PS3 Reviews: Eufloria Review

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Eufloria Review

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Graphics:

 

7.4

Gameplay:

 

6.8

Sound:

 

7.3

Control:

 

7.0

Replay Value:

 

6.9

Overall Rating:       7.1

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Omni Systems Limited

Developer:

Omni Systems Limited

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RTS

It’s one of the most imaginative takes on real-time strategy: replace military-type units with what amounts to the exact opposite: seedlings and trees. Those who appreciate the contrast will note that typically, we’re in command of units designed to destroy; here, we’re ordering around the building blocks of natural life. It’s a great idea. The simple yet refined gameplay is plenty accessible, the beautiful visual style is captivating, and the subtle music by Milieu makes the experience downright surreal. It’s just a little too…ponderous.

At first glance, there’s not much to the graphics. You only see a couple black circles on a bland, muted backdrop. But then you start to play; you direct your seedlings, plant trees and above all else, you zoom in to catch the colorful life triumphantly growing. The only downside is that we have to keep zooming out to keep an eye on the strategy element; it sort of downplays the intricate beauty of the presentation. Still, it’s very soothing. When an environment starts to get populated, you’ll see the natural splendor expand…just remember to zoom in.

The sound matches the visual flair and pervading subtle theme. I think it’s a little too subtle – the score can actually lull you to sleep – and the effects are a little too attenuated. It helps if you have a good pair of headphones, though; you won’t readily miss those low, pleasing tones. You will also notice a fair amount of variety as the levels progress, although I can’t say the music swells during complicated situations. Above all else, the look and feel is distinctly ethereal.

Of course, that means nothing is in your face, which is just fine. Eufloria is indeed a real-time strategy game at its core; your basic units are seedlings, which you need to populate “asteroids.” Asteroids are your bases, where you will plant one of two different types of trees (each of which require a certain number of seedlings). Bases can also be attacked by diseased invaders, which is why you’ll need a defensive tree that actually boasts a laser turret.

The turret is basically the only evidence of something related to death or killing in the game, and even that is somehow pretty. Now, while it may sound as if we’re talking about RTS Lite, you still have to consider most everything you would normally consider in this genre: timing, balancing your power, offense vs. defense; heck, you can even go scouting with a single seedling. The game really does place a strong emphasis on player choice and rewards you accordingly.

The campaign is of a decent length and there are additional gameplay modes, too. There are 8 maps available in the Skirmish Mode, and the Dark Matter mode gives the game another visual bonus by putting a twilight-like twist on levels from the campaign. Those levels are more challenging in Dark Matter, too. All of this adds to the longevity and makes us want to keep playing. But unfortunately, everything just seems too simple, too downplayed, and in some ways, too slow.

You can speed things up with a fast-forward button but that doesn’t really help much, and it diminishes the overall appeal of the game. Plus, with only two types of trees to plant and only one “unit” – your seedlings – this experience just never takes off. Too many of the levels start to feel like the same ol’ same ol’, and the AI doesn’t put up much of a fight. It really feels like we have a fantastic foundation for a AAA gem, but Omni stopped building halfway through.

There’s no multiplayer and you start turning to the alternate modes to get a little extra flavor. The campaign just grows stale too quickly, despite the excellent visual and orchestral bonuses. It’s really a creative concept – and that’s common in the digital realm these days – and the developer’s attempt at creating an accessible and oddly soothing RTS is interesting. I just don’t think they did quite enough with the formula, as the idea needed a bit more time to germinate. …I had to find a word that jives with the game’s singular style, you know?

Eufloria is a great concept that just feels a little undercooked. There’s plenty to be happy about, as the real-time strategy from a nature standpoint is innovative and the minimal backdrop works. The extra modes are fun and better justify the $10 price tag, and there’s a definite sense of satisfaction. But it’s too slow, there just aren’t enough things to do (and not enough units), and the campaign really starts to get tired way too soon. It’s great if you love refined, unique strategy games, though.

The Good: Unique, understated style. Great music selection. Refined strategy approach works. Additional modes add variety. Can be very rewarding.

The Bad: Not enough done with the concept. Feels too slow. No multiplayer. Campaign wears out too soon.

The Ugly: “It’s interesting but...can’t keep…eyes…open…”

10/13/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (3 posts)

LegendaryWolfeh
Thursday, October 13, 2011 @ 10:44:37 PM
Reply

Have this on Steam, it's quite fun and the colors make it pretty relaxing, though some of the levels get a little annoying..but overall i enjoy giving it a little time =)

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BikerSaint
Friday, October 14, 2011 @ 1:04:00 AM
Reply

Duh, dumb me.
I bought this game & tried playing it with 1/2 a beer-buzz-load on, dead tired, plus without bothering to check out the instructions first....but I guess what I really neglected to realize is that I guess now that you have to zoom in to see what's happening.

Sooooo I'm sitting there pressing a few buttons, & waiting, & and pressing a few buttons, & waiting, and pressing a few buttons.....and then 15 minutes goes by,....with ore of the same.

Well, you get the picture....I'm hopelessly awaiting to see something, and anything at all to happen.

Damn all those invisible sperm rockets, LOL


Oh well, I guess I'll try it again, only this time..... sober.....well rested......with my reading glasses on .....and tuned in to the instruction pages first, LOL




Last edited by BikerSaint on 10/14/2011 1:05:14 AM

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Lotusflow3r
Friday, October 14, 2011 @ 7:20:12 AM
Reply

One of my biggest surprises of the year.

I downloaded this willy nilly just because i wanted something. The demo hooked me so much that i got the full game instantly.

A truly inspired, mesmerising, fresh take on RTS. A complete breath of fresh air.

The pace of it is PERFECT. It's supposed to be relaxed and chilled whilst still maintaining that tense RTS feel. There's many features to unlock as you progress that keeps the gameplay ever evolving and adding much more strategy. I've become brilliant at it! I get as many as 600-1000 seedlings on multiple Asteroids within 20 mins, complete with bulking the status of each Asteroid. It's funny because i end up laughing and feeling so satisfied when opposition attempts to overtake one of my Asteroids, but each of their seedlings don't even make it on!

There needs to be more games of this tempo. It's such an innovative take on RTS. And that ambient music (created to cater to the relaxed flow of the game) by Brian Grainger is gorgeous.
The game's aesthetics are reminiscent of children’s books and i think that adds a lot more to the charm.
It can't do too much more than it does because that would eliminate it's point. As it was progressing, the game was introducing too many new features imo, obviously by the time all those features were available, it fitted, but i was becoming worried for it's main hypnotic hook.

Not everything you can do or things that determine strategy i.e. Asteroid stats and core energy or the fact you can enhance your seedlings to a special kind by planting a special flower in an Asteroid - are touched upon here. That should be an indication at how much it's got going for it even though it's supposed to be a soothing, ambient, relaxed experience.

8.5 from me. A complete surprise and a good piece of therapy to Dark Souls (which im doing bloody good on!).

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