Strategy games have a somewhat spotty history on consoles. Unless they’re designed from the get go with a controller in mind, you can almost bet that you’re going to be in for a frustration filled time. Eufloria has none of those problems. Omni Systems have transposed their magnificently odd PC strategy game to the PS3 perfectly.
The game is elegantly simple, with a number of asteroids in each world serving as your only selection points in the game. Units gather around these asteroids, as do the various trees you create. Managing your various buildings, units and upgrades is a flick of a stick and a button press away, and it all works smoothly on a controller. I never found myself selecting something by accident, and sending units to attack your enemies is fast and effective. In addition to this, creating new units is automated, leading to such satisfying scenarios as letting the game create hundreds of units before flooding an enemy asteroid with your horde of seedlings.
There is a vague hint of a plot to Eufloria’s campaign mode, but really it’s just window dressing to the skirmish maps you’re going to encounter. The game has a trophy for finishing the campaign within 10 hours, and I’ve already spent upwards of 8 hours in the game, and I’m not even close to finishing all the missions the game throws at you. That isn’t because I’m lazy, mind you. It’s because the game is hard. One false move can seemingly destroy every hope you have of completing a level, but it’s often not the case. Sure, it can set you back, but with enough perseverance you can certainly come back from the jaws of defeat to snatch victory. If you’re up for an even greater challenge, try out the Dark Matter mode. It’s beautiful and really quite difficult.
The game has been entirely rebalanced for its console outing, with improved AI and a fast forward button. If you’ve ever played Eufloria before, you’ll know exactly how much of a godsend this is. The game’s traditional pace, which you can select from a menu option, is somewhat sedate, and the fast forward option certainly helps move things along quicker. There are also Ancient Artifacts that add somewhat to the mystery of the world, providing strange statements that make little to no sense out of context. It’s a curious addition, but one that had me scouring planets looking for these little collectables. There’s also a new type of plant that allows you to set rally points for your seedlings. Seeing hundreds of the little things travel across the vast distances to a single swarm is incredible to watch. Also, terraforming asteroids becomes a necessity later on in to the game. Building a strong army is just as important as building a vast army.
If you’ve seen even one screen shot of Eufloria, you’ll know that it really is something utterly beautiful. A world generating itself before your eyes is something special to behold, with seedlings growing on branches almost everywhere you look. It’s a sparse world, with splashes of colour designating enemy types, but it’s startling to watch. Seeing a battle take place, with seedlings flying around enemies firing at them is almost mesmerising. Adding to all this, the music accompanying all of this is the best kind of ambient music. Relaxing and unobtrusive, it really sets the tone for the whole game. I can’t imagine the game without it.
If it hadn’t become eminently obvious by now, Eufloria is exactly what happens when you get strategy games right on a console. Elegantly simple and startlingly beautiful, it deserves to be played by everybody. If you’re up for a challenge, or just want to relax to some soothing music and colours, give it a spin. You might just like what you find.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Stunning visual style
- Perfect strategy controls on a console
- Excellent music
- Plenty of replay value
What I Dislike:
- Crushing difficulty at times
- No real plot to speak of