Make the creature of your dreams, and then send it out to crush the competition.
The concept of Spore is one that captured the hearts and imaginations of players the minute they heard about it. It was a game that took the theory of evolution and ran away with it, creating a game that used the entire galaxy as its playground, making creators out of players worldwide. Spore has now landed on the Wii as Spore Hero. The idea of creating your own monster has been retained, but the gameplay has changed in order to provide a completely new experience.
Spore Hero returns to the Spore universe. A series of strange events has been bothering the inhabitants of the Spore planet; red and blue meteors have been falling from the skies, bringing with them odd, weird, and even deadly creatures. This is where the player comes in. Taking on the role of a creature that emerges from one of these meteors, you will explore the Spore Hero world and discover the meaning behind these strange events.
As in the original Spore, Spore Hero incorporates various game genres to create one cohesive experience. The first is the creature creator. When you start the game you are given the task of creating a basic Spore creature. Once you determine the basics of the creature, such as walking and biting, you will be able to collect creature parts, such as eyes, hands, feet, horns, and other limbs. At any time during the adventure, your creature can be upgraded and altered. This is important because every change you make to your creature affects it in a different way. New abilities can be gained by implementing the right limb; the creature can also gain levels as you continue altering its appearance.
Spore Hero is also an adventure/platforming game. Once the creature is created, you will be able to explore the Spore world, interact with other creatures, and take on a series of missions. Some of these include re-designing a creature so that it looks more menacing, reuniting a character with its companion, delivering a piece of fruit to a guardian in order to gain entrance to its nest, and even missions in which you battle other creatures.
The other major aspect of gameplay is fighting. During certain parts of the adventure, your creature will have to battle other creatures and enemies in order to move the story forward and gain new limbs for the creature creator. When this happens, Spore Hero becomes a fighting game akin to Street Fighter. You move the Wii Remote left and right to perform attacks, and shake the Nunchuk to perform a charge attack.
There's also a rhythm/dance mini-game. You shake the Wii Remote, the Nunchuk, or both to the beat of a song. Consecutive hits make a creature approval meter fill up, and once it is filled the segment is completed.
The incorporation of various game genres is smooth; you never feel lost when moving between different activities. The problem is that it is not as engaging as it could be as an overall package. For example, the creature creator is the highlight of the title; creature creation is very easy and fun, there's over 300 parts to collect, and these parts can be used to create any creature you desire. Everything from the creature's shape and size to its color and name can be customized to be whatever you wish.
Conversely, the fighting engine used in the creature battle segments is too basic. You have a limited number of attacks, with nearly all of them requiring a shake of the Wii Remote or Nunchuk to perform. Even though this is a secondary element in a bigger game, its limitations diminish its appeal. Despite some body parts affecting your creature's attacks, they barely play a role in the fighting segments. The same can be said about the dancing game; instead of a fully fleshed-out concept, all we get is a basic rendition of the concept.
The adventure side of the game also yields mixed results. The world of Spore Hero is a vast and colorful one, and you will be awed by some of its colorful details and fantastic art design. On one hand, the creatures themselves are very charming, and populate each part of the planet. On the other hand, the platforming feels odd. There are times when your creature will slip and fall when making a jump, and there are other instances in which your creature can get stuck in tight corners. The missions you engage in are more than often monotonous, with many being simple fetch quests or creature hunting. There are some creative missions, like altering a creature's appearance and completing an ancient statue, but many of them are not as engaging.
In addition to the main quest, players can battle each other in a versus mode that works like a traditional fighting game. They can also save created creatures to the Sporepedia, and view pieces of character and concept art. Unfortunately, you can't trade creatures with other players.
Spore Hero is sure to win over fans of the Spore franchise, thanks to its deep creature creator modes, vibrant presentation, and unforgettable characters. Unfortunately, the whole package feels basic despite its ambitions; the fighting is too elemental in both controls and ideas, the adventure mode feels like one big fetch quest, and the missions become bland and repetitive. Ultimately, Spore Hero is probably worth a rent for fans of the series or players who are curious as to what the hype is all about. Just don't expect to be blown away.