A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about organisms' basic needs for survival by foraging or hunting for food as they make decisions about which defensive and predatory adaptations their creatures will use. Kids can also learn about how societies develop over time through exploration, socialization, and violence. Spore lets kids experiment with evolution by designing creatures and learning from their interactions as they grow from organisms into societies.
The game lets you customize a character from scratch, including their eating habits (carnivore, herbavore or omnivore) and those early decisions have an impact on your creature's social behavior throughout the game. All of your actions have consequences, so that your previous actions will affect interactions with new species. If you have been a war-mongering species, and then decide to try to build alliances, new species may not trust you.
Ease of Play
The game is easy to learn.
Violence & Scariness
The game can be played passively or aggressively. In the latter, when creatures battle each other for food or territory, they can kill or eat another creature. Some mild cartoon violence is shown with blood, but there are no details. Creatures will fall over and die. In the primordial soup stage, a red explosion (depicting blood) is shown when you eat another. Combat goals can include killing off enough of another species so as to cause genocide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Creatures can mate, but you only see dancing under floating pink hearts.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game features some mild violence and blood, specifically pertaining to fighting against other creatures. The violence is shown thorough cartoonish graphics which lack of any real detail. You can be tasked with killing enough of another species as to cause genocide. The game also lets you "mate" with others but you only see the two swooning together with tasteful floating hearts. Consequences of your actions is a big part of the gameplay, so that aggressive behavior does have a cost. The online aspect of this game allows you to send the creatures you create into the Spore universe to help populate the game for others playing it and vice versa. While the Spore universe is monitored, parents worried about the creativity of others when making creatures that might appear to be sexual or offensive (know as "Sporn") can opt to turn off the online aspects. This is a game in which you are in control of a species' evolution.
Is It Any Good?
While not for everyone because of its geeky bioanthropological premise, and it certainly can get challenging despite a clean interface and many helpful tips and hints, EA's Spore is an ingenious concept delivered in near flawless execution. Not only is it hands-down the best computer game of the year so far, but is also one of the deepest and most gratifying titles to grace your monitor in a decade. If only Darwin was alive to see this.
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Our Editors Recommend
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