I recently re-downloaded Spore, a game that I was very excited about when it was first announced and have played many a time. However I’ve never completed it.
Unlike the dozens, maybe hundreds of unfinished games in my collection, Spore wasn’t just my usual digressing but rather reaching a point where I just didn’t enjoy the game. Sometimes I’ll hit a point then just start over, which seems daft right? Surely I should stick with it?
You start off as pretty much a tiny organism with a few features, e.g. mouth and a spike. You evolve then evolve and evolve until you are a creature running around the land. Throughout this process you are constantly redesigning and improving your creature, either to be something rather wonderful like from a Wes Anderson film, or something freakishly amusing. I enjoy this and it is why I play Spore. The gameplay during this is pretty meh but seeing my dumb little animal run around and be all fearsome or dance – awesome.
However soon you go beyond creating and evolving your creature and start building a community, then a civilisation and the game changes into pretty much a RTS game. Sadly it is a sub-par RTS game, at which point I just lose interest. Okay, I can design my buildings and spaceships which is kind of cool, but it isn’t quite the same. The best part is customising your creature and the game is just moving you further and further away from this. Why?
Perhaps it would have been interesting if there was a game mode that allowed you to keep creating new types of creatures and having them continue to live around you, until the entire world is full of your own creations. The game could keep track of what the different creatures looked like at different stages and keep reusing them. This would allow you to spend more time creating silly little creatures and having them around me. When ready to advance to the strategy time, the game could let me pick from the creatures evolved that far and the game could continue as normal. Or maybe it does and I’ve just been foolish by restarting over.
Anyway, I really like creating and customising my dumb creatures in Spore but the gameplay isn’t great. Eventually the focus seems to migrate towards becoming a sub par RTS game, at which point I lose interest.
This is why I will never complete Spore.