Review: Spore Creatures

DS Review

"… the game will draw you in and you’ll want these characters to survive to the bitter end."

From its initial unveiling we just knew that Spore would be a success. Looking like the final jigsaw piece to everything Will Wright had ever dreamed of, Spore seemed like the ultimate "game" of life. And it wasn't the mediocre graphics or the playability we all looked at, it was purely the scope of Spore which made it so tantalising to all who envisioned and embraced its premise. Just like other Will Wright creations it was the illusion of being able to create whatever you wanted which was to prove the ultimate draw to gamers and non-gamers alike.

And with that we proceeded to watch over the DS version with hope. Embracing it like a small being, wanting to care for it, raise it and hold it in our pockets like some kind of miniature universe. But now that we hold Spore in our hands our loveable handheld seems to play to only one strength of its PC big brother. Regrettably it's not the scope. And without that one core element which sold the idea of Spore to the masses, what we were left looking at when using our stylus' to play Spore: Creatures was something of a let down...

If Pigs could fly...

Unfortunately what DS owners are left with is a title primarily based around the amusing and robust creature creator. Yes, remember that demo which was released for the PC? Yes. That.

And although it's not as in-depth as the PC version it does nail the basics. What DS owners are going to find out though is that they will spend around 80% of their time in the creature creator mode. The other 20% of the time players will be guiding their little beings into the depths of forests, icy caverns and fiery planets, all whilst battling other creatures and earning more "parts" to add to the creature creator. This is where the game part comes into play as you chase down mysterious spaceships which are kidnapping your animal friends.

On paper the premise of building an animal on the fly to solve environmental puzzles sounds solid. If you need to get over water to attain your objective you need to grow fin-like arms. So you find a chicken-like creature and meet the criteria to 'earn' the fin from that animal. This can come from befriending the animal, helping it in some way or fighting it. When you earn this "piece" you then retreat back to your nest, enter the create mode, add it and then repeat. For the rest of the game.

We call him Boris.

However, the puzzles aren't fresh enough nor the body creation parts truly exciting enough to really draw the player in. There is however, some depth as specific body parts give attributes and special "powers" are gained from selecting specific parts. Yet this is neither played on as well as it could have and it actually unbalances the gameplay massively in certain parts.

There are a lot of stylus controls in there, from the obvious drag and drop creation elements to the slice and dice fighting mechanics. There are even tapping melody moments when befriending wild creatures. It's fair to say that Spore is handled comfortably on the DS and alongside its quirky paper-like 2D creature presentation (with sharp edged colourful 3D worlds thrown in for good measure) it certainly looks excellent.

Yet shortly after the graphical flourishes and creature development joys have subsided what you're left with is a repetitive puzzler with none of the charm or scope of its big brother. We wanted to see our creature develop from mite to mutant-man and puzzle and fight along the way. Instead what we got was a title so dedicated to the creature creation side that we ended up doing nothing else. This not only distanced us from keeping one animal state (and therefore a connection to our creation) yet ended up boring us to tears – puzzles and all.

Unfortunately Spore: Creatures is exemplified by its subtitle. A strange mish-mash of creatures and thus no master of one thing, which is a shame as both the presentation and wonderfully paper-crafted visuals show that a lot of love was poured into the title.

Our final scores lie just below...

N-Europe Final Verdict

With none of the scope seen in the PC version, Spore: Creatures is a poor alternative. It's a quirky & great looking, but soon ends up killing itself with repetitive gameplay and dull puzzles.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Quirky style which suits the DS perfectly
Creature creator is initially great fun


Feels like a poor man's alternative to original
Repetition eventually kills all enjoyment

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