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Spore (DS). I bought it because I had heard it was good. You design your own creature by selecting different body parts and then you help it evolve through winning battles or making friends. I enjoyed playing the game but I felt it was limited. I had finished with it within two or three weeks. Had I played on it as often as my son I would have finished it sooner. My five year old son still plays it and really enjoys it. He found it difficult to play at first but now loves it. He particularly likes being able to create his own characters and throwing rocks about!
This review is of the Nintendo DS game, Spore Creatures, developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. This is a sim type game where you have to create your own creatures and then explore space.
In theory, this is a really interesting concept, where you start the game as a very basic creature in space. You have to interact with other creatures, choosing whether to become friends with them, or to attack them, to make you stronger. As you progress through the game, you have to enter space to help defend the universe.
The main element of this game, choosing whether to become friends with other characters, or to attack them, is quite limited though, which does make the game quite repetitive. Becoming friends with another creature is just repetitive, whilst the attacking element of the game is just clumsy and difficult to use.
Most of the controls in this game are used via the touch screen and the stylus, such as the fighting and befriending elements in the game. The controls are easy to use and pick up, and there is enough help in the game to be able to understand what is happening quite quickly and easily.
There is also a PC version of this game, which is much deeper and larger than this console version, by necessity of the different machine capabilities. The designing your character section in this DS version is much smaller than the PC equivalent, and you have less options with what you create, more just using existing limited templates of body parts.
The game is likely to appeal mostly to younger children, probably in around the seven to ten year age range. This is because the game is quite simple to play, and also simple to complete. The game is very structured, so there are lots of points where you can achieve something, which might be satisfying to a younger player. To an older player, they might find instead a lack of depth.
The graphics in the game are only average, with a decision having been made to primarily use 2D graphics. The sound effects and background music are also quite basic although they are cheerful enough, but together, they add little to the atmosphere of the game.
There is a multi player element to the game, where you can use the Nintendo DS's wi-fi connection facility to connect with others. You can then share your creations, but the multi player element is generally unexciting and very limited.
The game retails for 19.99 pounds, but is currently available on Amazon for 9.77 pounds. If you're happy with a second hand copy, these are at the time of writing available for around five pounds on sites such as eBay and Amazon. The game is rated as 7+, so is suitable for children of most ages.
In summary, this isn't as good as the PC version, but is still quite a large game. The game gets quite repetitive quite easily, and is really too easy to play. The game is very structured, which does make for a less exciting games playing experience, but it does mean that the game would be more accessible for children. An average game, probably limited in its longevity however.
The hype on the PC game of the same name was out of this world. I have played both and this DS game is a compelte let down.
The gameplay is easy to grasp. You are a creature and you are trying to evolve to become bigger, stronger, faster and better, trying to survive in the world, and one day rule it, but...
THe graphics alone is a turn off... seriously. It is in 2D, what are they thinking? Whilst the gameplay itself is very similar to the PC version, the graphics are horrid and i couldn't get through this game for very long. The environment is 3D, but the creature you control which should be of prime importance looks hideous with its cardboard-like body!
The controls are easy but the tutorial session is VERY long so it seems very patronising that you have to go through it all. The learning curve is really shallow so there really is no need for this long boring tutorial
I would not recommend this game based on the price because it is RRP full retail at £30 so i would go ahead with the PC version but that itself has different problems. The DS version is for a more childish and younger audience so it is not for all ages.