Well, that might sound cooler than it actually is, but Eufloria is our latest go-around at Indie Impressions. Developed by a trio of indie devs, Eufloria was released in 2009 for Windows and later released on Linux, OSX, iOS, Android, and PlayStation Network. Here is Steve and Greg's take on the game after playing a few hours.
I'm not entirely sure what to think about this game. On one hand, it wants to be a stressless "chill" game about populating planets and sectors with your spore kingdom. But on the other hand, the mission difficulty hugely varies and it can be somewhat difficult and stressful at times. The visuals, sound, and gameplay elements are very soothing and relieving, but this contradicts with scenarios where the player starts deep in a hole and needs to quickly and precisely expand in order to have a chance in gaining the upper hand on a map.
Gameplay for each level moves as follows: The player begins with control of some asteroids along with an army of spores. Our task is to proliferate across the region and claim each land matter for the mothertree. Some of these will be bare and ripe for conquer while others contain hostile forces that need to be forcibly removed prior to fertilization. To assume control of each land mass, the player must own a tree to claim its planetary core. On bare planets, a fresh tree must be created, and this requires a sacrifice of ten spores. On populated planets, this requires a hostile tree to be destroyed and root pathways to be accessed for infiltration. As spores bombard the core, the defending asteroids lose their energy. Once conquered, any remaining trees automatically turn over control.
Player-controlled trees create spores over time along with defensive mechanisms, forming a perpetual miniature army. After you have enough trees grown and control enough land mass, victory is but an inevitability. This part of the game is the relaxing one, where you can go about building your army and exploring nearby masses with no real threat to your outcome. But the feverish initial rush and expansion in certain scenarios seems a bit offputting towards this game's experiential goals.
The latest version, Eufloria HD, does not yet have an official release on PC, but it already seems to make strong enhancements to every aspect of its presentation. It also includes a stronger tutorial system and (I assume) some rebalancing to take out some of the difficulty spikes. Judging on a brief trial, this should be an excellent definitive version.
As for my sum impression of the base game, it's pretty, minimalist, generally relaxing, and a fun match if you're looking to play a casual title during some downtime.
Once again, Steve pretty much steals everything I was going to say, but I'll give it a shot anyway.
Eufloria gives off the illusion of being a relaxing game, graphically and aurally similar to NightSky at times, but the gameplay doesn't follow suit. Since it's essentially a real-time strategy game at heart, you'll sometimes need to click and react quickly, defending your asteroids from incoming enemies, or simply build up a huge invading army of your own for an onslaught.
But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my time with it, Eufloria just seems to build up some false expectations. In a game where everything from the music to color scheme makes you want to drift off, it's somewhat bothersome that you actually have to pay close attention to beat certain levels. While the game can be fun, I feel like the developers missed the mark on what kind of game they were going for. I'm not really one to suggest what sort of changes should have been made, but I feel the game forces the player to rely heavily on watching numbers grow bigger and paying close attention to asteroid stats. If they would have translated those quantifiable numbers into something a bit more in tune with the rest of the title, I think Eufloria would mesh together a lot better as a whole.
I would wait for the HD version, as of right now.