PC Review: Spore

Has the wait for Spore been worth it?

Spore is your own personal universe in a box. In this universe you can create and evolve life, establish tribes, build civilization and even sculpt entire worlds. In Spore you have a variety of creation tools at your disposal that allow you to customize nearly every aspect of your universe: creatures, vehicles, buildings, and even spaceships. While Spore is a single player game, your creations and other players’ creations are automatically shared between your galaxy and theirs, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play.

The Spore universe is made up of five phases with different challenges and goals. You may choose to start with the cell phase and nurture one species from its humble aquatic origins to its evolution as sentient species. Or you may decide to start building tribes or civilizations on multiple planets. What you do with your universe is up to you.


  • Sandbox Gameplay: Create our own personal universe where you can evolve life, establish tribes, build civilizations and even sculpt entire worlds.
  • Evolutionary Gameplay: Lead your species through stages of evolution from pond-scum to galactic god in Spore’s campaign mode.
  • World Creators: Easy-to-use editors allow you to make everything from creatures and buildings to vehicles and spaceships.
  • Shared Content: Spore automatically shares your creations with other players through the Internet. And in your game, you’ll explore and interact with a galaxy of content created by other players.

    Will Wright created the world of The Sims, so he’s clearly talented at these types of games. Spore seems to have been in development for years, I for one doubted if we would see it this year. Spore is incredibly different from Sims, so there’s no point in even comparing it. Instead, let’s look at what Wright’s latest game has to offer…

    Spore lets you create your own creatures through the many stages of evolution, first from being pond life all the way to tribe and space-like. The biggest choice you’ll have to make is at the start, you can either be an herbivore or a carnivore, the choice plays a significant part for the rest of the game so you know if you need to hunt down creatures and eat them or find plant life to chew on. As you progress, you’ll come across new parts to add to your creature…they can be anything to improved attack parts like a better beak or maybe some better feet to help you dance better.

    Spore lets you decide to either impress or destroy other tribes and take their resources. Your creature will get bigger and stronger as you do what the game asks and eventually you’ll leave that area and move towards proper civilisation. The game takes a surprising turn towards the Civ series and while it definitely seems like the inevitable step the game had to take…I can’t help but feel that it could have been done a tad better.

    The game has a total of 5 stages for you to explore. The first is incredibly brief, the others are varied in length but none of them feel long enough, the game can be over in as little as 10 hours. The lack of online functionality other than swapping creature designs and uploading videos to YouTube hurts the package. It would have been nice to have some kind of co-op feature or maybe a multiplayer match where two tribes fight it out over a selected stage of evolution, but alas it’s not here.

    The amount of customisation you can do in Spore is quite frightening, it’s massive. What makes it enjoyable is that you can decide how you want to play it; you can be a relentless killing machine or a peaceful creature. Spore can be fun and it will last you a while with its choices, if you really enjoy it then you can go through it being the opposite of what you did the first time, but that’s about the only other thing you can do, which is a shame.

    Spore is great, but it ultimately feels to brief. You want it to last longer than it does, but I can imagine that expansion packs will be made…they would be mad not to consider it. It would have been nice to have some Games for Windows Live support since the game actually pops up achievements, here’s hoping it might come along with a patch, but I’m doubtful. Presentation-wise, Spore looks great. It rarely drops in framerate and the areas are well detailed. It would have been nice if it supported DX10, but it’s a small price to pay. The music fits the theme of Spore well and the sound effects do a good job also, it’s a nice package overall.

    The Verdict

    Spore may have taken ages to arrive, but the wait was definitely worth it. It’s highly enjoyable and gives you a chance to be very creative with an easy to use interface that’s rare to find. The campaign may be too short and some bits may disappoint, but you won’t find another game like Spore for a long time.