From The Morton Blog

Review: Eufloria (PlayStation Network)

Eufloria is a pseudo real time strategy title with an understated facade.

By , Contributor

What Eufloria is missing is a deep, enriching subtext, the indie-credible, minimalist approach opening itself up for something with a little bit of heft in its closing seconds. Delving into a mindset of war, Eufloria banding together newborn seedlings defending barely defined asteroids from an infected invasion, it all feels abstract with a clearly defined reason that never comes to fruition.

It's frustrating to see genre benders mince together familiar mechanics with the potential of creating something special yet miss its calling, more so when it's something as impassioned as Eufloria. The easier difficulty setting refers to the experience as sedate, wisely categorized as a calming mission into interstellar war with a visage of mere dots flinging themselves towards the opposing side. Kamikazes stood a better chance.

eufloria1.jpgThere's a wealth of strategy here, at times dimmed by a determination to remain random. Later asteroid belts are masses of defense as slick, keen AI takes clear advantage of a slip-up. Sucked into a gravitational pull, newly spawned seedlings make their sometimes one-way trip to take over in earnest, only leaving their home base exposed. Eufloria clearly knows when light defenses should be in effect, and luck becomes an all too precise quality in a title begging for something more free-form.

Fitted for consoles with a slick, demanding interface, the game loses none of its zest in the translation from PC to consoles, always a point of contention in titles without direct control. There's something about watching war-born abstracts descend onto another heavenly body, marching under firm orders, almost as if small dots are truly prepared for the conflict ahead. Speeding up this almost melodic rhythm feels like cheating, not in the literal sense, but in the frame of the action. It adds an intensity Eufloria clearly doesn't need.

eufloria3.jpgBased on mostly pasty, bright primaries, opposing strongholds seem solemn until under duress, reaching deeper into a wide array of nature-crafted defenses. Plant life sprouts from the interior, feeding off the energy within, determining the value of said base. Asteroids imbued with a healthier zest for life require precision assaults, either speed to zip by or all in with sheer brute force. It's like a universe where M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening never ended, plants destroying humans, only to go into galaxy scaled conflicts with each other.

At least, that's the subtext that seems to make the most sense.

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Matt Paprocki is a 13-year veteran of the video game, movie, and home media scene. He has written thousands of reviews, has been published on a variety of websites, and contributes his thoughts daily on a diverse range of topics.

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