Game Review by Kenneth Andrews
Game Rating = 4/5 Balls
Just occasionally, something comes along to knock your socks off, a new way of looking at games. Introducing Eufloria, apparently an ‘ambient real-time strategy game’ (according to the website). In which the player must colonize an asteroid belt, often by force, using little seedlings with lasers. It’s a simple enough idea, but challenging to master.
The single player levels have an introductory sentence to set the scene, but every level of Eufloria I played in the trial version had much the same gist. Take over all the asteroids, wipe out enemies. The website says it’s all about mining, but you spread through the asteroids using trees and seedlings, so who knows? The story is not really the important factor here.
Ideally you should use a mouse to play, but I used the keyboard controls without any problems (I have a laptop touchpad). The playing area consists of a white space filled with circular asteroids, orbited by your seedlings. The seedlings can be used for several things: growing trees on an asteroid (either a defensive tree or a tree to grow more seedlings), exploring and colonising nearby asteroids, and shooting down enemy seedlings who may try and capture one of your asteroids. Strategy is paramount throughout the game. Different asteroids produce seedlings with different statistics, and they will only produce up to 32 per asteroid at a time. To keep the production rate up, you have to move seedlings between your asteroids, which allowed me a formidable army in no time at all. I did find the click and drag approach to moving the seedlings from asteroid to asteroid was a bit clumsy, though, and I never could quite get the hang of moving just a few seedlings. It was all or nothing.
Graphics and sound
The sound is virtually non-existent. No music, and minimal sound effects to denote combat, a new tree, or an asteroid changing hands. The graphics are similarly simplistic – the asteroids are black circles on a white backdrop, and the seedlings simple three-pronged shapes (which vary in size and shape according to their statistics). It gives the game a very stark feel, everything is secondary to the strategy element.
Creativity and innovation
Eufloria has originality in buckets. Created for a developers’ competition to showcase procedurally generated content, the whole thing feels like a design experiment. What’s surprising is that the game is extremely playable and fiendishly addictive, and it’s well worth $19.99 to encourage future development of the title!
Buy the game if you:
* Are looking for something new
* Love strategy games
* Value gameplay above other factors
Don’t buy it if you:
* Expect lavish graphics
* Have limited patience
* Prefer to have a strong storyline