MSRP: $14.99 (Steam) / $4.99 (iOS/Android)
Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, PSN, Blackberry Playbook
In case you all think I just keep playing something new every single day and never revisit things – well, that’s mostly true. But the past few days, I’ve been binge-playing RimWorld (Early Access) since the release of the new update, and after watching colony upon colony meeting dismal and bloody ends, I needed something a little happier to take my mind off things. Eufloria HD is a game I picked up in a Humble Bundle back in 2012 – almost 2 full years before the rework of the game. Way back then, the words “procedurally generated” still scared the bejesus out of me, so it has sat, unplayed in my Steam library for a really, really long time.
It breaks my heart a little bit, because it really is a beautiful and relaxing light strategy game, and relaxing strategy isn’t a combination you find too often. While it doesn’t have the instant pizazz of a title like PixelJunk Eden, it’s got a mellower ambient soundtrack, and fairly simple controls in an easy to understand framework. Designed around the hypothesis of a tree that can grown on asteroids, you guide seedlings from one asteroid to the next, planting trees to produce more seedlings as you explore.
And really, it’s just lovely to look at. Playing through story mode will introduce you to concepts slowly, and is highly recommended since many of the controls aren’t intuitive as the HD update also reworked controls for easier play on touch screens. Once you understand how it works, however, it doesn’t feel terribly clunky, which is nice.
Not everything is peace and flowers – starting with the third story mission you’re introduced to an enemy intelligence, and this is where the strategy portion of the game kicks in. There are 25 levels in story mode, as well as two alternate game play modes, and two difficulty levels. When you consider that every level is also procedurally generated, making the game play slightly different every time, you’re looking at pretty much infinite replayability.
While it irks me that there’s a full 200% markup on the non-mobile version of the game, it finally hit a 75% price reduction in the most recent Steam Summer Sale. However, you’re the type to unwind with your smart phone or tablet, $5 feels comfortable for how long you’ll be able to play Eufloria. There is a demo on Steam, as well as as demo version of the Android app so you can try before you buy to make sure it’s a game that suits you.