing more a collection of boring mini-games that are all simplistic and non-challenging versions of actual games, along with a glorified avatar customization system.

    • The novelty of Spore's game mechanics is not the fairly simplistic action and strategy levels, but rather the creation of your own species and civilization and the automatic downloading of user-created content from all across the internet (massively singleplayer). The game is about being creative, sharing those creations, and having just enough fun to keep at it. I'm afraid you missed the point.
      • by pwfffff (1517213)

        Yeah but nobody would be complaining if they had actually CALLED it 'The Sims: in SPACE'.

  • There was a Linux version available. Here's hoping that they make a release for the final version :)
  • by outlander78 (527836) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:19PM (#30203598)
    Lately, I have become enamoured with legal, DRM-free digital download content providers such as gog.com (for games) and filmbaby.com (for indie movies). There are many similar sites, but they come burdened with DRM, which I am not interested in supporting or being bogged down by. Given the slashdot community's general dislike for DRM, and hopefully support for indie developers of content, I am hoping you folks can suggest other such sites. So - care to share any favourites?
  • Other games. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tei (520358) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:20PM (#30203614) Journal

    Go get your googles:
      - Galcon, better version of the Stars! idea.
      - Gratitous Space Battles. strategic shop design
      - Mount & Blade. Medieval sandbox withouth termination date (infinite gameplay) with a awesome community (YES, there are a LOTR and German and Star Wars mods)
      - Plants and Zombies (there are zombies on your lawn)
      - Puzzle Quest

    And If you want FPS arcade:
      - Tremulous (gloom like gameplay)
      - OpenArena (quake3 like gameplay)

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Googles gotten:

      Galcon [galcon.com]
      Gratuitous Space Battles [positech.co.uk]
      Mount & Blade [taleworlds.com]
      Plants [wikipedia.org] vs. Zombies [popcap.com]
      Puzzle Quest [wikipedia.org]

      Tremulous [tremulous.net]
      OpenArena [openarena.ws]

    • by IICV (652597)

      You made me vaguely excited when you said that Galcon is a "better version of the Stars! idea". Pity it isn't - after trying Galcon, I have to say that statement is equivalent to saying Risk is a better version of the Warhammer 40k idea. They're entirely different in terms of simulation scope and detail.

      Honestly, it seems like Galcon is basically the same game as Eufloria, with a different skin.

  • I'll just play this [kongregate.com] instead.
  • by StefanJ (88986) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:34PM (#30203750) Homepage Journal

    This appears to be based on Freeman Dyson's essay "The Greening of the Galaxy," published in the autobiographic essay collection Disturbing the Universe.

    He implies that the whole paradigm of current-model humans settling on Earthlike worlds is rather unlikely, suggesting instead tailoring life of all sorts -- including trees -- to live on comets and Oort cloud bodies.

  • by Esteban (54212) *

    Wait -- I'm not supposed to read the review if I'm planning to play the game?

    What if I'm not sure if I'll like the game - wouldn't reading the review be a natural way to figure out whether I should try it?
    I guess if I'm undecided, I am not yet *planning* to play the game, so I should read the review. Shoot, what if I read the review and it sounds perfect for me? I will have at the same time ruined the game by exposing myself to all the spoilers.

  • I'm confused, where are the pointless buxom three-dee graphics with realistic jiggle effects!? I can't see how this game could ever attract gamers!?
  • a game from a vacuum cleaner company to suck ?
  • Uh what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mantrid (250133) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:45PM (#30204540) Journal

    Reading that review was kind of like reading and reviews or something, I give it a 5 out of A. If you like games then the review. But it was good.

  • Age of Empires? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Didn't you mean "isn't a rehashed Warcraft" or Starcraft? These are the games that "defined" the genre, not AoE.

  • Am I the only one who is reminded [blogspot.com] of the Little Prince [wordpress.com] by the graphics of this game?

    What a total ripoff!

    Jk. But really, I am very pleased by the aesthetics of this game.

  • Eufloria is another one of those wayyyy over hyped indie games that is supposedly elegant, but actually is just rather simple. I found the gameplay shallow and the art design produced a big 'eh' from me. It's kind of sad, the best indie games are the ones that are /not/ polished, or have outdated graphics but still mange something special. But all the indie games people feel comfortable talking about is the ones with rounded edges but still less fun then what's on the cover of gaming weekly.

    It's like pe

  • There is an open source clone of Dyson called Quantum http://apistudios.com/hosted/marzec/quantum/ [apistudios.com]
  • One of the common complaints that wasn't covered in this review was the lack of "Rally Points" in this game. It was requested several times on the steam forums but the developers there actively refused it (Source: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=11634198&postcount=4 [steampowered.com]).

    When I tried the demo, the lack of Rally points made things very tedious when I wanted to pool together all my units on the perimeter in order to maximize defense. I would have to click each area and move everything man

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