Eurogamer: Spore Creature Creator Review

This is my favourite Spore Creature, despite being hyper-simple. He looks perpetually worried. I need to care for him.

Britain’s most influential games journalist inspired me to go and review the Spore Creature Creator for Eurogamer. We’ll be doing a RPS Verdict on it soon enough, I suspect, but I’ve already shot my critical wad here. I mainly think it’s a miraculous piece of software, but spend a lot of time analysing the disenters’ reservations with it: “In other words, while the Spore Creature Creator lets you play god, it doesn’t let you be god.” Fancy words ahoy, leavened with the usual nob gags.

EDIT: Since someone requested a creature, here’s all three I screenshoted. Not exactly high art, but they’re mine.

ExperiAnt, though noon-authoritee were in the worlde. Chaucer was Dyslexic.

The Lesser MucusRaven is very sweet.

The Manny Venus-Trap was discovered by a discoverer.

Lob ’em in your Creatures directory, and you’re away.

19 Comments

  1. The_B says:

    And you didn’t even use the word Sporn once?

    Fail Gillen, FAIL.

  2. Schadenfreude says:

    Sure he did;

    And at that point we start talking about Spornography, and this is a family site. Stay away from the mobile phalluses.

    Fail The_B. FAIL.

  3. Leelad says:

    Bizarre that they would bother asking for a review.

    It’s super duper fun but aside from explaining how it works there is little there to review, I guess what i’m saying is why review a demo? It’s a small pube of the entire erect dong that is spore. That’s not to say that it’s going to be a cock of a game but you know. It’s like reviewing portal based on the portal gun or wow on RFC.

    In short. how did you get that many words on a walking penis creator?

    I agree with your wording however.

    Yeah.

  4. RichPowers says:

    If the Creature Creator is God, then the vehicle creators are … God times a trillion. I went to the San Francisco Apple Store last Saturday to see Will Wright demo the game and was utterly amazed by the vehicle creators. I didn’t find the creature creator that fun, but I can see myself spending hours making different ships and airplanes, none of which will resemble a cock (goatse maybe)

    Do you have a link for that armored horse beast, Kieron? It’s suitably awesome.

  5. Cigol says:

    Wow, look at the rating. It’s better than MGS4, and nearly as good as Halo. I think Wright is onto a winner here folks!

    In complete agreement with the review. Despite possessing the same reservations as many about the lack of fidelity we have over our creations; it doesn’t seem to dampen my appreciation! Can’t wait for the full release.

  6. Nimic says:

    Very nice review. While I do think the score itself was very much influenced by the expectations we have of Spore, that in it self is a perfectly natural thing. The Creature Creator would be a very fun little thing even with no Spore, but the fact that we know Spore isn’t that far away makes it all the much better.

  7. Tomlin says:

    Creature editor is a fun toy, but when they released it as a separate package – did anyone _Really_ kept thinking that Spore would have any actual gameplay ?

  8. Kieron Gillen says:

    RichPowers: Edited post to provide you with ’em.

    KG

  9. Mooey Poo says:

    It’s ok, I’m not that impressed to be honest. It’ll probably appeal to 12 year olds.

    Is anyone else thinking “Black and White 3”?

  10. Malagate says:

    @Mooey Poo: Black and White 3? Ehh not really, as I mean Spore seems like you’ll be in direct control rather than having to babysit your creature for ages to teach them to do arbitary tasks.

    At least that is until the Tribal stage, I’m not sure how they’re going to handle that, whether the tribes actions will be controlled directly by the player (like a RTS) or behaviour influenced by what you show them (B&W).

  11. Ian says:

    “It’ll probably appeal to 12 year olds.”

    How could you possibly think that could be considered a valid comment given that it’s blatantly appealing to gamers of most ages?

    I think that may have been a delayed reaction from the announcement of the game.

  12. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    @ RichPowers: You mean you aren’t creating vehicles already?

    After an extensive play around with the trial creature creator there are a couple of niggles which bother me, but on the whole I’m impressed how well it works considering what the game is doing. For example it’s sometimes a fiddly to place limb joints, but most of the time I’m amazed that it interpolates your placement on a 2D plane into a position in 3D space and puts the joint pretty much where you wanted it .

    Oh, and cheers for the heads up on the Game pre-order deal Kieron. I’d only seen the rebate for the EA store version and was going to leave off buying the full creature creator.

    In other news, I’m disappointed to find that Daleks are outnumbered ten to one by Trogdors.

  13. Mooey Poo says:

    This is going to be a 72% game I reckon. I can see why everyone’s getting so hugely excited about it, and it’ll get 90%+ scores, then the dust will settle, Yahtzee will review it and everyone will stop playing it. In a year’s time it’ll be flooding the bargain bins in Gamestation.

  14. Tak says:

    Creature creator is cool. It almost got my mother to sit down and mouse around something other than solitaire, and while no big red-letter-worthy even in the grand scheme of things that does mean something.

    What will be the real question is ‘what about after I shove my creatures in the world’. Does anyone have any links of goodness about that, OTHER than PR stuff? Some actual hands-on reports, or demos of it in action past the creation stage. Do you just make creatures and watch them go? Do you actively control them like an RTS? Can you optionally try to guide them like a Sims game? Can you train them like B&W? Do they have set behaviors, or can you pick different paths for them to go down I.E. ‘good’ or ‘evil’?

    There has been a lot of talk about what you could do, but this close to release it’d be nice to see more info about what you *can* do.

  15. RichPowers says:

    Tak,

    Here are some of my impression after seeing Will Wright demo it for about 80 minutes.

    Do you actively control them like an RTS?

    In the creature stage, you control only one creature, but you can form groups with your fellow creatures. This group does whatever you command your creature to do: attack, move, etc. A weak creature who specializes in socializing can become powerful through sheer numbers, but you’re still directly controlling only one unit.

    In the tribal phase, you control multiple creatures and order them to attack, gather food, domesticate primitive creatures, and execute other paleolithic tasks.

    In the civilization phase, you no longer have direct control over your creatures. Now you command vehicles. My impression is that you’re only allowed one model of vehicle per category (land, air, sea), but can build multiple vehicles and control them as groups. They’re commanded in typical RTS fashion; they respond with a distinctly RTS form of Simlish (radios crackling, static, “affirmative” tone). Ground and sea vehicles can traverse the planet and build derricks to harvest “spice,” the game’s resource post-tribe phase. They also attack and interact with other cities.

    In the space phase, you have direct control of only one spaceship. Making allies and creating a sort of “federation,” as Wright called it, allows allied ships to join your fleet. But you don’t have direct control over these allied ships and they follow the orders given to your directly-controlled ship.

    Can you optionally try to guide them like a Sims game?

    Your creatures really don’t have the same kind of free will as the creature in Black&White. Think of the creators as ways of making RTS units.

    Do they have set behaviors, or can you pick different paths for them to go down I.E. ‘good’ or ‘evil’?

    There are paths, but not related to good or evil. In the early game, your creature can an herbivore, carnivore, or scavenger (maybe even an omnivore, can’t remember). In the tribe phase, you can focus on diplomacy or war or both. Once you reach the civilization phase, your city can be religious, economic, or military. Wright sped through the game so he could show us as much as possible, but how you tool your creature early in the game effects how your civilization acts later on.

    Calling Spore a “god game” is misleading, I think. It’s more RTS/4X with elements of action games and SimCity thrown in. The editors are ways of making cool units that possess particular combinations of stats the fit your playstyle. Indeed, you don’t use any god-like powers to terraform other worlds. Instead, you command your spaceship to use giant lasers and tractor beams and other products of science(tm) to mess with other planets.

  16. Tak says:

    Hey, thanks for that reply, that’s awesome. Given your descriptions I’d have to agree that it’s less god game and more RTS/Sims hybrid. That still sounds pretty cool :)

    Again, thanks.

  17. RichPowers says:

    You’re welcome. :)

    Before I saw the demo, I was like everyone else and had no idea of how Spore would actually play. Maxis/EA should do a better job of explaining the gameplay, especially in the Civilization and Galactic phases, lest everyone think Spore is solely about creating funny creatures and sharing them on Facebook.

    One of the more interesting revelations is that during the tribal phase, Wright originally had the other tribes be of the same species as your creature. (The logic being that there can be only one “intelligent” species per planet. Humans don’t worry about monkey tribes overtaking us. Instead we fight among other tribes of humans.)

    But the other devs convinced Wright to make rival tribes consist of separate species. By the civilization phase, however, rival cities on your planet are populated by your species. You can only advance to the Galactic stage after conquering or assimilating rival cities and becoming a unified species.

  18. Calabi says:

    Good review. I like how people keep saying you cant do this or you cant do that or it doesnt have that, when it usually does, and if you look in the sporepedia they have.

    I think these people never liked crayons. Thats what this game is like. When you were given crayons as a kid and you realized you could do draw anything with them. Or if you were like these people, you just eat them.

  19. Destroyer says:

    some one know the rigistration code for spore???