The simple game that kept me playing for 11 months

After having played it for 11 months, Eufloria now has a place in my mind and heart.

The game that made me feel like the commander of an intergalactic fleet of “seedlings” has all but dominated my time spent on my iPad…and has been the cause of much heated angst between myself and my partner, who tends to resent my obsessive gaming tendencies.

I feel Eufloria is a game that is perfectly representative of the type of experiences available on mobile devices, games that dictate staunch attention and strategic thinking.

How is it that a game so affordable, so minimalistic in design, and so simple in execution was able to demand so much of my time over such a long period?

It’s quite telling that, despite having so many great games available to me, Eufloria is easily in the top 2 or 3 games I’ve spent time with over the past year.

It’s a staggering fact, one that I only just realised today after having finally completed the game’s 25th and final level of its “story” mode.

“Story” is a loose term in reference to Eufloria. It’s subtle and always just there, but I feel it’s deep enough to have meaning and relevance.

This quote from Einstein seems to ring true with the battle the seedlings face:

“I know not with what weapons World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.”

In Eurfloria, the seedling’s main enemy is the grey, a malicious enemy that, unfortunately for the seedling’s, is eerily reminiscent of Einstein’s iconic words.

The game offers interesting commentary on the initiation of war, as subtle as such commentary may be, but it never truly takes control over the experience.

It doesn’t blast it into your face, nor really attempt to have any specific agenda. It just has a goal, tells you what you need to do and how to do it.

The gameplay of Eufloria is strangely controlling. I can’t tell if the game’s mesmerising soundtrack or its distribution of power over a race of mysterious space seedlings is what keeps me so entranced in the game’s sprawling progression.

I remember vividly one time playing the game while at work. While I pounded away at my keyboard, I had my iPad propped up next to my monitor, my seedlings slowly working away in an effort to improve their strength, energy and speed in their seemingly endless battle against a recognisable foe.

For a moment I felt like a creator…or at the very least, the commander of a space vessel that was directing ships using an interactive monitor. I was directing seedlings to other asteroids while strategically upgrading my colonies to protect my soldiers from the threat of disease. It was engaging, engrossing stuff.

I finally completed the game’s story mode over the weekend, and while it’s certainly a game that can be completed in well under 11 months (you could complete it over a few days), I found that my spontaneous play times said a lot about not only the type of game Eufloria is, but the potential of the “casual” market.

There can be a lot of hostility towards the tablet platform and its obvious infatuation with a “casual” market, one that hardly dictates the most engaging of games.

But at its absolute best it can offer games that become part of your life, often taking control of it. Eufloria is a perfect example: while it’s been available on other platforms a few years, its transition to iPad was quite remarkable.

I was never truly addicted to Eufloria. It just kept me interested in a far more effective manner than some of the blockbuster mainstream offerings from 2012. Its subtleness and simplicity kept me playing for longer than I expected, and I can admit that I feel more satisfied having completed it than I did having finished many other games from throughout the years.

Eufloria isn’t an amazing game, but its charmingly engaging, and especially indicative of a market and platform with more worth than people give it credit for.

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