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The Eufloria universe, the game series surreal strategy enthusiasts will remember as That Thing Wot Was Probably Once A Dream Jim Morrisson Had In The ’70s, is expanding with a new RPG game based on the now-dead Eufloria Adventures.
It’s fittingly called Eufloria RPG [official site], a game in which you command a ship which can plant colonies where it travels. This is being developed on the old Eufloria Adventures engine by series slatwarts Omni Systems Limited, along with a little crew known as Tuna.
At the intersection of three of my greatest passions – plants, wandering, and watching plants grow – sprouts a new work-in-progress look at the tech behind Starboretum [official site]. Also trees. Lots of trees. They sprout, rise, branch out, and spread their leaves, powered by magical procedural generation. Starboretum’s made by Alex May, one half of the duo behind arboreal RTS Eufloria. As an expert virtuatree-watching wanderer, I must say this video is just the ticket for a Friday afternoon.
Doom is awesome! Maybe not the state of being doomed. Or even that movie where The Rock forced his cooking down alien olfactory senses. But domiciles of doom? Better than cottage cheese. Master of leafy strategy games Alex May recently released a remake of Cottage of Doom, his winning entry in 2007’s TIGsource B-Games competition. The idea behind this piece of lo-fi goodness is a simple one. You’re one of six characters. You’re alone in the forest, with nothing for company but shabby wooden furniture and a bug-eyed moose head. You’re also the heart d’oeuvre in an undead feast for hundreds.
Eufloria grew from PC indie development, before snapping loose a seedling and floating off to colonise more mobile asteroids with Eufloria HD. Now it’s returning. The neat strategy game about expansive space gardening launches its expanded remake today on Steam, and features a new 25-level story mode, a ‘relaxed mode’ for ambient experiences’, and more. It’s also free to anyone who purchased the original game.
Eufloria HD is an iPad-only port of Eufloria, an indie PC and PS3 game created by a team of three game developers—Alex May, Rudolf Kremers and Brian Graingerm. It's a stripped-down real-time strategy game where players control colonies of trees and seedlings, each of which is spread out among a group of tiny asteroids. (The trees in the game are called "Dyson trees," deriving their name from the Dyson Tree, a hypothetical genetically-engineered tree that can grow on a comet.)
At the start of each level, players have control of a certain number of seedlings, little fly-like beings that flit around and between the circular asteroids like bugs around porchlights.
If you have enough seedlings around an asteroid, you can plant a Dyson tree, which serves as a base of sorts and causes more seedlings to grow. A tree can only support so many seedlings, however, and so comes the gameplay imperative—expand, expand, expand. Conquer new territories, and in doing so, complete each level.
Your colonial expansion is complicated by the presence of other enemy trees and seedlings. The moment they appear, you are commanded by your more-than-a-little-fascist "Mother Tree" to exterminate all of them and take over their asteroids. Of course, enemy seedlings fight back, so the game turns into a series of tense skirmishes as you route your flocks of seedlings quickly through your network of asteroids, volleying attacks onto enemy locations while watching your back for flanking.
Eufloria HD can be played at any of three speeds, which makes it easier or harder, depending on what you're in the mood for. At a slower speed, it feels much more meditative, while the higher speeds strip away any pretense of placidity and reveal the steely-eyed conquest machine within.
Eufloria HD's greatest strength lies in the simplicity of its basic systems. There aren't very many unit types, and so there's very little to keep track of. Most skirmishes come down to numbers and unit allocation.
A good number of seedlings are required in order to conquer larger enemy outposts, but in order to keep them moving, you must be constantly grabbing and re-routing seedling troops from other locations. It's a fun, constant yo-yo between attacking and resource management, and once you get used to the controls (which doesn't take too long, as they are well-implemented), you'll be directing your seedlings all over the battlefield like a seasoned general.
There is something off-putting about the story—it's just so alien and cold. It almost feels unnecessary—did a game like this really need a story? Eufloria HD says quite a bit simply via its framing and mechanics. In fact, the game feels somewhat like a philosophical riposte to Flower. ThatGameCompany's soothing PS3 game was all about nature and life, growth and expansion… but told as an "up with plants!" redemption story.
Eufloria HD is also a game about nature and life, growth and expansion, but it feels much more primal. It's about the constant, kill-or-be-killed struggle of the natural order, the winner-take-all quest to survive and propagate at all costs.
But that's the way of things, and it's most certainly the way of the game. Once I grew comfortable with my game-reinforced bloodthirstiness, I found myself greatly enjoying the constantly engaging flow of Eufloria. Planting a garden never felt so cutthroat.
Eufloria HD [App Store]
Though Rudolf Kremers and Alex May don't have a firm date to announce yet, the indie developers behind Eufloria have confidently revealed that the release of their surreal real-time-strategy game on the iPad and iPhone is "imminent." What's even better is that the upcoming iOS version of the game won't just be a straight port, and will incorporate a bunch of new improvements.
Eufloria saw its initial release on PC way back in November of 2008, but also made its way onto the PlayStation 3 in October of 2011.
In a post on the official Eufloria development blog, Kremers describes the latest iteration of Eufloria as "the most comprehensive and enjoyable release of Eufloria to date." The iOS version is being co-created with Tunatech, another small indie team.
New music, new features, new content are all promised, alongside a new touchscreen UI. Though a price-point wasn't mentioned, the cost of Eufloria on iOS "will be pretty darn reasonable," according to the developers.
Kremers also teases a new "Ambient Mode," planned for the first update "that is more about nurturing and growing, relaxing and playing with the new terraforming mechanic."
In the meantime, feel free to check out the new trailer for the iPad version of Eufloria.
Too many indie sales! THERE ARE TOO MANY INDIE SALES. Some of us poor PC journalists need to have dinner you know, but noooooo, here comes another announcement about bargain-priced electronic entertainments of most excellent quality. Back to the internet with you, Meer! This time around, the good tidings of money-saving are the third Indie Royale collection, aka The Really Big Bundle, and it’s a bit of a cracker. (more…)