If there’s one thing I love, it probably involves restraints, elaborate costumes and those big-eyed anime masks, and it’s probably illegal in certain states of America. If there’s a second thing I love, it’s a game where the actual genre surprises me. Spec Ops delighted me by not telling me it was a horror game until I was balls-deep in it. I was elated to find out that Rayman Jungle Run was a proper platformer instead of another crappy little tap screen to jump game. And now I have Eufloria, the gardening simulation which very quickly turns out to be a breakneck-paced RTS.
Each level starts you off with a number of seedlings floating around a tree, which gradually produces more seedlings. The gameplay is easy to pick up – you simply drag and tap to instruct your units to drift from post to post, like incredibly lethal seeds from a dandelion puff clock, planting out the different-coloured seeds and replacing their trees with ones of your colour.
Seeds have three stats, and each location you capture produces different types. Spare seeds can be channeled into boosting these stats, and the occasional seed pod can be used to bolster your trees still further or traded for a laser pod (the game’s only heavy unit).
Eufloria is incredibly simple, beautiful on the eyes and ears and a amazingly relaxing to play. If it has a solitary flaw, it’s that every map can simply be Zerg rushed into the ground, but hey; that’s what I enjoy about RTS games. It’s an incredibly absorbing time waster, and is well, well deserving of its high placing in this 2012’s App of the Year awards.