Eufloria straddles the line of what can be defined as simplistic and complex at the same time, while getting rid of the micro management systems of other real-time strategy games, yet is still able to contain a set amount of depth to make the game fully enjoyable.
The Mother Tree has decreed that her once great empire will be reborn and sends you out to conquer the unknown asteroids in space by planting one of two different types of trees. These trees will either be able to produce seedlings, which are the heart of your empire, or a defensive tree to protect your newest conquered asteroid. There is only so much space on each asteroid so knowing when to grow seedling-producing trees and when to build a defensive structure becomes paramount in the constant struggle of expanding and protecting your empire simultaneously.
Early on the Mother Tree realizes that you are not alone in space, and these unknown seedlings must be wiped out from existence like the plague she paints them as. Does this carry a more profound meaning about human kind itself, or is it truly about seedlings floating through space?
The seedlings produced on each asteroid retain that specific asteroids set of stats, which will affect the seedlings performance in battle. Energy determines the amount of health that each seedling will have, speed makes them move faster in combat, and strength controls their power. These different stats play into the strategy of what kind of tree to grow on each asteroid. You might think you would want to produce as many seedlings as possible on the asteroids with the best stats, but at the same time, this will make them vulnerable due to the lack of a defensive structure.
Once you have a formidable swarm orbiting your asteroid, you want to start venturing forth to new territories. Taking calculated risks into an unknown area produces tense moments, as you never know if you missed something with the scout that was sent ahead of time or what your opponent may be hiding and with what strength the seedlings might be. Once you send off your seedlings, you are unable to see what stats they have so you don’t particularly grow attached to them; they all become expandable peons in the grand scheme of things. Wrong decisions will no doubt happen from time to time, and misjudging an enemies strength will result in countless losses.
Sadly there is no multiplayer of any kind, but there is the inclusion of a skirmish mode. While the campaign follows the story of the Mother Tree and slowly teaches you everything the game has to offer, Skirmish mode sets you right into the action — making the game feel fast and more fun to play. Secrets can also be found orbiting around asteroids throughout the levels — by focusing and zooming the camera on these secrets, players are able to collect them.
If you happen to run out of seedlings or simply need more to defeat an overwhelming force, there is nothing to do but wait for the trees to produce more. There is a fast-forward toggle that can be turned on at anytime in either game mode to help quicken the process. Even the battles, which take place automatically, have players simply waiting to see if their counter stays higher than the A.I.s. Besides sending the seedlings off to fight, there is nothing else one can do to tip the outcome to your favor besides producing and sending more seedlings. Most battles are won by having the bigger army, although with the inclusion of defensive structures, a massive force can be stopped almost instantly.
The game has a very simplistic look when the camera is fully zoomed out, with colored shapes moving around a muted backdrops, but when the camera zooms in you get a better picture of the clean and vivid designs that Omni Systems Limited created. Each tree has multiply diverging branches, which sway in the vast emptiness of space and will never look the same as any other tree. You will never see two identical trees in the game. The ambient musical score ties it all together to show that you are truly alone in space.
With out looking like a serious and deep real-time strategy game, Eufloria is able to pull it off by adding a touch of depth in a rather simple looking design. I was surpsingly pleased to find out just how much depth this game has, and without the micro managing of other RTS titles, I ended up having more fun sending my seedlings off to their death than any recent RTS title.Note: Eufloria was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.