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Dyson / Eufloria

A few laptops ago back in 2008 I remember stumbling across this weird ambient game that mixed Real Time Strategy with exploration in an ambient environment. It was before I started that online games thread on the D-Bug forum (for those who joined us recently, it's the old home of this site, unmaintained nowdays), so it was a combination of not migrating data and my bad memory that I forgot to mention it as of yet. To give credit where it's due, what triggered my memory was a very similar game to this on Android called Auralux, but since it's quite probable that it was influenced by Dyson, I'll stick to reviewing that! (although by all means give Auralux a go if you have an Android device since it's good as well!)

The game's main concept is hardly original, you are thrown into a small planet system with only one known planet (the one you inhabit) and you must travel to all other planets and conquer them, peacefully or by force. Your planet initially has one or more threes that grow some creatures looking like a cross of leaves and insects. You can sacrifice a number of those insects to create other trees or set them off (using a combination of left and right clicks) to another planet. There is at least one enemy civilisation in each planet system which has the same goals as you, so of course conflict is inevitable. Pretty soon managing resources and deciding where to visit or strike becomes crucial.

The first thing that hit me (and grabbed my interest) is indeed the visuals and the use of pastel colours as you see above. And the ambient sounds. And watching the insect/leave thinghies run around in swarms with a logic of their own. The game was entered for a competition at tigsource which required the game to have procedurally generated content, although it doesn't matter much. The scrolling/zooming has a pleasing amount inertia to it, which really adds to the atmosphere (I know, sounds weird, but it's true!)

Give it a go, and if you like it you can also check out its commercial brother, Eufloria, which is available on PC and iOS.


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