Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Spore Hero (Wii) Review

Review for Spore Hero on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The concept of the original Spore was tremendously exciting. For the first time ever a developer had the bravery to take on the very idea of life, of what it means to be alive. The intricacies and multiplicity of life and all its colours and shades and subtleties were mapped out for you to play with. Problem was, it didn't quite go far enough. It was simply too big a thing to get to grips with. Spore Hero, then, is an attempt to rework the idea in a new way; the platformer.

When Cubed3 went hands on with this game earlier this year we were certainly pleasantly surprised. Our main concern was if this Wii version could handle the sheer magnitude of the Spore universe. Alas, this is a game that is very aware of what the Wii is all about; family fun. This is very much a watered down affair. Everything that was complex and interesting about Spore has been sacrificed in favour of saccharine platform fun.

Case in point: the training level is called Mushroom Valley. Not to suggest anything, but that is mighty suspect. From the very start the game has promise. The creature creator might have been simplified, but it is still terrific fun and allows for all sorts variation and customisation. Moving from this first moment of creation you get the chance to have a bit of an explore and chat to the characters that are mulling about the valley. All pretty standard stuff, but it looks pretty and garish and suitable wacky, so it gets away with it. Problem is, it doesn't really move on from the 'standard'. Spore Hero manifests itself pretty quickly as a run of the mill platform-a-thon.

Screenshot for Spore Hero on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

You collect, fight, jump, collect some more, explore and complete mini-games. The whole evolving thing and creature creation feels tacked on. Or to be more accurate, the cookie-cutter game as a whole is tacked onto the glory that is the creature creator. Taking our ridiculous looking monster with limbs all over the place and huge hands so it falls over itself when it runs, we braved the exploring element. Collecting bits to use in the creature creator is somewhat akin to levelling up. You become more powerful, get more parts to use and with this you can explore new areas and take on new challenges.

Aside from exploring and creating, the other major part of this game is fighting. And the fighting is perhaps the weakest element. The cardinal sin of Wii games is pointless and ineffectual waggling and this is heaped on in spoonfuls. Consequentially, all fighting involves is button mashing and wrist shaking. Dull. Aiming a game at children is all well and good, but the problem comes when you patronise them, make it all too easy and sacrifice the very heart and soul of a franchise. Without getting repetitive, this is just a standard platform title with Spore slapped on the front.

That's not to suggest it does anything badly. Graphically it looks suitable gaudy and shiny and all the squeaks and squelches are appropriately cute and cuddly. What's perhaps the most appealing aspect is the way in which it attempts to let you leave your mark on the world. If you explore lots you'll get a more exploratory creature, if you fight more you'll get a better fighter. Alongside this you have the chance to 'leave your mark' by altering other creatures and generally mucking around with your surroundings. But it never goes far enough, it always keeps with what is comfortable, what is tediously generic.

Screenshot for Spore Hero on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Generic to the max; Spore Hero knows what is safe and sticks with it. Waggling Wiimotes and collecting things left right and centre. Innovative and exciting this ain't.

Graphics

Colours everywhere will set your eyes ablaze with primary-shaded delight. The animation is pretty damn special. Your creations plonk and scuttle about with great character and the world certainly seems alive and breathing, even if below the surface it isn't.

Sound

Cute and effective. As you’d expect from an EA game, this is all very tidy and polished.

Value

There's quite a bit of game here, and if you don't bite off your fingers from the boredom of the pedestrian pacing and sheer repetitiveness of things you’ll be playing this one for quite some time.

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

Some people say that indifference is worse than hatred. Irritatingly, this game does so little wrong apart from being average and run of the mill. The biggest irk is the lack of anything from the Spore franchise that made it stand out. Yes the creature creator is here, but everything else is just template toss that, although done very nicely, is utterly uninspiring. From start to finish this game patronises and holds your hands, and whilst kids will undoubtedly enjoy the simple fun to be had, this is a game that really lets itself down.

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14.01.2010

6

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Developer

EA

Publisher

EA

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (9 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

This is the primary problem with the wii, and nintendo reaching out to new gamers.
Devs dont know who to appeal to. How much depth to put into their games. what graphical approach to use. Or who will buy their game.

Only bought one EA game for the wii Grand slam tennis. That had some similar issues. Graphical style was nice but lacked detail or depth. Personal character customization was more basic then the mii channel. The single player mode was basic and uncomplicated.

Capcom wont fully commit to a proper resi game nor EA to a dead space. I can only imagine they think more women and older people will try the game as long as they only have to point the remote.

This is the primary problem with the wii, and nintendo reaching out to new gamers.

No, its a primary problem with 3rd partys. Nothing to do with the Wii, or Nintendo.

Its their inability to understand;
a) There isnt a one-size-fits all for gamers.
b) Accessibility dosnt mean things have to be simple, easy, or unoriginal.

Third party's have convinced themselves that this "casual" audience (itself a flawed concept) is something that means 1/10th development costs can yield them decent sales. There isnt any evidence for this whatsoever (Just as their isnt any evidence hardcore games dont sale on the Wii)...but its easier for them to believe this as it means they can risk less money.

Please give our little random review show a try;
http://randomreviewshow.com/index.html
We have special effects and umm...stuff...

Darkflame said:
This is the primary problem with the wii, and nintendo reaching out to new gamers.

No, its a primary problem with 3rd partys. Nothing to do with the Wii, or Nintendo.

Its their inability to understand;
a) There isnt a one-size-fits all for gamers.
b) Accessibility dosnt mean things have to be simple, easy, or unoriginal.

Third party\'s have convinced themselves that this \"casual\" audience (itself a flawed concept) is something that means 1/10th development costs can yield them decent sales. There isnt any evidence for this whatsoever (Just as their isnt any evidence hardcore games dont sale on the Wii)...but its easier for them to believe this as it means they can risk less money.


I think nintendo has tried to advocate games to appeal to all. I think thats what misguided there E3 08.

Proof that low investment high yields: carnival games, the first RE chronicles, Dance game by ubi, NSMB, Wii resort, Raving Rabbids, EA fitness,

Nintendo first party mini games like resort and wii sport have completely outsold zelda and metroid. in other words the smaller cheaper games outsold the bigger more costly games. A 2D mario game completely outsold mario galaxy.

Speaking of these two mario games one is a flat 2D game which requires digital input mostly with a D pad. The other involved an analogue stick and mastering a 3D world. Yes the 2D game was challenging but on face value and the way it was advertised it screamed the same kind of fun offered by the likes of wii resort: uncomplicated unchallenging party fun.

Nntendo has with various well loved highly critical franchises demoed unintentionally that there is a much bigger market for games that arent as complicated or require as much time investment to complete.

( Edited 14.01.2010 22:32 by meeto_0 )

Staff Member

Nintendo first party mini games like resort and wii sport have completely outsold zelda and metroid. in other words the smaller cheaper games outsold the bigger more costly games. A 2D mario game completely outsold mario galaxy.

I don't think it's fair to compare the original Wii Sports to it, because in most countries, it comes with the consoles. And how do you know how much NSMBWii cost compared to Mario Galaxy? Even if it did coss less, it's still a quality game, same as most Nintendo First party games(bar Wii Music).

Even Wii Sports Resort must have had alot of time and effort put into it, and I doubt the R&D costs of the Wii Motion+ cost less than $5,000,000.

I think it's more that quality games sell than games made with less effort, games people slag off as shovelware such as Carnival Games are actually pretty well made and fun. I admit, there is quite alot of shovelware, but there are things that people won't try just because someone's opinion says it's not very good.

Btw: I'm not having a go at you, just sharing my thoughts.

Anyway, there is a certain miss-conception that there is a 'casual audience' which people think means 'likes to play games without depth'. I'd Say this game is pretty generic from reading your review James, although, it does look pretty well made aswell, which you also mentioned. But I guess no matter how much dev's cover things up with great animation and visuals, if a game is as repetitive and generic as this sounds, there's no fun factor to appeal to it.

Good Review Smilie.

Stuart Lawrence
Follow Me on twitter :: @Stulaw90 || My Youtube || Backloggery
NNID: Stulaw

I think the review is spot on, good work Mr T, I would rate this game 5 too, not good or bad, just "meh". They just recycled what they had and splat, Wii game made. Hopefully this sells very little for them to start taking their Wii games serious.

@ Meeto_O dude, NSMBW is a fantastic game well made and loved by many hardcore players, it might not be epic as SMG but it was very well crafted, perfect level design, physics, layout, timing, it had everything done right.

Wii SPorts Resort is actually a really cool tech demo, it was made to showcase the WMP and did it perfectly well. Mind you Nintendo Big Franchises are million sellers on the wii, just goes to show that there are many who love hardcore games on the Wii, NSMBW is included in that list too!

Reason why NSMBW sold so much, you answered it yourself, it was challenging, enjoyable for the hardcore players while still inviting to the casuals. See that? They Appealed to 2 demographics and soles millions in a matter of weeks. It might not have the budget of Mario Galaxy but damn straight it took lots of craftmanship to get it to the level they did.

Looks truly naff.

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