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Review: Eufloria 121

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 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:40PM (#30203148) Homepage Journal

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

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

    by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:40PM (#30203150)
    Civ is NOT real-time strategy. Why should I take the rest of your review seriously??
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:45PM (#30203226) Homepage
    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".
  • by PizzaAnalogyGuy ( 1684610 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:46PM (#30203238)
    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 MORB ( 793798 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:13PM (#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.

  • by mcvos ( 645701 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:19PM (#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.

  • by Vyse of Arcadia ( 1220278 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:33PM (#30203744)
    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 StefanJ ( 88986 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:34PM (#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 eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:40PM (#30204474) Journal

    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 mistake! It's turn based! Or about how it's a review of my experience of the game (what more can a review be than the reviewer's own experience?). Or a discussion about my rating system (I thought I said 'average' before '6 out of 10'). No one's actually talking about the game. I hope that merely means not a lot of people have played it ... I did not realize I wrote such an uninformative atrocious crime-against-humanity review.

    So much for casually writing game reviews!

  • Uh what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mantrid ( 250133 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:45PM (#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 on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:49PM (#30204578)

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

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Monday November 23, 2009 @03:07PM (#30204754)

    5.5 would be average.

    But it's a video game, everyone knows that video game reviews use the following scale:

    1/10: Dear god, my eyes, it burns, and is made by a small company.
    2/10: It burns, but they did give me the game.
    3/10: It burns, but they did include some trinkets.
    4/10: It burns, but they included cash money.
    5/10: It burns, but it's a big company and I want them to send me more games to review later.
    6/10: Game Sucks
    7/10: Game is Below average
    8/10: Game is Average
    9/10: Who cares about the game, the hype is great.
    10/10: Look at all the hype and advertising, this game must rule.

  • by TheSunborn ( 68004 ) <{tiller} {at} {}> on Monday November 23, 2009 @03:14PM (#30204820)

    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).

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?