Review by Nanila

"Not a bad game, but not a great one either."

I have personally been waiting for spore for some time now. It sounded like a ton of fun if they pulled it off right and at times the game is that way. However, there's a few flaws that knock it away from being a must own for people into these kinds of games.

Gameplay :

There's several different stages that you must complete before you can get to the space age which never ends. They can be best described as mini games that have to complete. You're allowed to be aggressive, friendly or in between and beating each stage in which ever manner grants different bonuses. Like if you beat Tribal stage via friendly then on space age everyone likes you better.

I'll now explain each of the stages that you have to complete better.

Cell Stage- Very simple and easy to beat no matter how you play it. It's pretty short and you really can't do much in this stage. Really not much more to say since the stage lasts like 5 - 10 minutes.

The editor in this stage is also very simple.

Creature stage- This is where it gets a lot more interesting. You can now actually start molding how your creature looks, that is once you unlock some parts to it. This is where it can get tricky. There are a lot of parts to unlock but you can beat the stage before getting them all. However if you want to really make your creature look good you'll want the most parts that you can get.

For aggressive creatures this stage is pretty easy. All you have to do is defeat different creature homes scattered throughout the land. There's normally one or two alpha creatures per nest and these give you new parts that you can then add to your creature. The parts you can get seem to be random but as a aggressive creature you really don't need many. All they need is a good mouth for biting and a weapon.

For the passive creatures though, this stage is a lot harder. In order to get parts you need to ally with the different creatures instead of killing them. You can do this via social interactions like dancing and posing. However, to get these actions you need a lot of different parts. When you start out the creatures you meet only want you to sing for them, but later on you'll need every single social interaction to befriend them. This means for creating your creature you need a lot of extra stuff on it just to get by. It also takes a lot longer to befriend creatures then destroying them.

The aggressive creatures will find this stage easy to play but the friendly creatures will find it harder and it'll take a lot longer to beat.

The editor for this stage is where the game also begins to shine. It's very good and once you get the hang of it you can create just about anything that your mind can come up with. I personally made a land shark that can fly.

Tribal stage- This stage is over in a matter of minutes. The map is very small and there's not much you can do. The editor is pretty much gone, all you can do is add on flair to your creatures for bonuses. So whatever creature you made in the creature state you're now stuck with how it looks for the rest of the game. Your goal is here to take over or befriend 5 different tribes. There is a mini resource of food that you need to collect for building and for your people but it's simple to get and not really worth worrying about for either type of player.

The aggressive players will find this stage also very simple since all you need to do is beat down the 5 tribes which is little more then selecting all your units and attacking the enemy tribe home.

The friendly players in my opinion have more fun in this short stage. To ally the other tribes you need to play music for them. This brings up a little mini game like in the creature stage where you play the right tune depending on what the other tribe wants. It's simple to beat for the friendly player but it will take longer like usual.

I found this stage to be fairly lackluster because it's over so fast. Since there's only five tribes and they're all right next to your own tribe you hardly have to do anything to win.

Civ Stage- From here on you get a new editor to create buildings. It's very in depth like the creature stage but takes a lot longer to get used to since you're making building instead of a animal. You have a budget for your buildings when you create them but it's fairly lax and lets you make just about anything you want once again. Your goal for this stage is to beat the 8 different towns. When the game starts out you're the only town but over a few minutes all 8 of them will be around. However once you own about 5 of the towns you get to use a special power that insta wins the round for you. Not the best idea in my opinion but if you're having trouble on this stage it can be a life saver.

Aggressive players will once again find this stage to be easy since you'll just have to make tanks, lots of tanks, to take over the towns near you. Once you gain 4 towns you can make planes which pretty much is a insta win since they dominate the other towns. There's a resource to collect which is more bothersome since every other town will keep trying to take them over so you'll have to guard them.

Friendly players also have to take over towns, expect they do it by a means of trade with other cities where they buy them out. This takes quite some time to do and is the hardest of the bunch. Or they can convert the other towns which plays out just like the aggressive player.

The matter of which you start out here depends on how you ended the tribal stage, though you can switch to another way by taking over another town and using their units instead.

Either way this stage is easy to win and also very short because of the insta win button they give you. I found this stage to be a let down because of how easy it's to win over the other towns. They just can't keep up with you and once you own about 3 towns you're going to win since the enemy players hardly get more then 2 towns total (out of the 8 possible towns there can be).

Space age- This is the one age a lot of players look forward to. It pretty much never ends because there's a entire galaxy of planets to take over or look over. You get to create your own spaceship for this stage and nothing you put on it matters since they'll all act and attack the same. So that means you can make it however you want without having to worry about stats.

This stage though has quite a few flaws to them that really hamper the game. There's random events that happen but I would hardly call them random. They seem to be more time based. The events can be something as a plague on some creatures on a random planet that you need to stop to pirates attacking you. The problem here is that the timers are really short, only about 5 minutes for some of them. This means that if you make a enemy of another nation you have to deal with pirates, pirate raiders, enemy attacks and the plague every few minutes (all of them).

There is also a super power enemy race called the Grox whom hate everyone. The moment you make contact with them, which your own faction will give you a mission to do, they will start to attack your bases. Their ships are very powerful and their raids are hard to stop without dieing if your ship isn't upgraded to the max. What makes these guys more annoying is that now you have another timer based random event. So about every 4-5 minutes you have to stop 3-4 attacks and a plague.

Because of this you hardly get to do all the fun stuff of actually watching and helping other tribes grow, tera forming other planets, expanding your empire etc etc. The only way to have any comfort in this stage at all is to never do the mission to meet the Grox. You cannot beat them unless you plan to spend months playing the game because they own thousands of star systems all in the center of the galaxy. Since the galaxy is a big place you can just pretty much avoid ever going there.

Overall if the time based events were on a longer timer this stage would be a blast to play. However, with it as it is, you spend way more time playing nurse maid then actually having fun.

This game can be fun to play, but since the space age is the end all be all for this game, I have to say it could've done a lot better. I can't have fun doing everything I want to do with some many short timers pushing me around.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/11/08

Game Release: Spore (US, 09/07/08)


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