Eufloria HD Review
Eufloria HD takes a fairly basic RTS formula and paints over it with the serenity of games like flower to create something that’s pretty weird. At its core, Eufloria is about killing your opponents and taking over their territory, but the graphics and sound of make it an almost meditative experience. Never has a game been so relaxing and so intense at the same time. While Eufloria HD has a number of problems with its gameplay mechanics and controls, the tone is so unique that it alone warrants a playthrough.
In Eurloria HD, you play as a blooming population of plant life spreading throughout the galaxy. Your entire species originates from a mother tree and your goal is to send your seedlings from asteroid to asteroid in order to grow your genetic line. Unfortunately, there are other species of space faring plant life in the galaxy, and they want these asteroids just as much as you do. Thus you are left with only one choice… TO DESTROY EVERY OTHER PLANT SPECIES WITH LASERS FIRED OUT OF YOUR SEEDLINGS!
The basic game flow should be familiar to anyone who has played an RTS before. In the early stages of a game, you are basically just setting up your base and getting your first few units out. In Eufloria, this involves sending a few seedlings to nearby asteroids. Unlike most RTSes, Eufloria doesn’t really allow you to pick and choose the units that you build. Instead, each asteroid has its own unique stats and if you manage to plant a tree on it, all the seedlings that tree produces will inherit the asteroid’s stats.
This actually produces a fairly interesting tug-of-war feeling to the early game. Most of the time, better asteroids are located far out in the neutral zone between you and your enemy. You can try to rush to these asteroids, but that spreads your forces dangerously thin, vulnerable to enemy attack. On the other hand, you can slowly expand your forces throughout the galaxy and attempt to conquer the enemy with greater numbers, but a few strong units might chew through you if you delay your conquest too long.
Unfortunately, late game strategy isn’t quite as interesting. Once the screen is filled with seedlings there’s not much you can do to turn the tide of battle. Micromanagement is nearly non-existent. In fact, the only way you can really exert control over your massive hordes of seedlings is to sort them by stat, which doesn’t help a whole lot. Really, the only thing you can do is throw your hordes of seedlings at the enemies and hope that your stats are better than theirs. It’s really just a numbers game and it makes longer battles feel shallow at best.
Eufloria HD is another one of those mobile to Vita ports that feels like it’s not taking advantage of all the Vita has to offer. It’s controlled solely through the use of the Vita’s touch screen, which makes sense considering its mobile device origins. However, there’s no particular reason why the face buttons, shoulder buttons, control sticks, and back touch pad couldn’t also be integrated. They could have been used as shortcut keys to actually give the game some degree of micromanagement capabilities.
In addition, the touch screen only interface has its own flaws. It’s nearly impossible to select your seedlings fast enough in the middle of a large battle to make much of a difference, and this just adds to the “ram your face into the enemy” feel of the endgame. You can make use of waypoints and group selection to make your troop management a little bit more efficient, but it doesn’t help much.
Eufloria is certainly a “beginner’s RTS”, which is all well and good for people who need an introduction to the genre. However, it feels very shallow and lacks the RTS mechanics and nuances that characterize the genres finer titles. If you are looking for a particularly challenging game, then Eufloria is not the RTS for you,
But, there is the meditative quality the game has, which meshes well with the shallow mechanics. There’s something serene about simply setting your way points and watch the battle play out without even touching it. You can zoom out and just watch the lasers and petals fly around without a care in the world. People who enjoy watching long chain reactions in Candy Crush or Bejeweled will love zoning out as the carnage unfolds before them. It won’t even particularly matter if they win or lose, and that’s a good thing because as was stated before, there is not much you can do to effect the outcome.
In the end, the quality of Eufloria HD will directly tie in to how much you enjoy not playing it. If you can just appreciate the visuals and music, you’ll get tons of mileage from this simple and artistic game. However, challenge minded gamers will simply find the shallow battles to be boring and repetitive. To be fair, boredom sets in no matter what type of gamer you are, but if you get in a few cool 'space out sessions' then you will have gotten your money’s worth.
This review was based off a retail version of Eufloria HD for the PS Vita.