|Mac, Nintendo DS, Mobile, Reviewed on PC
It will be different for different people, for example, the most intriguing moments during a game for myself are pure nerd heaven, and something that has been touched on during every preview of the game leading up to release, the procedural programming that drives creature creation.
The procedures built into the engine give life to creatures created in game, enabling your wildest imaginings (well almost) to come to digital life.
Without the procedural programming hook, Spore would be a collection of unremarkable mini strategy games, unable to compete with rival peers for depth or game-play.
The fact that Will Wright and the rest of the Maxis team have provided us with a sandbox in which to realise our inner gene scientist, constructing a creature seemingly by our own design, and then watch it animated within the game structure is simply remarkable.
So what is Spore? Synthesised to its base level, Spore is a collection of strategy based mini games beginning with your single cell creature swimming around in the primordial soup. The other stages are Creature, Tribal, Civilization and Space.
At this Cell stage, design is a matter of choosing to be carnivore or herbivore - a choice that can change almost immediately, but ultimately has shockwaves of effect that traverse all other stages of the game. For the moment though fighting for survival as a single cell organism in what amounts to a 2D game of Pacman is the first task. Presented in a beautifully coloured microscope style, the Cell stage invokes a remarkable sense of scale.
The simplicity of this first phase belies the enjoyment of the design elements and once a mate is found, some DNA is unlocked and your little starting creature is big enough, the real game kicks in.