Spore

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Spore Game Poster Image
This exceptional evolution sim is a masterpiece.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 41 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex

Creatures can mate, but you only see dancing under floating pink hearts.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent of a 3, 5, and 10 year old Written byTheHarrisfamily April 30, 2010

Best game eva

Its an an awesome game you don't need to worry
Parent of a 14 year old Written byLuke Jacobs March 9, 2010

BEST GAME EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

The only thing is animated violence and a little tiny bit of blood. It's really cool because it teaches you that life on another planet can be just about a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byANgrantAN July 9, 2011

Over-Hyped Mess

Spore looked like a real good game in 2006! It was a deep, and interesting life simulator! Unfortunately, the finished product was none of these things. The gam... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCrazySense April 21, 2009

Great game, but the hype is wrong

Will Wright's "Spore" is a good addition to the library of games he's "created" The story is all created by you besides cutscenes... Continue reading

What's it about?

For a game that's seven years in the making and more than a year past its planned launch, a lot is riding on SPORE, the latest simulation from celebrated game designer Will Wright. Spore might best be described as an evolution simulation. Your goal is to create a unique species from scratch, and, through careful nurturing, interaction with other life forms, and the development of new technologies, you'll advance through the five main stages, each of which plays out almost as a separate game altogether.

In the Cell Stage, for example, you control a teeny microorganism by navigating through a primordial pond and consuming other cells in a primal survival of the fittest. You'll eventually grow larger, sprout legs and lungs, and venture out onto dry land for the Creature Stage. Now you must explore your environment, hunt for food (you choose whether your creature is a carnivore or herbivore), collect new body parts and other items (used to design a faster or stronger being) and mate with other critters (don't worry, no "act" is seen, other than two beings swooning underneath floating pink hearts). This stage might prove difficult for newbies because even though you follow the onscreen instructions carefully when greeting new species, you can fail to impress other tribes by dancing or singing. Without these alliances, it can take you a while to reach the next stage by hunting alone. The next stages -- Tribal, Civilization, and Space -- are reminiscent of real-time strategy games, where you're collect resources, explore different cultures, and use diplomacy or war to reach your goals.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Spore is both a game and a simulation designed to mirror real life, human interaction, and our evolutionary course. Why did you decide to design your creature as you did? If you played as a carnivore, will you go back in a see what it is like to be an herbivore? Did you find that you liked being aggressive or did you spend you time trying to build alliances? What did you think of the collaborative nature of the Sporepedia? Have you seen other creatures that fascinated you?

Game details

For kids who love simulation games

Our editors recommend

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