Spore Review

spore game

The genius behind Sims returns and this time, he is taking players to a whole new level of simulated-life gameplay. Combining various aspects of life, growth and development, Spore presents players with a unique perspective on how life can evolve from a simple microorganism into a space faring civilization. The game is very engaging and addictive, in the past couple of years since it was first released, Spore has been able to establish a solid and continuously growing community of users. Thanks to its creation-based gameplay, each Spore playthrough provides players with a dynamic and living system to play with delivered in a highly stylized visual approach that many players will appreciate.

Massive Gameplay Experience: Spore

Before Spore first came out, there was already plenty of buzzing in the Sims community about legendary game developer Will Wright working on a new Sims title that would approach the genre in a way that he and his team never had before. And they did, the new game was completely off the charts in terms of scope, creativity and in the way it was able to capture the hearts of players from all over the world. The game was so strong in its own identity that it also retained its prototype project name (as opposed to being labeled under the Sims franchise), and hence the beginnings of Spore.

Past the Visual Scope

As one might expect from the team that created the Sims franchise, Spore's primary color themes are bright, rich and vivid. There is often plenty of developer and user generated content on screen at any given time and being able to distinguish each visual element is aided by the naturally contrasting shades and hues. Of course, not all color choices are for pure function alone - aesthetics plays a strong value in this game, and despite the fact that random elements are chosen to generate the game worlds (no two game installs are the same), most of the objects tend to a form a cohesive design - too many happy accidents are more than just coincidences.

Aside from the fact the developers well designed random-generation parameters that gave players impressive visuals, the concept that the user gets to create creatures and many other content from scratch also gives plenty to the dynamic imagery that Spore provides.

The music for Spore is well made and surprisingly, customizable. Most of the initial tunes you will hear comes in the form of haunting hums and beats. As you progress in the game, players are allowed to create an anthem for their civilization. A small, music editing panel allows users to choose the main beats and elements used in the anthem as well as a small notation editor that allows you to alter the actual tune to be used. It does not take a musical genius to create a good tune, the game is predesigned to provide beats and instruments that easily mix and match into a single cohesive tune. Though if you do know how to read musical notations, you can put in a familiar ditty if you so prefer.

Gameplay Breakdown: The Stages of Spore

Spore's basic gameplay is divided into five stages of your creature's growth. The beginning of each stage will always be marked with a creation phase where you will be able to create and modify your creature prior to proceeding to the actual gameplay aspects.

The first stage is the Cell Stage where you determine your initial feeding preferences as well as giving you an understanding of the game's concept of survival. It also shows players the creation mode for the first time - where you can modify and change how your creature will look. After consuming enough food, players will evolve to the Creature Phase - marked by the appearance of legs and the shift of gameplay from underwater to land.

As creatures, players learn to hunt, adapt, breed and survive. Initial social encounters with other creatures will also be present, allowing you to determine how well your species is at making friends - or enemies. Once you have made enough progress on the social scale, the game proceeds to the Tribal Stage. Here, players will be able to experience the concept of having an actual settlement with structures. The race will learn to use tools and actual cultural exchanges between various tribes will begin.

Once you have either allied or conquered all the other tribes, you can begin to stake your claim as the leading race of the entire planet and be the first to move into the Civilization Stage. Of course, nothing will stop other tribes from evolving and growing as well, and this is one of those stages where being a complete pacifist will prove difficult.

Despite its challenges, the planet will eventually be dominated by the player's species. And by amassing control of all cities on the planet, the creatures will continue to progress and move on to the Space Stage. While the civilization stage's vehicles with cover land, sea and air, the creation of the first outer-space craft will allow players to explore other planets, star systems and interact with other space-faring races. And the space stage marks the beginning of the most epic campaign that the species will encounter in its whole history: the struggle against the Grox and the search for the Center of the Galaxy.

Regardless of the stage, players will find that the main controls of the game are pretty consistent. The mouse is used for all interfaces and camera control (though the buttons to be used for camera control does change in the later stages). Using the keyboard is a simple matter of learning a few shortcuts and getting familiarized with using the w, a, s, and d keys as directional controls.

The World View

No doubts about it, Spore is without a doubt, one of most enjoyably intensive games we have ever gotten our hands on. And despite the game's pre-set goals and achievements, players will always have something to tinker around with and accomplish beyond what the initial checklist states. Creating new creatures from the bottom up is always a fun experience and the game encourages you to try out different paths to success. The added bonus of being able to interact with a large user community and even sharing your creations often inspire people to deliver their creative best. Spore ranks in high in terms of replay value, gameplay content, user controls, and aesthetic design -and yes, it even has an interesting general storyline as well. If you decide to pick up this game, expect to find yourself happily entranced in Spore's intricately designed gameplay for entire weeks on end.