Gaming: Recommendation – Spore

By James

Am I back with another recommendation for a dated PC game that I should probably move on from and find bigger and better things to do with my time? Yes… But in my defence, this one is not as old as some of the others I’ve spoken about in the past. The amount of times I have been stuck for something to play and reverted back to this game is ludicrous. Without realising it, I must have pumped equal amounts of hours into this game as I have Skyrim or Destiny.

Spore was released in 2008 (see, not that long ago) by developer Maxis. If you thought the creature creation in Impossible Creatures (my recommendation last week) was expansive, then you’re in for a treat.

Spore was created with the idea that you could create a single cell organism and develop/evolve that cell to become the most dominant race in the Milky Way and if I level with you, they’re not far off. What it manages to do is successfully morph your playstyle from an RPG-like existence to more of a real time strategy (RTS). I know what you’re thinking. He’s back with another bloody RTS game… Well, on the one hand, yes, I am. But on the other hand… Yes, I am…

But hear me out. Spore gives you the opportunity to invest time, effort, interest and even sentiment into your creation. You created this life as a cell and you can evolve it in any way you see fit. It’s like digital playdough! You earn evolution points and take your critter through multiple stages in a civilisations life. From cell, you advance to a creature. From creature, you advance to tribe and so on until you reach a point where you’re leading an intergalactic super race.

By far, Spores most powerful and engaging element is the creation side of things. You get to design and mold every square inch of your little monster. Spikes on his elbows? Yep. Nostrils on his eyes? Yep. Toes with the power to electrify other creatures? You see where I’m going with this? You really can make them little, large, round, long, red, blue, scaled, furry, timid, aggressive, it just keeps going - which brings me nicely onto the other main aspect of evolution. Not only do you influence the appearance and attributes of your 30-eyed hippo-like, fish-demon, you also carefully (or not so carefully, depending on how much you care about having omnipotence over a lifeform) change and alter its personality. Decisions such as war over diplomacy or vegetarianism over carnivorous tendencies have overarching impacts on the final being your sentient hamster-goblin will become. The further down either path you get means converting to the other path is much more difficult.

It’s like balancing the force in Star Wars… But with squishy, dinosaur-aliens that squeak a lot…

Arguably, still like Star Wars…

Anyway, the fun doesn’t stop there. With there being no set campaign or story mode, it is much like Minecraft in the sense that you come into being and simply progress through life. Building, changing, exploring and developing as you go. As you plough on into your future, obviously, things need to be thought about like housing, entertainment, resources, etc. Well, it’s in there too. Not only do you design the buildings with the same engine that saw your critter come into existence but you create the vehicles (land, sea, air and space) that do your bidding for you.

I could just keep going but if I say too much then I might spoil all the fun you’re about to have when your download finishes from buying this game halfway through reading this article, yes?

Perhaps not. But if you want to share your thoughts (or your monsters) then let me know @MugwumpBlog.

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