24
Dec
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My fondest memories of the original Star Wars films were the starfighter dogfights. The first time you see the assault run on the Death Star, or the ill-fated attack on the second before it was finished, it's really cool to watch a bunch of fighter craft flying around, blowing the heck out of each other. Every once in a while, you can get the same sense of scale and calamity in a game - usually of the real-time strategy variety.

Eufloria is a game that manages to capture this sense of chaos, allowing you to zoom out to see the entire asteroid belt you're capable of conquering, or to zoom in completely to see each individual ship firing lasers at targets. All the while, you're given a very soothing soundtrack and very rewarding mechanics: it's a low-stress look at war.

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Eufloria's title comes from a heavy plant-based motif. Your soldiers are labeled "seedlings," and spawn from a tree that's planted on an asteroid. There are also other types of trees, which provide home-grown defenses and spawn powerful laser pod flowers that can turn the tide of battle. Each asteroid you colonize comes with a different set of attributes for the seedlings it spawns, letting you tailor your army to meet different threats. For instance, speedy seedlings will blow past enemy defenses on the way to other asteroids, while strong ones are capable of taking enough punishment to destroy them.

It's essentially a big rock-paper-scissors game with a zerg rush element to it, and it makes for a real-time-strategy that's easy to pick up and play. It feels less stressful than say, Starcraft, or Age of Empires. It prizes patience, preparation, and seizure of opportunities.

At its core, Eufloria's strategy comes from a focus on the big picture rather than individual units. Since you can't choose what your seedlings are attacking once they've been sent to an enemy asteroid, it kind of minimizes the amount of thinking you have to do. Instead of saying "okay, I'm going to prioritize this tower, then this enemy," your attention is shifted to whether an enemy is going to take advantage of your absence at a base.

However, as you play more of Eufloria, you start to realize that a numbers game can be paramount to winning. There hasn't been a map that I've run into that can't be solved by simply working on your economy until you have a sufficient amount of troops to just bum-rush everything. This usually takes the form of a number of "seed worlds" on the fringes of my colonies that can't be attacked without going through literally everything else I have.

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These planets just pump out new units, and because of the ability to set a waypoint closer to the war front, I can forget about them. Since there's little you can do to a planet after you've filled them up with plants, there's usually less to worry about; instead of checking on upgrade progress or queuing up new units like in a normal RTS, they're just there, producing new soldiers.

I suppose that's what contributes to Eufloria's lack of stress compared to other RTS games. Instead of having to constantly check on things and worry about minute mistakes spiraling out into a lost map, you can proceed with confidence knowing that with proper positioning, there are "safe" setups that you can count on. The game also allows you to unlock all the stages without playing a single one, which is great for skipping tough challenges or when switching to a new device.

Of course, this is going to provoke some detractors who say that the simplistic nature hobbles the game. They'd be partly right, but Eufloria's purpose isn't to be a hardcore title where theorycrafting and build optimization will bring you victory. My experience with the game reminds me a lot of playing Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness on my parents' PC. I wasn't playing multiplayer, and I knew I could beat the computer - it may have thrown me some curveballs every once and a while, but there was still some satisfaction knowing that if I wasn't dumb, there was a good chance I'd win.

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The overall experience of the game seems to ring a bit louder than comparing it to contemporaries. The touch screen environment allows for a greater sense of unit control, and the ability to zoom in and see what each fighter craft is doing is just plain awesome. The music and ease of use just make this an altogether great concept, and it's worth picking up.

However, for comparison's sake, I picked up the iOS version of this title and was severely disappointed when I noticed the superior optimization that version had. Everything just seemed a lot more smooth, avoiding the slowdown and performance hiccups when zooming in to a large amount of units. I suppose this is a consequence of having to develop for larger sets of hardware, one that will hopefully be ironed out in the future.

All in all, I can say that Eufloria is definitely worth your cash, and if you want a game that's going to suck you into a great strategy experience for half-hour increments, you cannot lose here. If you're a fan of the genre or are just looking for something a little bit more inviting, try out Eufloria; you won't be disappointed.

Matt Demers
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer that deals primarily in the area of Android, comics and other nerdy pursuits. You can find his work on Twitter and sites across the Internet.

  • Kevin Aaronson

    The slow down is really disappointing. I had feeling the apple release was superior. Hopefully they will optimize it for the nexus 7 and update the humble bundle apk. As always great review.

    • http://twitter.com/Alex_Amsel Alex Amsel

      There will be a new version in a few days which is vastly more optimised for recent Android devices. However, a lot of even recent devices suffer from abysmal lag problems that we can do nothing about.

  • Jon

    I absolutely love this game, thanks to your article last week bringing it to my attention. My only complaint is the lag. I have a Nexus 7 and an Optimus G (which has the most powerful CPU/GPU on the market right now) and both of them lag pretty badly when things start to heat up. My Nexus is running Paranoid Android with a custom kernel (overclocked) and it still lags. I know it's a new game and everything but I would like to see a lot of optimization done.

  • Donncha

    If you think the Android version lacks polish you should try the PC version. I have both and the Android version is a couple of versions ahead of the PC version.

    Despite the lag this game is definitely a good buy. It was featured in one of the Android Humble Bundles a while back so you might already have it.

    If things get too hectic play it in relaxed mode!

  • Matti

    Your mention of lagginess is heartbreaking, since I really want to play this game on my Nexus7. Hope a future update brings optimizations. Do keep us updated.

  • defred34

    Hah, do I not warn all of you the game lagged like mad on Android? Huh Artem, think I'm making up stories anymore? The kind dev has himself said something along the lines of "the best Android devices currently have gaming performances between the iPad 1 and iPad 2."

    So yeah, take that! Go buy a iPad dudes (like me and Matt) if you want to enjoy proper gaming. Android for gaming is a failed combination. Mind you, I like most things about Android, but not its gaming prowess.

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      Just an idea...
      Maybe the dev codes poorly on Droid and that's his excuse?
      Because I know a bunch of visually appealing and complex games that run perfectly on Android.

      Just an idea - because I know nothing about coding at all.

    • squiddy20

      1. OF COURSE there's going to be lag on most games when compared with their iOS counterparts! You're comparing an OS that runs on only 4 or so major variations compared to Android's hundreds of devices. If you never see the iOS version, you have nothing to complain about.
      2. The app was released first on Humble Bundle 4 only about 6 weeks ago, and the Play Store in even less time. Do you really expect an app from a small indie developer to be flawless and perfectly optimized for a multitude of devices in such a short amount of time?
      3. In AP's previous article about this game, the developer read about your "massive lag" comment and asked you specifically what device you were using. You replied with "a Tegra device". As if that's soooo helpful. Why complain about something but then not help the developer in any way to solve the issue?

    • GraveUypo

      go buy a proper console if you want proper gaming. or even a desktop pc.

      also pretty much any phone / tablet released this year is more powerful than an ipad2, the problem starts from there on. CPU-wise android is well-fitted, but the GPUs and RAM they put in them are pretty much always 6-months outdated when they launch with rare exceptions (like the galaxy s2 and the nexus 4 this year). still, that should be enough to play the latest games just fine for a while.

  • Thatguyfromvienna

    Why would I want to waste 5 bucks on a laggy game?

    • squiddy20

      It's really only noticeable when comparing the iOS version to the Android version. I've been playing it regularly on an underclocked Galaxy Nexus and it's pretty smooth.

  • dsass600

    The lag can be contributed to the shitty coding of the app.

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