Airborne: Darkspore Releases Tomorrow

What is the traditionally-minded game developer's favourite clothing item? His Platform Choose, of course.

Those of you with allergies had better take your antihistamines, because with action RPG Darkspore coming out tonight experts are warning of epidemics of play fever. You know, because it’s like hay fever but with a game, and the game has “spore” in the title… and I think hay fever might be caused by spores. It’s either caused by spores or ghosts, I’m sure of it.

Never mind. The Darkspore launch trailer’s out now, anyway, with clips of the game interspersed with various pieces of lukewarm-to-warm praise from gaming sites. See it for yourself after the jump.

There’s a co-op mode, you know. I can imagine this being pretty great in co-op. Seems a touch empty otherwise.


  1. Pwnedge says:

    More like Darkbore amirite?

    • JackShandy says:

      Perhaps a more appropriate moniker would be darkSNORE!!!

      No applause, just throw money.

    • JackShandy says:

      Perhaps a more appropriate moniker would be darkSNORE!???

      No applause, just throw money.

    • JackShandy says:

      Perhaps a more appropriate moniker would be darkSNORE!????

      No applause, just throw money.

    • Wulf says:

      Actually? No.

      I assumed this originally as well, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    • Foosnark says:

      Yes, you’re right. Boring.

      If Diablo 2 were slower, too easy, your choices when levelling made irrelevant, had any semblance of personality scrubbed away, saddled with a pointless and only half-working customization interface ripped out of an unrelated game, set in space, and prettier, it could be Darkspore.

      In fact between the one day of beta I bothered with and today, I pretty much forgot this thing existed.

    • nofing says:

      Well said Foosnark!
      I played the beta for maybe 1 hour and I was definitely bored after half an hour.
      It’s like removing almost every fun aspect of an ARPG, besides the killing and the looting and additionally managing to mess up the latter, which leaves us with killing… well if I want a game about nothing else but killing, I could as well play Call of Honor: Operation Battlefield

    • Wulf says:

      “[…] if I want a game about nothing else but killing, I could as well play Call of Honor: Operation Battlefield”

      You must realise that you’re an exemplar of the sort of problem I wrote about below? I mean, it’s essentially: “Diablo is okay because it’s boring, Call of Duty is okay because it’s boring, but this? It’s not boring, so… eh, I want to play something that is boring for my gaming fun.”

      Really, that’s pretty much what you just said. And I already knew that was the case. Doesn’t leave me feeling any less disappointed, though.

  2. Tei says:

    This game seems designed to attract the intersection of the group of people that like casual and cute monsters, and the broist hardcore teenagers that want to prove himself to other males.
    At first, I think the intersection is empty. But the popularity of My little Pony confuse me. Why is My Littel Pony soo popular in the geek community age bracket 18-42?
    I am going to quote some random RPS poster:
    So I’m going to throw you a real curveball now and say that this is actually why I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It is, perhaps, the most important cartoon for youngsters in years. Mostly because it subverts everything. It subverts My Little Pony, of course it does, by actually having a plot, and characters, it does this because the people behind the Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home are in it, but then it proceeds to subvert many other things as well. If you watch it, you’d see what I mean. It takes something, it gives you a logical conclusion, but it doesn’t really handle it quite how you’re expecting. And it’s a delight because of that, because it’s more than slightly unpredictable. Other reference:
    link to

    Any type of weird conclusions can follow. A valuable one is that in despite aesthetics, if something is good, people will come and play it.

    • mlaskus says:

      It is surprisingly good, not as cheesy as I expected. I got a bit curious about it after watching the Ponycraft 2 spoof, which is brilliant by the way, and ended up liking it.

    • Quaib says:

      The only reason my little pony is “popular” with 18+ is because it became a meme and was spammed on 4chan for some perverse reason

    • Tei says:

      Thats another good theory here.

    • Rii says:

      I heard about it via 4chan, but I stayed because it’s a good show. As for why it’s popular amongst young male adults, well, I think behind all the memes and the rest of it, it speaks to the desperation of the male condition in society. My Little Pony provides a safe means of escape, however temporary, from the cult of masculinity within which we are trapped as a fly in amber.

    • Urael says:

      “it speaks to the desperation of the male condition in society. My Little Pony provides a safe means of escape, however temporary, from the cult of masculinity within which we are trapped as a fly in amber.”

      Oh Rii, just…just shut up and hold me, you big lummox.

    • Wulf says:

      Me? I tend to gleefully revel in it as I never had a man card to begin with. And I was the one talking of it in Tei’s post too. You are not surprised, of course.

      And I invite everyone over to Equestria Daily, where the bronies frollick.

      Oh and this, just because I feel like linking it.

      Edit #1: Oh and this in case anyone’s not familiar with Doctor Whooves.

      For those of you whom haven’t watched it. Go do it. Do it now! You will not regret it. Though you may end up with a better appreciation and understanding of those who like anthropomorphic animals.

  3. Juiceman says:

    Seems to be worth a play through, but I’m not paying for it.

    • magnus says:

      Oh, so your torrenting it then?

    • BobsLawnService says:

      I know what you are saying. This game screams “I’m curious but not spending money on it.”

      Either I’ll forget about it completely by next week or I will see it in a bargain bin in a few months and pick it up.

  4. MuscleHorse says:

    I’ll pick it up in a sale, a bit too expensive for what it is right now.

  5. lunarplasma says:

    I found it’s like a Diablo clone with less skill variety. I’d rather wait on Diablo 3.

    • Wulf says:

      I thought it was about the same if you consider your entire party rather than just one character.

  6. Red_Avatar says:

    Does ANYONE really care about this game? Spore kicked up a big fuss a few years back but Darkspore barely gets more than a tiny topic with maybe 4-5 posts on most forums I go to, if even that. After the joke that was Spore, I’m not surprised.

    • Urael says:

      “After the joke that was Spore, I’m not surprised”

      What, the game that promised the world but delivered a spastic child’s version of itself? I can’t think what you could possibly mean….

      As for ‘Darkspore’, the desperate child with the title trying too hard to be ‘cool’, those really are the most average plaudits I’ve ever seen attached to a game. They remind me of Christmases having to say something – anything – nice about the awful shit your relatives have bought you.

    • Foxfoxfox says:

      If you like [this genre] then Darkspore is certainly [this genre]!

    • Archonsod says:

      Possibly it has more to do with Spore being primarily a strategy game, while Darkspore is a Diablo clone. While I consider Spore had some good points, I have yet to find anything redeeming about the paint drying simulator that is Diablo.

    • Wulf says:

      Spore wasn’t a joke, it just wasn’t what people wanted or expected. There is a difference. If you can cast aside expectations and let your brain be not-plastic enough to actually explore it and see it for what it is, then there’s actually a pretty fun game in Spore.

      I think people just let themselves get taken away with the hype, I do that sometimes, too, but when a game rolls around I tend to still be able to actually be able to enjoy something for what it is. I must be one of the few people alive who’s able to actually do that.

      In my opinion? Spore was unusual, but really rather good.

    • satsui says:

      I agree with Wulf. Spore was good, but it was not what I expected it to be. That being said, it wasn’t REALLY GOOD. It was just good. Beyond the creature stage, the game was pretty pointless to me.

    • Nesetalis says:

      I enjoyed spore.. mostly the very first stage and the last stage (i love space simulation, exploration, and colonization)
      the rest of it can go take a flying fuck in a rolling donut. The hype almost ruined it, they promised far more than they delivered.

      As for darkspore, i’m not sure if i can get behind it… they should have gone with a completely unique game instead of tacking it on to spore’s skirt.

  7. MajorManiac says:

    So far, its looks hideously boring. However I’ll wait for a review before making up my mind completely.

    Aesthetically it kind of reminds me of Evolva. Which just makes me sad that no one has remade that.

    • Koozer says:

      It’s nothing like Evolva. Thanks for reminding me about another brilliant game I’ll never see the likes of again, you swearwords.

    • svge says:

      Evolva is on, I still have my disk somewhere… A sterling game to say the least!

  8. Koozer says:

    I played the beta, these are my opinions:

    The plot is thinner than eco-friendly toilet paper, and nearly as irritating when you just want to finish your task at hand. At least in Diablo and Torchlight I had some vague want to see the end of the storylines.

    You’re stuck on easy mode until you finish the game.

    Some dudes have pretty interesting abilities and combos, some are a bit dull. But I was never a one for the fighter/warrior types.

    The loot invokes naught but annoyance at having to physically attach it to your dudes after the bazillionth upgrade you find. Especially as you don’t really need it on easy.

    Multiplayer IS more fun, but you can’t actually pick which mission you traipse through, leading to completion of the same starting missions over and over and over and over…

    • Fetthesten says:

      Played the beta too, what struck me was how the developers had seemingly gone to great lengths to make the game as characterless and dull as possible. Elements that are usually vital in adding sparkle to action-RPGs appeared to have been either removed or altered in a way that made them less fun. I actually enjoyed Spore, but Darkspore (at least the beta, they might have rebuilt the game from the ground up in the last thirty days) lacks the charm and personality I liked in Spore.

    • Kdansky says:

      “You’re stuck on easy mode until you finish the game.”

      Definitive no-buy.

      Can I have a pretty Stone Soup now? With ludicrous difficulty and depth? No? Sadface.jpg

    • Wulf says:

      You know, the plot of Diablo and Torchlight was incredibly shit too, really, it was utter tripe, and if you’re telling yourself otherwise then you’re fooling yourself. I’ve gone back to Diablo recently and it has way too many facepalm moments and plotholes, it’s not a great bit of writing. But that’s not the point of those games.

      I actually thought Darkspore was a little better because Torchlight’s plot was almost non-existent, and though Darkspore’s writing wasn’t brilliant, it was still there. And I liked how they tried to offer at least some explanation for what was going on around me, there was a lot of effort put into that and the effort is appreciated.

      Really, I don’t think it was that bad. I think it was just unfamiliar, and people are taking unfamiliar as bad. And that sort of attitude makes me a little bit angry, because I enjoyed this more than Diablo.

      Again, I think had it had human heroes, a medieval England sort of setting, leet loot, and a very typical and usual tale, it would’ve done about a hundred times better than it’s doing. This is something that bothers me… why do unique things do so poorly? Spore too.

      (Mind you, I think Torchlight is an incredibly fun game, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that it excelled because of the writing, here.)

    • svge says:

      I liked Diablo’s (2 that is) plot. Uniquely gothic and rich in history with an epic feeling that many games don’t achieve. The actual story in the game isn’t up to much, “Player you must kill demons!!!” but I was kept interested by the spectacular FMVs and the way that they’re told through the perspective of Marius.

    • Koozer says:

      First things first: I enjoyed the first round of beta. Honest, I did! I reached level 9 before it wiped.

      “You know, the plot of Diablo and Torchlight was incredibly shit too, really, it was utter tripe, and if you’re telling yourself otherwise then you’re fooling yourself”. Correct, now imagine if you will a plot even less interesting than that. It doesn’t even attempt to weave the plot into the missions, it’s just a fancy set of bookends for each mission. A bloke talking over a weird-looking black hole for 10 seconds as you wander past doesn’t really count.

      Please don’t assume I have some kind of phobia of games that don’t include big swords, inappropriate armour and with a story covering thousands of years while inexplicably still being in a medieval era. I’m used to ignoring setting if gameplay holds up.

      This is what I think of Darkspore: £10 Steam sale. It can be pretty fun in a group, the different combos of abilities can be interesting, but it’s hard to care about the loot (on easy) and the story.

    • Hallgrim says:

      I played this in beta, and thought it was terrible. Insultingly easy, zero story line, boring maps and gameplay.

    • Xocrates says:

      From my time with the beta I never felt the plot was shit. My only problem with it was that it felt so disconnected from actual gameplay that I never felt like it affected me in any way. Torchlight, despite its token and virtually non-existent plot, at least gave you the impression that there was some sort of story progression as opposed to a random succession of levels.

      That said, I didn’t feel like Darkspore was bad, only that there are cheaper and more interesting alternatives.

      I may get it on sale, but I didn’t see anything about the game that justifies launching it as a full price AAA. Especially since the game blatantly did not need 100 or so heroes.

  9. groghog says:

    haha those tepid bits of praise are hilarious. Might as well have said “Well, it’s something to do”

  10. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I thought the BETA was actually a fair bit of fun but looking at the comments I can see I’m falling into a minority here :(
    At any rate the price tag is certainly enough to put me off for now, but I reckon I’ll be picking this up at soon as I find it for $15 or less.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Nothing wrong with being in a minority. I hope some people will enjoy this.

    • Wulf says:

      I thought it was really great too. I think some people are just put off by the unfamiliarity. You know, not human heroes, not a medieval England fantasy setting or something… and this is why we can’t have nice things.

      But me? I enjoyed it. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t overhyped about it and expecting it to be the next Diablo (which some people might have wanted for their leet loot fix), and thus I was able to accept it for what it was. I don’t know. All I can do here is shrug.

    • Oneironaut says:

      I’m in the same boat as you. I enjoyed the beta, but not enough to pay full price, especially with the Witcher 2 only weeks away.

      This will be great fun once I get it in a good sale.

  11. Ergates_Antius says:

    Spores or ghosts? Hay fever is caused by plant-jizz, everyone knows that.

  12. Wulf says:

    Well, I liked it. I liked Spore, too. I honestly can’t see what was wrong with Spore, either, so to me it just looks like a massive dose of ‘haters gonna hate.’

    I found it lovely, it was fun plodding around the alien worlds and configuring my heroes, and I loved how it threw one different environment at me after the other, I suppose if it ran out of environments it might get boring, but that didn’t happen before I lost beta access. And the story behind it is really fun science-fantasy stuff, like building a ring-world of asteroids surrounding a singularity, or having a living bioluminescent world. It’s great stuff.

    I suppose it’s what you want from it. If you’re after leet numbers/loot then you won’t find that here, that’s not the compulsion. But eh, I liked it.

    • svge says:

      So what you’re saying is that if you can’t find anything wrong with a game, then everyone else who dislikes it is a “hater” who hates for the sake of hating?

    • Wulf says:

      That’s exactly what I’m saying, because a lot of the arguments against Spore have not been objective, but rather that it wasn’t what people were expecting. That doesn’t make Spore a bad game, it just makes it not what people were expecting. If you can see Spore for what it is rather than what you want it to be, then you might find it worthwhile.

      But gamers tend to have problems with that. See: Minecraft. Tell me that the Minecraft community isn’t one of haters when they don’t get exactly what they want, and the same story surrounds Spore. People got caught up in hype and thought that they were entitled to a game that accurately simulated a galaxy, and were therefore unable to accept Spore for what it was.

      It’s ridiculous. Just like the Minecraft hate is ridiculous.

      No other form of entertainment medium has problems like this, only videogames, because people are too willing to believe in the impossible and get angry when it doesn’t happen. I mean, trailers sometimes have scenes that get cut from films, and I never see the sort of furore that surrounded Spore, with people refusing to go to theatres and hating on the film for that reason.

      It’s… patently ridiculous. I’m calling it out. This is one of those things that makes me angry, and I’m just going to call shenanigans. This is a problem with the gamer mindset, not with Spore.

      I’m going to wrap this up by pointing out that the problem I see is that gamers have expectations, often ridiculously high ones, and this means that if they like or expect something, then something that’s similar but not quite what they like/expect, it’s the worst game ever. If something isn’t familiar? Worst game ever. If it doesn’t live up to impossible hype (of course it won’t)? Worst game ever.

      Tell me all of that isn’t true.

      Edit #1: Okay, not done yet. Because Spore hate really breaks me and if I don’t speak my mind about it just once I think I’ll go crazy. I haven’t been this irritated by anything in a while, but hear me out.

      Consider this: The Portal 2 ARG.

      Think about it.

      Everyone thought it was going to be released on the 15th. I had my suspicions too. When I saw another countdown timer, I shrugged. Eh. I was wrong. I can actually be wrong! It happens, you know. But here on RPS and around the Internet?

      Valve is the worst company ever. Portal 2 is the worst game ever. Let’s give Portal 2 horrible Metacritic scores because Valve sucks! They conned us! Valve conned us because of our ridiculous expectations. Valve totally conned us and it was nothing to do with our speculation and hyping ourselves, no sir. Valve totally conned us.


      Again. Tell me what I’m saying is untrue.

      In the case of Spore, like Portal 2, it can really be a problem with the gamer mindset rather than the game itself.

    • Red_Avatar says:

      Sorry but I disliked Spore for being a crappy game, not because I wanted to hate it. It was a collection of shallow mini-games where the design aspect was as good as pointless. They felt like poor copies of existing genres but without a story or the depth – every part of the game had been surpassed by other games and in a big way so there was no excuse for this. The creation part was flawed as well – it made no difference, you were far too restricted in designing your creature and it felt like they simply didn’t know how to implement the custom design into the game and gave up.

    • svge says:

      I’ll preface this with the fact that i’m very drunk incase I come across unintelligble (mind my spelling)
      Since when did that not happen with films? Star Wars The Phantom Menace anyone? And that’s beside the point…Fair enough you liked the game but that doesn’t make other people’s dislike less valid regardless whether their opinion is based on hype or not.
      P.S you have no idea how long I spent proofwording that short comment, I’m going to watch the Sopranos then sleep.

      P.P.S I’m still unsure about “Whether” I know it’s not weather (that would be stupid) but have I added an extra “H” for fun? Hopefully someone will enlighten me tomorrow.

  13. Hatsworth says:

    Played some of the beta, was not impressed. I’m probably not their target audience though. Still, it was laughably easy and you had to unlock harder difficulty levels, that’s pretty poor.

  14. amandachen says:

    Gaming for the m_asses. I tried the beta and it was the shit. Literally.

    • Outsider says:

      Literally shit? If that’s what you’re attempting to play with you’re doing something wrong.

  15. magnus says:

    Once it’s £ 5-10 on steam then and only then am I buying it, I was interested when I played the Beta but there are better games out there I want to spend my money on, and for me Darkspore is a rainy-day kind of game.

  16. cw8 says:

    WTF is this shit.

    Simcity 5, now!

  17. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I hate the usage of the term ‘action rpg’. Somewhat similar to many ‘MMORPG’s, they’re usually not in any way an RPG of any sort.

    Oh.. Darkspore? Doesn’t seem to be my kind of game. Sorry.

  18. Anthile says:

    I think you got it all wrong. It’s basically a DotA-esque game with PvE focus. I played the beta. I enjoyed it at first but it gets repetitive very fast and it’s just not challenging enough. I think Darkspore is one of the few games that could be improved simply by making it brutally hard.

  19. Spider Jerusalem says:

    If you have 2-3 other people to play with and you have LWS, it’s a fun enough game. The folks I was playing with all reached the consensus that it has no business being $50, though. It’s a $10-$15 dollar game in terms of content.

  20. satsui says:

    Played the beta, and I was not impressed. They try to sell that you create your own creature and everything, but that really had little to no effect. The game, is just another Diablo wannabe.

  21. KilgoreTrout_XL says:

    Different price points notwithstanding, I don’t get why people hate this but love torchlight. Whatever floats your boat I suppose. The beta wasn’t bad, especially with co-op.
    I looked at the Darkspore forums. The only issues getting raised about difficulty levels that I saw were complaints that certain portions are unfairly hard.

    And at the end of the day, it’s a Diablo clone. If you’re upset that you’re going to have to run through dungeons more than once, then these simply aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, that’s what confounds me, absolutely confounds me.

      I loved Torchlight and I loved this, there seems to be no good reason to slam this other than yer everyday average gamer xenophobia – slam it because it’s different. :/ That really, really bothers me.

  22. Thomas of Plum says:

    I am really not in tune with the gaming hivemind on this one…played the beta and loved it. Only thing I thought needed a change was a bump to the difficulty and they fixed that in the retail release; enemies are more varied and the AI director they have in it loves throwing large groups of things that spit and shake and dig and otherwise are very fun to fight at you, and usually at times when you’re already limping along at 1/3 health.

    I also love that all the heroes you can unlock have unique animations and skills, and they’re always a blast to use. My current favourite is a dog (of half-life fame) lookalike that uses four shoulder mounted machine gun turrets to spray the immediate ground around him. Whats not to love in that? If I get bored of him I switch to a spider looking thing that uses the souls of dead enemies to power his ass mounted plasma gun. I’ll just leave that there.

    The story is a fine little sci-fi dinner mat, always there but never the focus, and its true it isnt very integrated into the game but it is well done otherwise. Of course, if you’re at all interested in the game, its probably because that top-down perspective, click-happy, loot-dispensing, actiony rpg-lite bug that you caught back in the days when diablo ruled never quite went away. I will say that $50 is too much, and I imagine a good number of people who would otherwise be their target audience will pick it up on sale, and be very happy with it at the 20-30$ price range.

    What I’m getting at is that at least one person is having an absolute blast with it, so maybe you will too. Toss it on you’re steam wish list and pick it up on sale if you have fond memories of titan quest and torchlight, it is a worthy addition to the genre.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, but it doesn’t have a boring setting! It’s not centred around things that we’re entirely familiar with and have seen before. It’s actually new and interesting, so it’s terrifying and scary! Let’s go play Diablo instead, because we all know where we stand with that.


      For the record, I agree with everything you’ve said. I think people are just slamming this because it’s unusual and managing to flummox gamers. I’m incredibly disappointed by that, more than I can ever express in mere words, but there you go. Because considering your post, I honestly cannot think of a good reason to praise Diablo and slam this, other than Diablo is the old sort of familiar same-old that we’ve always had, and this actually tried to be a bit different.

      I’m definitely not in tune with the hivemind about this, but then I rarely ever am.

  23. LintMan says:

    I was interested until I discovered that even single player requires a constant online connection.

  24. Wulf says:

    I have to say that the more I play this game, the more I love it for what it is, and I think I dig this even more than I did Torchlight. I’ve not had this much fun with this sort of game in a while. So… with something that’s just this much fun, I’m going to quoth the sage and call wrong-faced buffoonery on anyone who’d love up Diablo but spurn this.