Eufloria, formerly known as Dyson, is a real-time strategy game built around the concepts of simplicity, ambience, and gentle pacing. It plays like an evolved version of Risk or Galcon Fusion, where sheer numbers and a good strategy are all you need to dominate. Eufloria isn't about warriors battling over blood-soaked soil. It's a slow, organic game that uses plants as its inspiration, challenging you to expand a seedling empire one asteroid at a time.
In Eufloria you are given control over creatures who live in an interstellar ecosystem. You expand their habitat by finding asteroids and sprouting Dyson trees, a plant that grows roots to the core of each asteroid and spawns seedlings. The more trees you plant, the more seedlings you have to defend your territory and wage war against the enemy.
Eufloria can be played entirely with the mouse, and ordering your seedlings around is as simple as can be. To deploy troops, click on the center of an asteroid and drag the mouse outwards. A green arrow appears that can be adjusted to send out a few or all of your seedlings. It's always nice to overwhelm your enemies with swarms of attackers, but don't leave your asteroids vulnerable, or you'll find out how frantic Eufloria can get in a pinch.
There are a handful of modes to unlock, but if you like, you can click the "unlock features" button to give them a try right away. The main game is a good place to start, though, as it gets progressively more difficult and introduces key concepts of the game at a gradual pace. Skirmish arena mode is a more battle-oriented mode that pits you against swarms of baddies bent on taking over your lone asteroid. Dark matter is the same as the story mode of the game, only now everything's dark, mysterious, and quite a bit more dangerous. There's even a slot to utilize community-made levels and mods!
Analysis: Instead of worrying about gathering resources, which soldier types to train, which buildings to construct, or which branch of your technology tree to research next, Eufloria makes everything simple. No tech tree. Two buildings. No resources. One kind of unit. Well, the last two aren't true in the strictest sense, but you get the picture. Eufloria is about ambience, not stat tracking, and it accomplishes this with extraordinary style.
As time passes, your Dyson trees get better at their jobs, producing units at a faster pace and releasing flowers that can grow enhanced Dyson trees that spawn better units. You can even grow enhanced defensive trees that drop laser mines. Yes, laser mines! This and a few other concepts are explained in the manual included with each download. It isn't necessary to read to understand the game, but I found the extra information came in quite handy.
Eufloria is not a "GRAAA GET YER WEAPONS MEN, WE SHALL BLOODY THE FIELDS WITH THE SEVERED HEADS OF OUR ENEMIES TONIGHT" kind of game. It's a game of careful thought, slow planning, a few snap decisions, and a lot of waiting. It's one of those titles a lot of people just won't "get", as it's not your typical gaming experience. If you leave your adrenaline-filled, twitch-gaming mind behind, Eufloria is a beautiful experience that will really grow on you.