Spore Hero Arena Review
Spore Hero Arena box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Maxis 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Electronic Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 6, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

To be fair, there are other factors that make all this more bearable. The most important one takes place not in the arena but in the creature-creation room. When putting your little guy together, you have to worry not only about how he looks, but also about how each new feature affects his fighting abilities. This is also a concern when choosing and upgrading your special moves (there are three types of them: one targets the nearest opponent, another targets all on-screen opponents, and the third doesn't target at all). By taking the time to build a fighter whose features all work together, you can dramatically increase your chances of winning. Oddly enough, it's a lot more fun and strategic to build a fighter than to fight with one.

Spore Hero Arena screenshot

There are other upsides to the combat in this game as well. For one, in order to build up special attacks, you have to land blows, which forces you to learn each enemy's vulnerabilities, even if in the end you're just waiting for him to step too close to the edge. Also, you can retry fights whenever you want, so it's not as though every defeat forces you to play through a 20-minute level all over again.

The graphics and sound here are about average for the DS. The world is rendered in three dimensions. You have plenty of options in terms of your creature's colors, and the rest of the world looks almost as charming as a Mario game. The music and sound effects aren't particularly memorable, but they definitely enhance the experience rather than detracting from it.

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Spore Hero Arena's premise of designing creatures for the purpose of arena fighting is a good one, but the execution is a bit off here. The endless series of unexciting tasks brings the game down and often makes it feel like a cash-in. Also, the various problems with the combat system make it far less engrossing than it could have been. In the end, though, any Spore title is primarily about creature creation, and this game gets that right, at least.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.5
Graphics
They're in 3-D, which is a step up from Spore Creatures. They're colorful and about average for the DS.
3.7
Control
The game allows you to choose between traditional and stylus control; we recommend traditional, but both work for the most part. Charged and special attacks take too long to pull off, though.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
No complaints here, but nothing stands out much, either.
2.5

Play Value
Thanks to the endless series of mundane tasks, not to mention a few problems with the combat system, this game isn't much fun.

2.9
Overall Rating - Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Create your own Hero with over 150 parts and powers, now for the first time in 3-D on the DS!
  • Fight dangerous enemies in arenas across the galaxy, from all-out four-creature "Battle Royales" to capture the crown "King of the Planet" challenges, and much more!
  • Summon over 15 devastating Bio-Power attacks, from lightning strikes to deadly ground stomps!
  • Brawl with your friends in four-player wireless and two-player Wi-Fi action!
  • Play an original Spore story, set in the same galaxy as Spore Hero for Wii. Travel to a variety of planets, completing missions and challenging opponents who have been corrupted by an evil power. Fight to become the ultimate Spore Hero and save the galaxy!


  • Screenshots / Images
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