Spore Creature Creator Review

What better way to test my reviewing system than to use it on the Spore Creature Creator? True it's not a fully-fledged game but at least it's small enough for me to finish testing it after an hour or two so I can provide some feedback to the public on what it's like. So, here goes.

Sound (3/5)
It's hard to tell at the present time since this is after all a demo but there doesn't appear to be that much variety in the creature's sound effects (at least after trying with a few of Maxis's creations and my very own). However, after some YouTube surfing of Spore Creature Creator Videos from other players (there'll be a lot of these popping up for the next few days since that's the default video name in Spore), I discovered that there is some difference. I even ended up finding one that sounded like wolf, donkey and monkey.

Music (3/5)
Music in Spore is composed by Brian Eno and is claimed to be "procedural music". I can't quite see what's so procedural about it yet but then again, this is only a demo and I probably can't see it in action yet. I did notice the music changes according to what dance your creature does, but that's old technology. The actual music itself however is very fitting to the game. The best way to describe it is that it's a weird fusion of cute-synth-tribal music (there's a small sample of it in the video posted below).

Graphics (3/5)
The visual style that is employed in this game is one that is appealing to children as the aliens look like they're straight from some sci-fi cartoon. This means the aliens don't look terribly realistic in some regards but they definitely move fluidly enough. One of the promoted features of Spore is the fact your creatures move in the most logical way given the number of appendages they have and where their centre of gravity is, and judging from the demo, looks like Maxis were spot on. I only spotted a couple of instances where there was some weird clipping going on (in particular when I had my creature do a "sad" emote its head somehow ended up in its torso).

Plot (5/5)
Being a sandbox game there really isn't any plot except the one you wish to create (now that's creativity!). Consequently, no marks lost here.

Gameplay (5/5)
Hard to judge the actual gameplay but the demo has succeeded in whetting my appetite. Depending on what parts you put on your creature and even where you put them will determine what sort of attacks it will perform, whether it will be more efficient at being a cultural creature that can influence other tribes or a better fighter so it can use aggressive tactics instead. The fact that your creature is basically your baby (something that Black and White fans can associate with I suppose!) you really want to see how a whole tribe of these things handles itself in the big bad world. I can only assume it's going to be awesome.

Replayability (5/5)
This is a Maxis game, need I say more? :P These guys are the masters of creating replayable games, mainly because they're sandbox games. Spore is no exception.

Polish (4/5)
A welcome surprise for me is that the demo, even though it's not the full game, is running very stable and I haven't had one single hitch. They even have seamless integration with YouTube so you can record and upload videos to your channel without even leaving the game! The only criticism I had was that due to my slow connection, it took a long time to upload it and there was no loading bar when the upload took place (people like to know how long they have to wait for Maxis) - but due to Spore being so stable I could easily alt+tab out and do other things without fear of it crashing.

Overall - 80%
For you Sims and Maxis fans out there (which is a lot judging by the success of The Sims and The Sims 2), you've probably already got your copy of the Spore Creature Creator and playing around with it right now. For those of you who haven't, give Spore Creature Creator a whirl. It won't take much of your time and it'll give you a small glimpse at how creative you can get with Spore. There are some limitations on what you can do but it looks like there'll be enough variety in this to let the more creative players come up with some pretty ridiculous looking aliens and Spore will seamlessly calculate the best way that they interact with their universe.