Since its inception, the real-time strategy genre has gotten progressively more complex with each passing year, piling weather effects, terrain conditions, tech trees, multi-tiered objectives and more on top of a relatively simple core concept. Auralux is that core concept.
Recently released for Android devices (it's been out for the PC, grab a free demo here), Auralux is real-time strategy in its purest form. Three color-coded armies meet on minimalistic battlefields, vying for control of a series of planets. Planets produce the game's only units — tiny glowing dots — so the key to winning against your AI opponents is to control more dots and points than they do.
It's simple. It's elegant. It's slow and engrossing. I spent some 15 minutes playing one of the three included maps in the free version, and it felt as if no time had passed at all — between the ambient music and the soothing swarms of coloured dots I was completely entranced. That's a good thing, unless you are playing it before you're supposed to be online for work and are subsequently several minutes late. Not that I would know anything about that.
Auralux is also rather inexpensive, all things considered. The initial free app grants access to three maps, with four map packs of four levels each and a more challenging Speed Mode (with leaderboards) available in a bundle for $US2.99.
The web page for Aurlalux is topped by a quote that neatly sums up my feelings for the game. "Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Poet and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was definitely onto something.
Auralux [Google Play]