Fighting The Infection: A Review of Eufloria

My name is Sean McGeady and I have an infectious disease – acute viral rhinopharyngitis.

The onset of symptoms was slow. The virus presented little challenge to my immune system. But as the levels of infectious enemies increase so too must my effort to contain them. My body is at war with itself.

From afar I appear healthy but look closer and my sickness is revealed. Stem cells spawn white blood cells that wage war against opposing pathogens. I am a battleground. My capillaries are the trenches. My cells are the soldiers.

On the outside I appear inanimate. But I am a factory in constant production of new microorganisms birthed purely to reclaim my health.

Regenerating my health is a high priority but it is not my immediate objective. My immediate aim is to explore and conquer an interstellar constellation of asteroids, trees and seeds, to reap resources and to nurture a colony of bio-mechanical plant life. My goal is to beat Eufloria.

Like my body, a macro view of Eufloria suggests a static universe. But my asteroids are an industry. As I zoom in my micro view reveals a complex assembly network of trees and seedlings born solely to serve my will.

Seedlings are my army and my currency. They are my white blood cells. Dyson Trees produce the seedlings required to explore and conquer the surrounding universe. They are my stem cells.

To progress I must colonise the asteroids within the asteroid belt, each of which possess statistical properties based on energy, strength and speed. Seedlings inherit the properties of the asteroid they are born from. Currently I occupy several asteroids of difference sizes and statistics. My forces are growing but I cannot diagnose when the virus will begin its invasion. I must be ready. I must expand.

Planting a Dyson Tree costs ten seedlings. They fly into the surface of my asteroid, exploding on impact in a burst of celestial confetti. Roots swirl and stretch to the core and the vivid colour of my tree sprouts from the grey surface. Life. Each precious branch extends its reach and begins to birth tiny seedlings. The older the tree, the stronger and more productive it becomes, and the stronger its seedlings become.

Like the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli aiding my respiratory system, it is these trees that provide the foundation of my strategic experience. It is these seeds that allow me to live.

My legions are varied. They continue to grow. For what purpose, I am unsure. Thus far Eufloria has provided little challenge.

I direct several scout seeds into the void in search of the enemy infection. I find nothing but desolate asteroids awaiting colonisation. Each time I colonise an asteroid my explorable area increases. The increased radius given by an asteroid is proportional to its size. With my increased exploration and occupation comes the frightening discovery that I am far from alone.

The enemy is all around me, and there is not just one. There are a multitude of infections in this world. I am susceptible to them all. Each new location reveals another level of hidden contagion; public bathrooms, escalator rails, restaurant menus. Everywhere I go I find myself surrounded by the virus. I cannot escape this. All I can do is fight.

The enemy can be extremely aggressive. Contaminants attack each other in both an advancement and a display of dominance. One virus has wiped out the other and gained control of more asteroids in the process, providing it with more resources to expand its army. An army with a single purpose – eradicate me.

As the infection grows stronger so too must my effort to contain it. To take over an enemy asteroid I must amass an army large enough to overwhelm their forces. This takes time. I must also retain enough seedlings to defend my asteroids should my enemy retaliate.

Planting Defence Trees assures that my asteroids always remain protected. Defence Trees cost ten seedlings and disperse mines that follow and destroy enemy seedlings.

Cold and flu capsules assure I can combat the catarrh, but when the enemy attacks my resources will only last so long. I must be strong enough to fight.

The virus has a foothold. It swarms inside me, around me, waiting, growing. With my defences in place and my attacking forces increasing, I too, can only wait.

I can see the infection growing. I can feel the infection growing. This is the calm before the storm.

From nowhere, the infected cells begin attacking from all angles. I rush to meet the foreign threat, attacking with all my might. My hands tremor as I sneeze violently and repeatedly. My controller falls from my grasp and crashes to the floor. I am helpless against this infection.

I fumble around on the floor, convincing myself that it’s not over, that I can still win. But it is clear that I am dying. At this point there is no cure.

Enemy seedlings are burrowing into the core of my asteroids, draining them of their energy. Hordes of the infected chase my few remaining seedlings and eliminate my last hopes of survival. Depleted, I cradle my controller, lying cold and alone on my bedroom floor.

I am overwhelmed. I can no longer fight. I have failed.

All I can do is try again. All I can do is wait for my armies to accumulate until I finally have the strength to win this war, to overcome this virus, to beat Eufloria.

This review was originally produced for and published on Pixels or Death – 01/11/2011

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