Review: Ease Boredom with Spore

Review: Ease Boredom with Spore

Will Ranger, Student of Journalism

As you are forced inside by cold weather and limited daylight hours, many look to video games as a way to ease boredom in the long winter months. Sometimes, however, even the most enjoyable games can become repetitive, boring and expensive. Luckly, there is an answer, the game Spore; a game that has existed for over 12 years.

This review warrants a play through of this hidden gem.

Start with the basics before looking at what makes this game so great. Released on Sept. 5, 2008, Spore is what could be called a single player, god-like, life simulator, real time strategy game. It was developed by Maxis, a game developer that has also made such classics as The Sims and Sim Cities. Additionally, Spore was released for both Windows and Mac OS systems, but it has seen ports to Linux-based computers.

 Now with the basics out of the way, you can focus on the meat of this game, the gameplay. As mentioned earlier, Spore is a life simulator that simulates the processes of evolution of a single species that players control almost as a god in the game. Because of this, the game is divided into five stages: Cell, Creature, Tribal, Civilization and Space stage.

Cell Stage

Cell stage is where the game begins for the player. After selecting a planet to base their game on from the start screen of the application, a short cut scene is played that shows how your creature arrived on the planet you chose. At this stage you play as a small, multicellular organism in an ocean that must fight for food and resources while avoiding numerous threats. You also encounter different cell parts, parts that you can add to your cell in the cell editor, a menu that allows you to edit and change your creature’s appearance and function. This is where the gameplay of Spore becomes interesting, as in this menu, you, as the player, control the ideas of evolution. You can shape your creature to be more adaptable to its environment and your play style. Do you want your creature to be able to attack and kill anything it comes across? Simple, add poison glands and spines. Want to be able to escape predators easily? Add additional cilia to move at a faster speed. Once you consume enough resources and evolve to a certain point, Cell Stage ends with your cell developing a small brain. While it is not the most scientifically accurate development, it allows the game to progress to its next stage, Creature stage. 

Creature Stage

Creature stage is the second stage of Spore, and both keeps the same elements that made the first stage interesting; the creature editor, but it also adds many new gameplay elements that make the game so great. One of the first notable changes is the fact that the world changes from one based on water, to one based on land. Because of this you must give legs to your creature, a fact that opens the game up significantly. The gameplay of this stage can be boiled down to having to either ally with other creatures or simply run them to extinction. This is where Spore introduces another of its gameplay elements, the timeline feature. The timeline feature is where you can see how your decisions in the game have shaped the traits of your species. Were you a blood hungry cell that killed everything it saw? Your creature might now be considered a predator, giving it access to different skills, abilities, and parts in the creature editor. Were you a more peaceful cell? Your creator might be a tame herbivore, giving it skills important to that sort of lifestyle. Creature stage continues to add to this, as by either eliminating or allying different species changes the skills your creature will have in the stages beyond. Additionally, the Creature stage allows you to edit your creature to your heart’s content. Many other parts are unlocked, giving your creature better skills that are attributed to how you played earlier in the game. As this stage continues, your creature’s brain continues to develop, and eventually reaches sentience, allowing you to progress to the next stage, Tribal stage.

Tribal Stage 

Tribal stage is where the game begins to transform, now instead of controlling a single creature, you control an entire group of creatures. To pass this stage and move on with the game, the player must complete actions similar to those in creature stage. One must either ally other tribes or simply destroy them. To do this, players must collect food and resources to construct new types of tools and weapons to benefit their creatures. Additionally, the style of play that you have adopted also comes into play, as depending on this, your creatures have access to different abilities and traits that can assist them in their endeavors. As you conquer or ally neighboring tribes, your own unlocks new tools and weapons either stolen or gifted from each tribe to assist in doing the same to others. Additionally, your own tribe size increases with this gameplay mechanic, however, so do your opponents, making each engagement, either friendly or aggressive, more challenging and with higher stakes. Once the player has either allied or conquered each tribe, the game moves on to the fourth stage, Civilization stage.


Put simply, the Civilization stage is the Tribal stage on steroids. Instead of just having one group of creatures to look after, you must now controll a nation of individuals competing among various other nations for control of the entire planet. You now must design planes, ships, and land vehicles for military, industrial, and religious purposes and use them to spread your influence across the world. You must also manage relationships with the other nations, foraging alliances, declaring war, and trading are all ways to insure world domination. To help you with this task you again have access to a number of tools and abilities gained from the history of your species. More militaristic playthrough will give you tools of destruction and chaos, more peaceful ones will grant you tools of peace and prosperity. However, no matter your choices, in this stage you either take control of the planet, or perish yourself. If you are able to complete this stage and control all the nations on the planet, you move on to the final stage of Spore: Space stage.

Space Stage

Space stage is where the game opens up to its fullest potential, literally. In this stage you have access to the entire galaxy in which the game is based. By using an interstellar space craft you can now explore the galaxy in any way you would like, the opportunities are nearly limitless. In this stage, you now play as a single commander, managing your species interactions outside of your own planet. With this, you can meet alien civilizations, start extraplanetary colonies, terraform worlds to make them more habitable, the list goes on and on. Space stage is what you make it, and the game at this point has few set boundaries, just some missions that you can complete to unlock better tools and weapons. As you progress through the space stage, a “ending” of sorts is revealed, but this ending is no normal end to the game. In reality, there is no ending to this game, just the creation for new games.

Due to this, the best part of Spore its ability to be replayed over and over again with truly unique experience each time. Because of things such as procedural generation, in both the creatures and physical landforms you uncounter, and the fact that each playthrough can change in how you play the game, each experience is unique and unlike others, making it a truly unique experience. With this, I encourage you to play this game and try it for yourself, and for $20 according to the Spore — official EA site 2021 — it is definitely a steal!