Create and control your own universe
In the online game Spore, you get to control how a universe develops and the life that will inhabit it. You can manage the evolution of a new species from its beginnings as a microscopic organism to the moment it acquires intelligence and forms tribes, to when it establishes civilization, etc. In this expansive and creative game, the fate of creation is in your hands.
What is Spore?
Spore is an online real-time strategy and life simulation game, covering genres such as action and role-playing. Developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts (EA), this game has represented a most ambitious project in the history of videogames. It has gone against the likes of SimCity, SimEarth, SimLife, and The Sims, which have sold millions of copies worldwide.
The game has drawn attention for its massive scope and use of open-ended gameplay and procedural generation. Although some may argue that its gameplay is both shallow and tedious.
Alternatives to Spore include Slime Rancher, where you're the master of a farm full of slugs, the first-person space adventure game No Man's Sky, Seed, an upcoming massively multiplayer sandbox simulation game, and Stellaris, a highly interactive universe exploration game. Closer to home, Papers, Please requires you to play the role of an immigration inspector on earth.
Spore Galactic Adventures, meanwhile, is an expansion that enlarges the space portion of the original Spore game. Some Spore fans called for a Spore 2 follow-up game, but as the developer studio closed many years ago, it looks unlikely there'll be a sequel.
Spore Origins, which focuses on the initial cell phase of the original game, is available on Android, iOS, Java, N-Gage, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless.
Can you still play Spore?
You can still play Spore online, although the game is not free to download. It also does not offer a free trial. Users can, however, download the Spore Creature Editor free of charge to practice creating the characters that will live in their world. The game is available for Microsoft Windows PCs and Mac OS X. It is not, however, supported by the Catalina operating system.
Spore is essentially a collection of five mini-games, each depicting a different stage of biological and social evolution (such as tribes). Gaming style also varies, which can actually be a bit jarring. Throughout each of the stages, you use various creators, such as Spore Creature Editor, to produce content for your games, including characters, vehicles, and buildings that will later take part in the story.
The choices you make in your creature's design will lay the groundwork for its future: the game lets you choose every aspect of your species's physical shape as well as its social tendencies and life mission. Creating the creatures – and anticipating how its life might play out – is one of the most engaging aspects of Spore.
Any content you create is then automatically uploaded to the online Spore site for other players to use in their games. The user-generated content helps to create a rich universe of weird and wonderful creatures to struggle against in the second half of the game.
How do you play Spore?
Spore begins at the cell stage, with your basic organism floating around in a primordial soup. Your tide pool amoeba eats pellets (you can choose if it is a carnivore or herbivore) and tries to avoid getting eaten by other creatures. After around half an hour, if you've lived this long, your cell will emerge onto land and develop into the creature stage. This is by far the most fun and engaging section of the game.
During this stage, you can fully appreciate the rich possibilities of Spore's toolset. As you explore the planet that your creature lives on, meeting other players' creations, the DNA you collect lets you modify your creation with a huge variety of body parts that give it different abilities. It might be good at singing or dancing (useful for making friends with other species) or biting or clawing for when the time comes to fight for survival.
It's as Spore reaches the tribal phase and beyond, however, that the game loses momentum a little. One problem is that the gameplay is pretty slow. The other annoying aspect of this stage is that after spending a long time fine-tuning your creature, the abilities it develops become largely meaningless in subsequent phases.
In the tribal stage, you choose between a few different weapons and clothing, while in the civilization phase you create airplanes, land vehicles, and ships. By the space phase, you build starships. It's all a bit impersonal. A shift in camera perspective also means that your creatures become distant, tiny shapes that are difficult to connect with, unlike the loveable freaks you bond with earlier in the game.
The whole latter half of the game is just not as fun as creating and watching your creature develop intelligence and navigate its way around its world.
Imaginative universe creation game
Spore lets you take your imagination to digital life as you nurture a one-celled ocean creature through evolution, and the domination of Earth and the universe. It's an imaginative game that received widespread attention when it was released and still has legions of fans playing around the world.
More advanced players will probably find Spore boring as its gameplay elements are simple. For others, however, this simplicity will be part of the game's charm and you can certainly complete it without a problem.
Despite the age of Spore, there's still something compelling about trying to become the master of your very own universe!