• Spore: Full Walk-Through and Review

    Spore, EA's extremely popular creature-creating adventure/take-care-of-my-pet game was released Monday for iPhone via the Apple AppStore. The release, anticipated as early as the March 6th unveiling of the 2.0 firmware at Apple's WWDC this year, comes only a day later than EA announced it would.

    As of the writing of this post, Spore was still not showing up in the AppStore, but you can download it from iTunes and sync to your iPhone by using the direct link to it in iTunes. The official AppStore description:

    iPhone/iPod Touch Exclusive Features!
    • Tilt, turn, and twist your way through the primordial ooze with your motion-sensing acceleromter.
    • Pinch, pull, and poke your creation in the Creature Editor, customizing the texture, shape, and body parts to fit the way you play.
    • Personalize your game-play by skinning your creature with pictures from your device's Photo Albums.
    • Experience 2 exciting game modes: Evolution and Survival.
    • Survive 30 challenging levels teaming [sic] with bizarre creatures.
    • Navigate treacherous caverns to explore various strange worlds.
    • Enjoy vivid graphics, dynamic animations and atmospheric music on your evolutionary journey.

    After installing Spore, tap the icon on your springboard (homescreen). You'll be greeted by the EA startup screen, a Spore splash screen, and then the loading screen.

    The menu offers a wide selection of items. The Options menu is standard, but offers one cool feature - Set Relative Tilt Angle allows you to let the game know the angle you'd prefer to be default. We don't all hold our iPhones completely parallel with the ground, so this makes for a useful feature.

    My Creatures allows you to quickly check all your creatures stats, as well as delete creatures if you'd like. The Achievements tab lists all your trophies won.

    The help menu is a fully featured one, including controls, tips on the
    Creature Editor and Survival/Evolution mode differences and help.

    The creature editor is a very cool area of Spore, and one of the things that makes Spore so popular - extreme customizability. You can pinch, pull, wrap, colorize, and even wrap the creature in a photo from your photo book. Spore creatures can be completely customized.

    Once you create your creature and click play, you're greeted with an intro video. This plays every time you start the game, which is kinda annoying - but if you tap the screen when it starts, you can see the iPhone's movie controls (weird, yah) and just fast forward to the end so it starts your level.

    Game play is simple yet addicting - wander around encountering other creatures. As you first start the initial level, the game will give you some pointers while you wander around, and you will encounter nothing until the tips have let you know what to do - then the creatures will start pouring in.

    When you see smaller creature than yourself, the little tadpoles (ehem, yah, tadpoles is what they look like), move over to them. Running them over makes you /eat/ them, filling your DNA bar. When you fill your DNA bar completely full, you've passed the level.

    Each level brings you new challeneges - the first 5 levels are in the "Primordial Ooze," as you "evolve" your creature towards land. As you advance into new levels, you get to /eat/ larger creatures as you encounter them.

    The more evolution points you get (by eating more and more creatures), the more parts are unlocked in the creature editor. From offensive parts such as claws to defensive parts like shields, you can edit your creature as the game progresses to use advanced parts to play the game more effectively.

    Level 4 is the first level moving towards land - and doesn't require a DNA meter to beat it, just navigate through the level. You get 5 "hearts" or health points, and each time you hit one of the spiney creatures, or get bit by the shellfish lookin guy, you lose health. Lose all 5, and you are game over. You can restart at the beginning of the level you were on.

    Level 6 actually brings you onto land (supposedly - you're actually in a lava pit this time instead.

    All in all, the ability to save level states (you can start back at whichever level you'd like to), and levels which are not too long but not too short while playing make Spore a great game to play for 5 minutes or an hour. I've only played to level 8 so far, and the additional parts and difficulty in passing each level is definitely addicting and fun. iTunes lets us know there's 30 levels of gameplay available in Spore Origins.

    I wish they had a bit more than the liquid levels - the original spore game eventually launches you into a full blown world as you evolve from a swimming creature into a walking, running, tribe-leading creature. As it is the difficulty level increases enough with each level to be challenging and hold attention.

    Worth the $10 to me.
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