Spore Creatures (DS)

While everyone else had their noses stuck in the Spore PC game, I was obsessing over Spore Creatures. We’d all been waiting for Spore for months and I was as excited as anyone.

Unlike the PC version, Spore Creature’s graphics were rather basic. Given that the game was on something less powerful that a gaming PC, this was expected. What I didn’t bargain for was just how pared down they would be. Everything is in 2D, including yourself. Now had this been any other game I thing I could live with that style, but SC wasn’t just any game out there. Even with the less powerful DS a better looking set of graphics could have been obtained. Instead we got 2D graphics that didn’t suit the game and made everything a bit too cartoon-like.

The creature creation should have been where the graphics excelled, but unfortunately they didn’t. Since all the graphics are 2D then so are you. This took away from the expected detail and feel that the Spore Creature Creator had instilled in us. This being the DS and not a PC I expected it to not be quite as detailed, but this was a bit much. You aren’t able to create the parts of your creature at all. Instead you earn the parts as you play and if you don’t accomplish everything you don’t get all of the parts. The parts you do have are cartoon-like to match the world graphics also. This unfortunately makes for rather generic looking creatures. The only really good part of the creature creation is that you have almost complete control over the colours and you can combine any of the parts.

As mentioned, you have to complete tasks and stages in the game in order to gain the parts to build your creature. You begin with a few basics of course, but each part has its own value assigned to it. These values are added up to fill a designated allotment for creature creation. With these beginning parts you can use all the best ones to make your creature without going over the assigned allotment as the game goes on you can pretty much continue to use the best or near best to make your creature. The problem comes in when the game makes you use certain special parts to get through the game. The only redeeming part of this is that you can return to your nest and change your creature as much and often as you like.

When Spore Creatures was being created they obviously thought about their child and short attention span demographic and created a storyline to follow. This would be all well and good, but by doing this they managed to remove every bit of the sandbox game.You have no control over your creature’s developement. You are given tasks to complete in order to progress and you can find additional goals to further your creature along.

It continues on like this through the whole game. Get goals. Complete goals. Go to next part of story and planet. There are a total of 6 planet and you have no control over how and when you visit them. The basic story, without giving anything away, is that an alien has kidnapped your fellow friend creature and you now must persue it in order to save your friend. So your main goals center around finding a way from one planet to the next. It’s not a complex story, but it doesn’t need to be. At first I thought thw story had been kept simple in order to not interfere with the sandbox nature of the game. Unfortunately I learned rathet quickly the the storey was everything and the sandbox was gone.

The game takes advantage of the touch screen to some extent in battle and in creature creation. In fighting the stylus is used to strike your enemy. This make fighting a lot easier than I had expected. You can also use the touch screen to move around, which is a much easier option than using the D-pad. In creature creation ad modification the stylus is priceless. There’s no way you could position your parts without it. The precision in the creature modification screen could have been a bit better, but it’s generally pretty good and I couldn’t have found any other way to do it.

The one other significant place that the touch screen is taken advantage of is the part of the game where you make friends with other creatures in the game. You have 2 choices when meeting a creature in the game, either fight or befriend. If you decide to try to be friends you send out a friendly call and you end up with 2 options. If the little happy face cloud floats up your new friend to be wants to snuggle In this instance tou ruv the little happy cloud on your new friend several times and you cuddle your way to friendship. The other icon that will float up from your new potential friend is a little flower. This willmorph into a little rthym game all its own. In order to gain favour you must tap the little flowers in time as the dots move over them. Sounds easy, and in the beginning it is, but as you progress through the game this little time waster becomes a bit more complex. You’ll need some fast tapping to not make an enemy of your new aquintence. Do well and hit the flower just right and you’ll gain favour, hit them wrong and you’ll lose that favour. Obviously, the more a creature starts out disliking you, the more work it’ll take to make them love you.

When you’re in the need of a break from the story and restrictions, why not go create a creature or two? Well two is all you’ll be making as you only have 3 slots and one of them is the creature you’re using in the game.So you have space to make 2 extra creatures of your liking with the parts you’ve already unlocked.

Once you’ve created your abominations you can connect to tne Nintendo network and either share directly with a specific friend, or you can connect to the wider network and opt to share everything you’ve created and see what is out there to download. Beware though, you only have 2 free slots to download into and those are the same slots of the creatures you’ve lovingly just created.

To be honest I played the game with the sound off  after about 30 minutes of listening to it. As is often the unfortunate truth in handheld games, the music was annoying. They did include some sound effects such as rustle bushes and other creature sounds. Overall though the music is something that can be safely ignored.







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