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In the last few years, innovative minimalist indie games have become far more prominent and tackled several genres. Not many have tackled the real time strategy genre in all its complexity, but Eufloria HD is the exception. Developed by two mere mortals named Alex May and Rudolf Kremers, and originally released on the PC in 2009 and the PlayStation Network in 2011, this game has finally made it to the App Store as an iPad exclusive.
It seems to have been unwittingly designed to be absolutely perfect for an iOS port, with great minimalist aesthetics and stellar new touch controls. It still has some flaws, but this is definitely a game worth a second look.
Upon first seeing the game, it's easy to mistake it for some kind of painting. The unconventional nature of the game definitely makes it stand out. To put it simply, this is a real time strategy game about space exploration and galactic conquest, all conveyed through a plant life theme. Your planets are simple spherical asteroids, your units are winged seedlings, and your base structures are different kinds of trees. After sending an armada of seedlings to another asteroid, they'll colonize it, converting its core for their needs, allowing you to grow more trees. These new trees spawn new seedlings, so on and so forth.
As you progress through the campaign, you are slowly introduced to many new mechanics. Defensive trees that launch explosive homing seedlings towards enemies, beacons that mark where new seedlings should go, different unit types, and many other remixed versions of genre tropes. The main flaw with this game is really in the pacing. Since the original PC release, they've added a 2x and 3x fast forward function, but despite that, even on the fastest speed, the game can move along at a snail's pace. Oftentimes your seedlings are nearly wiped out, and the only thing for you to do is to sit and wait for more to spawn. You wait far too often in this game, unfortunately.
The ambient music matches the gorgeous visuals perfectly, and the game is very Zen. It can be rather challenging as well, and if things get insane, you can lower the difficulty to a more relaxed mode. There are also two extra modes, called 'Skirmish' and 'Dark Matter.' Skirmish mode offers more combat centric levels, while Dark Matter mode is just a far more fast paced and difficult campaign. You can unlock any of these from the get go through the options. This game is very nuanced, interesting and unique. It definitely is not for everyone, and even though I liked it well enough, many people will surely hate it. This is definitely the penultimate version of the game, though, with the most tweaks and easily the best controls. It's also the cheapest at only five dollars. As I said, it's an iPad exclusive at the moment, but this game is a pretty solid buy.