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There’s something undeniably impressive going on at the heart of Spore Hero; some kind of alien technology that means if you stick a third leg on the creature you create and put its eyes on its belly, it will walk around looking as pitiful as it sounds. The first thing we did was give it a mouth so it didn’t starve to death. See how the sorry thing uses its bellyeyes to look for food. Horrible. And when we put a pair of useless flappy hands at the end of giant spindly arms coming out of its arse, it used those to pick up the oranges and berries it stuffed into its lamprey’s maw.
We gave it spiny horns and some extra eyes so it could see backwards as well as straight down. We tucked its ankle joints below its body and dragged its knees outwards and watched it waddle around like a foul arachnid parody of Charlie Chaplin.
The game handles anything you can throw at its creature creator, animating the results with exceptional fluidity. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many interesting things to do once you’ve tweaked and modified your beast. One of the main activities is fighting. You build a fierce monster, you pit it against rivals. It’s like a really lame beat-’em-up with hardly any moves and annoying waggle controls for activating special attacks. Honestly, it’s so insipid we would have preferred the game just to add up the stats and let the fights play out automatically. At least that might have looked exciting.
If you’re not fighting a creature, you’ll be dancing with it. Waggle the Nunchuk and remote in time with the music while two strange animals bounce around half-heartedly. It’s awful. One of the challenges was to beat a creature in a dance-off five times, and we were even less inclined to be bothered with that than we were with the one where we had to fight the ‘combat master’ 15 times.
It’s a shame that we had to pick our way through levels studded with these dreadful turds of minigames, because the rest of it is quite good. We liked adding parts to our creature to see if they’d help us make it to some distant ledge. And the graphics are great – the pastel-colored world begs to be explored. Simply making the monsters run around can be fun.
Younger players will certainly get a kick out of it, and since it’s clearly not aimed at hardcore gamers, or even the wider audience who play Spore on PC, you should take into account that this score is probably not for you. Get the PC version if you just want to marvel at the animation. This one is probably for your child/younger sibling.
Oct 8, 2009