The excellent Spore franchise makes it way to the big screen, but what does it have to offer? Has it evolved for the Wii? Does it have four arms and sixteen eyes on stalks?
Spore Hero is published by EA on the Wii. The game places the player in control of a creature that has crash landed on a strange alien world and must evolve in order to progress through the adventure.
The player begins the game after having just crash landed on an alien world. Unfortunately, you did not arrive here alone. Your arch nemesis is also here, along with an abundance of red rocks that turn the nearby inhabitants crazy. It is up to you to complete missions, earn body parts and upgrade your hero, in order to help the tribes that inhabit this land. Certain body parts are used to unlock new abilities that allow you to reach new areas and progress through the game.
The game continues using this format. Complete quests to earn the necessary body parts to continue. The quests come in a variety of different formats, such as having to talk to certain creatures, destroy a certain number of the red rocks or fight other creatures. To fight, the player enters an arena and then uses a combination of button presses and wiimote waggling to perform offensive and defensive moves.
The original spore game was one of the most original games to be created in recent years, taking the player from a microscopic life form through to a space traveling, planet conquering race of beings. Spore Hero gives the player a snapshot of that game, by concentrating on the tribal section of Spore, and giving control of only one character. Spore Hero is a third person platform game with elements of Spore within.
One of the most interesting areas of the original Spore was being able to evolve your creatures with new body parts. This has been recreated in Spore Hero, but with limited success. Whilst there are plenty of body parts to use in the evolution of your character, progression within the game is dependant on certain parts being used. This limits the creativity, if the player wants to progress.
The combat system is simple, but ultimately unfulfilling due to the relative lack of moves available. Whichever body parts you choose in the evolution of your creature, the actual number of different combat moves are very few. It is certainly functional for the purposes of the game, but the developers missed out on a huge opportunity. Why, oh why, is there no online mode? Giving someone the ability to create something unique but not letting them show it off online to their friends is a grave misjudgement. Creating your unique creature, even though it could have a detrimental effect on the game if you don’t choose the needed parts, would have been a huge draw if the chance to take that creature online and fight other peoples creatures had been given.
The singing and dancing quests will see the player waggling the wiimote, and the player will find themselves using the unique Wii control system in other aspects of the game as well, such as the combat. The controls work well and fit in with the game, but don’t offer anything new and exciting.
The gameplay is quite solid and backed up by a good story. Although not offering anything new, as may have been expected from a spin-off of one of the most original games in years, Spore Hero still offers a good gaming experience. The graphics are bright and colourful, but again, do not offer anything new.
Missed opportunities abound in Spore Hero, but, hiding beneath the disappointment, players will be able to find a solid third person platform game, that will entertain for a good few hours.