by Max Keogh
previewed on WII
The creatures are back... and this time on the Wii
Spore, developed by Maxis Games and designed by Will Wright, was near enough an instant hit for the PC when it was first released. The game was lauded by gaming critics and gamers alike for its boundless creative freedom, and attracted a whole new kind of casual gamers for the PC.
With the kind of game Spore is, a port of the game on the Wii almost seems like a perfect marriage. But somehow that project never came to be and the game was instead released for the DS as Spore Creatures. Now the creatures seem to be back for another try, but with an all-new task at hand with Spore Hero for the Wii.
Funnily enough, the game begins with your creature landing on a planet almost completely in ruin. It's up to you and your imagination to save other planets from total destruction!
It's Spore time!
It seems as though as your titular Hero has landed on a planet that isn't his home. A blue meteor has the indicated the creature, and it seems like a dangerous red meteor is coming to destroy your planet. This crisis must be solved quickly, as one of your first tasks in the game is to talk to several of the local creatures living on the planet. As the game progresses, you will find out more about why the red meteor is coming.
At first sight, your Spore will be a very basic creature that is round like an egg and will have legs, but as you gain more special creature parts, you will be allowed to give your creature more talents and a different look. How you gain access to these parts is by solving various puzzles on the planet. The game also seems to have a lot of freedom as players can choose what things they would like to do to progress the story such as accepting quests, treasure hunting, interacting with others or simply just exploring.
What Spore Hero seems to have done a good job at is creating a story-driven adventure game, that hasn't forgotten the creative freedom that made the original PC game endlessly unique. The game's structure seems to perfectly complement this.
Now, let's talk a little bit more about the creature parts in the game. The creature parts are little square pieces the player has to collect in order to upgrade their features in the Spore Creature Creator. The parts give your Hero more talents and more special abilities. The parts can also alter your stats and abilities, but is quite user-friendly.
New to the setup is a mission log, where the game keeps track of missions and quests the player has done, and you earn DNA points for each one you complete, and the DNA points must be spent to find more parts scattered across the planet. The player, unlike the PC original, can move their creature by using the remote as a cursor to point at arrows on-screen to move him in certain directions.
This new Spore creature also seems to mean serious business, as it can attack by shaking the Wii Remote making a strike attack, using B to bite adversaries, and you can spit fire at them. Cool!
Spore Hero definitely seems to take the core gameplay foundations and work up from there in order to give more expansive, deeper use of these features. It's surprising that the creative side of the game lends well to an adventure-game outlet.
The Spore Creature Creator
Now, let's talk a little bit about the Spore Creature Creator, because this is one of the key features in the game. The feature has been smartly laid out, with the key buttons enlarged, and they are in a nice, neat order. The creator has two different screens. The bottom screen indicates the parts available to the player, while the top screen shows the creature. People can simply pick up the parts on the bottom of the screen and then drag them into the top screen. Then the parts can be adjusted and fitted to your creature.
The beauty is in the simplicity when it comes to the creature creator. It all just seems to make sense, and it seems to be easily accessible to everybody. The pick-up-and-drag controls don't feel like a gimmick, and they seem to naturally fit the game. The creator also lets your imagination go wild, as your parts can be used to turn your creature into just about anything.
Spore Hero definitely seems like a fun, interesting release that really seems like it will please existing fans of the franchise. The simple yet well-thought-out story progression, and the accessibility and charming presentation of the original Spore features definitely seems like it will be a hit for the target demographic.