Spore Review
Spore box art
System: PC 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: Sep. 7, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The Civilization Stage is similar to the previous mode, only on a larger scale. With the technological advancements available to your beings, you can now design land, sea, and air vehicles as well as buildings. Keeping your cities productive requires constructing a mixture of industry, residential, and entertainment buildings - and defenses, if foes get too close for comfort. This time your creatures have broken off into different competing factions, and you'll have to unify the planet through force or friendship before launching into the reaches of space. The black and white ethics continues here as well, though it's far easier (and satisfying) to build a dozen units and go wipe the planet clean of opposing factions.

Spore screenshot

It's also worth noting that all the gameplay decisions and tactics you choose to take have an impact on what kind of society your creatures evolve into in the later stages of the game. At any point, you can also open up and view a history of your species' evolution that tracks their milestones and tendencies.

When your creatures finally do leave the planet, you'll find the Space Stage to be the largest, lengthiest, and most complex section of the entire game. A few minor plot elements begin to kick in here, and exploring the vast cosmos is as open and full of potential as you might expect. There are tons of planets in countless solar systems to mold and colonize, new species and civilizations to interact with, wars to be wrought, galactic trade routes to be formed, alliances to be forged and broken, creatures to abduct, and lots more to do.


Playing through each section in order, the cool variation in perspective and graphical style becomes readily apparent. Visually, things look good through most of the evolutionary journey, but there are moments where the graphics just simply pop. There are particularly memorable moments to be found in the brief Cell Stage, where subtle creatures and unusual fluctuations in scenery are just below the surface of the foreground action. This is also true of the final Space Stage, when the beautiful sunset reflects off the shimmering ocean of the spherical planets. The creatures themselves, regardless of unique designs, are incredibly endearing. They exude personality and charm at every step of the adventure.

Spore screenshot

While some of the individual evolutionary phases in Spore are either too short or could have been further developed, the game as a whole is truly remarkable. The sacrifice in depth in some areas is disappointing, but it's not unforgivable when considering the bigger picture. No matter which way you look at it, Spore is a thought provoking gaming experience and a truly unique exercise in simulated evolution. It certainly outstrips Will Wright's previous work in terms of scope and promise; even if it falls slightly short of the mark on execution. Still, there's no reason why Spore shouldn't be on the top of your to-do list. It's time to evolve.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

The delightful and colorful world and its many unique inhabitants come to life with vibrant animation.
Mouse and keyboard controls change slightly with each phase, but they're all fairly intuitive and easy to grasp.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Strong audio effects, creature sounds, and music all around.
Play Value
Some aspects are not as deep as some will like, but the overall evolutionary journey is a worthy pursuit indeed.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • CREATE Your Universe from Microscopic to Macrocosmic: From tide pool amoebas to thriving civilizations to intergalactic starships, everything is in your hands.
  • EVOLVE Your Creature through Five Stages: It's survival of the funnest as your choices reverberate through generations and ultimately decide the fate of your civilization.
  • EXPLORE Other Players' Galaxies: Will your creature rule the universe, or will your beloved planet be blasted to smithereens by a superior alien race?
  • SHARE with the World: Everything you make is shared with other players and vice versa, providing tons of cool creatures to meet and new places to visit.

  • Screenshots / Images
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