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[Review] Eufloria

Eufloria is a beautiful game that many won’t be able to fully appreciate. That’s what I’ve come to realize while playing the game. At first, most won’t know what they’re getting themselves into, because, by the looks of it, the game could be just about anything. Surprisingly enough, it’s a Real Time Strategy game. When I first started the game, it immediately reminded me of a board game I played as a child, it was called “War” (however, I believe the American name for it is “Risk”), a game where you commanded generic troops while aiming for total world domination.

In a sense, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing; playing as part of a very xenophobic empire known as “the Growers,” you’ll be taking orders from “the Mother” to kill pretty much everything in your way, just because they’re black. That was a bit of criticism I actually really enjoyed, and if you read all the dialogues and story, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Clearing levels demands you to conquer planets, which are used to grow your army. Your one and only units are seedlings. They’re used to attack and grow trees. These can be used for defense or to create more seedlings. One thing that will most certainly disappoint most RTS fans is the fact that that’s about it in terms of unit and buildings management. The only difference is that each planet will give different stats for the units grown there. This can be strategical, but in a very underwhelming way. The game plays very well, controls are easy enough and simple to use, however, selecting a specific planet on larger maps with tons of planets can get a little annoying.

The graphic style chosen for this game is perfect. An example of how to unite clean, beautiful, and effective, and that’s probably the best thing about the game. However, you probably won’t be appreciating all that so much, as it requires you to be very zoomed in. From that particular view, you won’t be able to efficiently manage your units and planets properly, and keeping an eye on the battlefield becomes very troublesome. All seedlings and trees make for a very beautiful environment, especially when they’re fully grown. Battles between you and your enemies are full of color, and sending thousands to conquer a planet is very satisfying.

The sound is pretty basic; a very slow and smooth soundtrack resembles a meditation sessions rather than the grueling challenge of conquering the universe, but it fits the look and pace of the game perfectly. Other sound effects are practically nonexistent and cannot be heard if you’re not close enough to the source, but are nice, too, and don’t break the mood for the game.

My biggest problem with this was the fact the game is too nice to you, especially on the campaign mode. Enemies are extremely passive and will politely wait for you to grow a massive army and send them all to their beautiful deaths. Eventually, it becomes a little boring, as your most difficult task is waiting for your army to get big enough so you can conquer a certain planet.

At least there’s a fast forward option. Otherwise, even more people would sleep before finishing a level. Another big let down is the fact you can’t manually command your units. Most times, this means more losses than necessary. It is also very annoying when you’re trying to send your army somewhere and it doesn’t let you decide the route you want to take.

The game is pretty massive. There are about 25 levels for the campaign and two more challenging modes, skirmishes, and “dark matter”; basically versions of the same maps, but with tougher and more aggressive enemies. I believe the amount of time you’ll be playing this depends greatly on whether or not you’re a patient person, but even early levels can take hours to finish. It’s a shame the most fun modes are only unlocked after you’ve beaten the campaign. The game could have been a lot more interesting if there was an online battle mode, but there isn’t, so you’re stuck with the game’s A”I”.

Eufloria is a good game that could have been great, but in the end, the overly simplistic battle system will feel shallow for RTS fans and its slow-paced gameplay won’t attract action seeking players. However, it’s important that you give this game a try for yourself. The Demo is available on PSN, because if you end up liking the style and atmosphere (and the cool story), this is very well worthy of your time. Just don’t expect to be playing it for years.

[review pros=”Beautiful and atmospheric
Easy to understand and play
Very relaxing
Offers a lot of content if you’re willing to play it” cons=”Pacifist AI doesn’t offer much challenge
Can get very boring at times
Unbalanced difficulty” score=80]

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Eufloria provided by Indie Games.