Howdy! Nick Suttner here. Whether you remember me from my time at 1UP.com and EGM, 55th place at the 1989 World Beard and Mustache Championships, or simply find yourself wondering who in blazes is wasting their precious intro paragraph, it matters not.
The important part is that myself and a group of other SCEA folk are busy ramping up our Pub Fund program, helping independent developers to bring their games to PSN without the restraints of a traditional publisher. There are no specific criteria, outside of selecting games that we think are interesting and that we’re dying to play ourselves: Joe Danger, Hoard, Explodemon! and Tales From Space: About a Blob are recent examples that came to fruition with the aid of our program. We have a RIDICULOUSLY KILLER slate of titles lined up for the future, and we’re going to try and do a better job of giving you guys a heads-up about them so that you can share in our excitement, and hopefully help support the developers who are trying to do things a little differently.
And that brings us to Eufloria, which we’re thrilled to announce as our next Pub Fund title! Omni Systems are hard at work wrapping up a gorgeous new PS3 iteration of their ambient real-time strategy game, scheduled to hit the PlayStation Store in the latter half of June for $9.99.
The core gameplay revolves around exploring and conquering procedurally generated asteroid fields (which means that most levels will be different each time you play them), using their raw resources to grow seedlings and battle neighboring enemy forces. The ultra-minimalist aesthetic and simple mechanics make for a relaxing, accessible experience, while the devious AI and level design (something these guys know well) give it a strong tactical edge that really carries the experience. I promise that you haven’t played anything like it on PSN before; cull together bits and pieces of flOw, Mushroom Wars and Everyday Shooter and you’re on the right track…but still quite a ways off. Here’s how the developers at Omni-Labs describe the game:
Eufloria PSN isn’t really like other games. It has strategic gameplay, but no technology trees or complicated interface. It allows for exploration and expansion without being punished for small mistakes. It offers challenges that are fun, but in a style that can be described as “ambient gameplay”. There is conquest but there are no space marines in sight. Instead, all of Eufloria’s gameplay is based on growing your strategic and colonising life forms on asteroids that you conquer throughout the game. That is right: you are basically playing a game of intergalactic guerrilla gardening. Oh, and you engage in massive battles against enemy plant life.
The improvements and additions to the PS3 version are numerous – both in huge strokes and tiny tweaks – but a few highlights include:
- New units: A new plant will automate troop movements, while a new tree type helps terraform asteroids (both visually and to change the attributes of the seedlings grown on it)
- Improved gameplay: Including rebalanced levels, improved AI, and a new 2x game speed that works like a fast-forward button
- New collectibles: Ancient Artifacts add flavor to the universe, as well as full Trophy support, natch
- More music: Including 100 additional minutes of completely new music by ambient specialist Milieu (the OST is particularly gorgeous)
- Enhanced graphics: Smoother, faster visuals with much more environmental and color diversity
- Updated controls: Completely redone PS3-specific interface and controls
So you’ll be getting by far the best version of the game for an awesome price, and a demo alongside it on day one in case you’re not convinced. So keep a little brainspace reserved for one of the more interesting games of the summer, and we’ll be back around E3 with some new media and a final launch date. Thanks guys!