E3 2011: Eufloria Preview Hands-On

We conquer alien worlds with an army of seeds in this downloadable strategy game.

Life on other planets does exist, and those foreign bodies are colonizing meteors right now. Eufloria is a strategy game set in the desolate confines of space. The methods of infiltration are not laser beams or vacuum bombs, though. Instead, you plant trees and command seeds, populating alien worlds with the flora needed to turn a floating rock into a thriving home. We spent a while with this downloadable game today and came away feeling like an expert tactician with a noticeably green thumb.

Planetary conquest is your modus operandi in Eufloria. Your battle map is composed of a series of meteors, asteroids, and other orbiting bodies, and you control a tiny army of voracious seeds. Invading another planet is as easy as selecting the place you want to inhabit and sending seeds on a raid mission. You don't have direct control over these courageous seeds; rather, they act on their own accord once you select their destination. If there are enemy seeds already populating a world, they will attack indiscriminately until all are destroyed. From there, they burrow to the center of their new homeworld on kamikaze missions until the planet's life force is drained.

Resource management is where much of the strategy lies. Seeds act as your currency as well as your weapons, and you exchange a set number to plant trees. Each planet can support up to five trees, and there are a few different types to choose from. The most necessary early on is a tree that adds to your seed population. Once you have a few planted, you can build up a decent-sized army, which makes scouting missions less punishing. The other tree we saw in the demo was one that acted as a defense against enemy invaders. We were also told about a waypoint tree that immediately summons new seeds to a specific planet, but we didn't get a chance to see it in action.

The thrill of conquest is high even though these battles are playing out between mere seeds. What look like tiny blips of light becoming fierce invaders when you zoom in, and seeing these microscopic fights play out is quite exciting. Winners are determined more by sheer numbers than individual troop types at this point in the game, but there are still stats to keep track of so you can plan your strategy. For instance, you want fast seeds against a planet populated by defensive trees.

When you hear talk of galactic conquest in outer space, it's easy to picture visuals that pop and burst with the immediacy of battles. But Eufloria has a much more subdued visual design. The setting is bleak and cold, echoing the desolate feeling of space. A dreamy musical score plays in the background, creating a relaxed atmosphere for your victories.

We played only one map in Eufloria, but we came away very impressed. Eufloria is due for release in just a few months, so check back on GameSpot to find out how the final product turned out.

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wait, eufloria was already released. why is it at e3? is it coming to xbox or something?