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Eufloria HD (PS Vita) Review

/ May 5th, 2014 No Comments

Eufloria HD (PS Vita) Review

Eufloria HDwill without a doubt draw comparisons to thatgamecompany’s Flower. And probably even flOw. Honestly, any game that strives for an ambient-like experience will inevitably be grouped with similar brethren.

Downtempo music, simple gameplay and a general air of relaxation all wait for anyone wishing to experience Omni Systems Limited‘s touchscreen, HD version of Eufloria. Given control of a kind of celestial garden, this is a game that puts a different spin on the traditional RTS format. For a genre that traditionally relies on tense resource management, does Eufloria HD’s ambient approach clash too harshly?

Gameplay

Here is Mother Tree tasking players to expand the colonies in servitude of the Growers. In a very loose way, Eufloria has a plot. Yet it is one that mostly gives a method to the eventual gameplay.

Asteroids dot the playing field. Circling around them are seeds capable of flying to other asteroids and colonizing them. These seeds can plant trees that will yield more seeds and so on and so forth. But there are enemy seeds waiting to attack and dominate your garden. This is the basic formula driving Eufloria and the same formula that is at the core of any other RTS game. Resource management is king and these budding saplings are no different.
 

Eufloria HD

Gameplay is simple RTS at its core but provides various objectives to change up the fun.

Players target an asteroid to colonize–like moving troops to establish a secondary base of operations. Back at the home base, more seeds will grow. This cycle applies to most missions but there are often different objectives that give gameplay diversity. Different types of seeds can tackle enemies and asteroids in different ways and mastering their roles becomes important in later stages. Some of the more entertaining missions are the ones that force players to face off against overwhelming odds. Retreating to a distant asteroid, building up an army and then tanking through those opening opponents is very satisfying.

Keep in mind, though, that Eufloria is not a game primarily about action. Despite the genre it takes cues from, this is a game that wishes to inspire “euphoria” not tension, hence the title. Chapters can often take upwards of 20 minutes or more depending on how massive they are. With the simplistic gameplay and ambient nature, it might all sound like a bore, but the ease of playing Eufloria is part of its charm. Not hard and not easy make for a delicate system of entertainment. Those who find themselves too bored also have the option to increase gameplay speed. Along with additional modes outside of the story, Eufloria provides a nice overall gameplay package to Vita players.

One important thing to note is that the touchscreen controls work incredibly well on the Vita. Players are continuously poking at the screen to select units and pinching the screen to zoom in and out. It never feels awkward and actually makes gameplay that much more fluid. Controlling the game any other way seems almost silly.

Graphics & Sound

In a sense, much of Eufloria‘s visuals are muted. Zooming the view out to gaze at the entire field of asteroids often shows grey circles littering the screen. Backgrounds, much like the sky or space, are one color with tiny shade variations. But unlike the sky, there are no clouds listlessly floating along or stars poking out like bright pinpricks. It seems like a strange choice that more doesn’t actually happen in the background of the game to make it just seem like merely a small garden in a vast, empty space of color.
 

Eufloria HD

Color palettes are incredibly beautiful but the backgrounds are almost too static.

Despite that, there are unquestionably pretty moments because of the tree and seed aspects. Watching multi-colored dots swim around a grey asteroid is like seeing fireflies in the night. Unlike some RTS experiences, visuals don’t take a hit when zooming in. Where troops often look flimsily detailed, the trees sprout extensive branches that clash well with the color palette. Though it might not fully embrace its “HD” moniker, Eufloria is in no way ugly on the Vita’s screen.

For a game hedging most of its bets on delivering an “ambient” gameplay experience, a suitable soundscape is key. Explosions, voices and all other manner of audible chatter would be a detrimental distraction in Eufloria. Sound effects are mostly unsubstantial, which makes sense considering trees and plants don’t often make that much noise. One enjoyable touch is that seeds and other units usually make muffled noises from a distance. Zooming in to get a closer looks makes them buzz with life.
 

Eufloria HD

The ambiance of sound, visuals and gameplay are relaxing, fun and rarely boring.

Much of the game strips away complex instrumentation in favor of a select few notes and beats. Fans of an ambient music auteurs such as Brian Eno will gladly let Eufloria’s soundtrack nestle in their ears. This direction completely makes sense for the game. Even during semi-dramatic or tense moments where players are being invaded or fleeing from danger, the music remains dedicated to the soothing atmosphere established at the onset. The harmony created between both relaxed gameplay and relaxing sound is one of the biggest accomplishments of Eufloria.

Overall

Though it was birthed on the PC and later on the PS3, Eufloria HD really clicked on tablets and mobile devices. Here is a relaxing game where taps on a touchscreen translate to scenic and somewhat difficult gameplay. It only makes sense that the game made its way to the PS Vita. It’s a handheld that has already housed many unique games and Euflora HD is no different. Those who want to relax, plug in some headphones and have some fun will enjoy expressing their dominance over this otherworldly garden.

 

Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene

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EUFLORIA HD (PS VITA) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall80%

Gameplay8

A clever spin on an RTS, gameplay might be a little too relaxed for some. However, speed can be adjusted and a good sense of accomplishment comes from dominating maps.

Graphics7

Surprisingly, the game holds more beauty up close as budding trees and troops circle the asteroids. Backgrounds are often a few flat color shades and could have used some vibrant life.

Sound8.5

Your appreciation for Eufloria might live and die on its ambient tones. Gameplay might not be as relaxing as the music but they create a soothing harmony for the player.

Controls8.5

Though birthed from PCs, Eufloria naturally felt more comfortable on tablets and mobile devices. The Vita is no different and allows great and masterful control over the space garden.

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