Eufloria HD is a game to play while you're preoccupied. It’s a relaxing, undemanding RTS that rarely requires any serious concentration, instead rewarding you for nothing more than patience.
That’s probably intentional given its apparent attempts to induce a Zen-like state with its procedural graphics and ambient washes of sound.
It's hypnotic to the point that it’s easy to be blinded to the fact that you’ve been doing the same thing over and over for
Floral trance Combine its aesthetic and objective and you've got what feels a lot like space exploration within a petri dish. The object of the game is to colonise a series of asteroids with your seedlings. These are your basic units, in terms of both resources and frontline troops.
To colonise an asteroid you need ten seedlings. Once they’ve reached their new home they’ll produce a Dyson tree. This gradually spits out more seedlings over time, though you can speed up the process by making two trees.
All this is accomplished via a control system that is perhaps even more elegant than the point-and-click approach of the PC original. You tap to highlight an asteroid, drag your finger to another to send seedlings, and rotate a dial around your destination to determine the number you’re firing across. A final tap sends them over.
At first, it’s simply about moving units around and taking control of all the unoccupied asteroids. Then grey enemies come into view, and your task gets a little trickier.
At least, it does in theory. In practice, you simply need to bide your time. You’re encouraged to send out a single seedling to scout unknown asteroids and gauge the enemy force that awaits, but if you have two asteroids within range you can simply overwhelm them with sheer numbers.
Of course, that takes a bit of time, so your best bet is to stick the game on fast-forward until you have the maximum number of seedlings, then to send them all on a cavalry charge to blitz the opposition.
Trees won’t produce any more seedlings if there are a certain number on an asteroid, so in some cases you’ll shuttle units back and forth until you have a large enough force, but essentially you win by doing the same thing over and over.
Only on the later levels do things change, but by then it’s too little too late. There are perhaps five stages that could be said to offer any kind of challenge, and even then, once you’ve got a couple of asteroids churning out seedlings it’s only a matter of time before you gradually take over. Skirmish arenas and the tougher Dark Matter mode add longevity, but by that point you'll likely have grown weary of the game's simplicity and repetition.
Lost in space
The striking art style should at least make intergalactic domination look pretty, but it’s only in the close-ups that you really get a sense of the game’s elegant beauty. As the only effective tactical overview is when you're fully zoomed out, you'll spend the majority of your time looking at shapeless swarms of colour with one steadily eradicating the other.
All that said, there’s something enjoyably peaceful about the ability to dominate a galactic ecosystem while simultaneously enjoying a cup of tea and a round of toast. But Eufloria HD is a 4X game (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) in which the ‘exploit’ element is all too easily accomplished.