I finally gave in and bought a copy of Spore yesterday. I spent half the night playing it, even though I was dead tired after getting up at 4am for my flight home. Oops.
My reaction to Spore is definitely mixed, bordering on disappointment. I guess I should have figured this, given the online reviews and the Gamespot reviews (all of which I had read before), but still.
1. The game is beautiful. Even with all the graphics turned down (so my Mac Pro doesn't choke), its still pretty.
2. The game is *too* easy. I played it on normal. I was in the space stage in about 4 hours. I must have died a total of 5 times, 4 in the protein-soup kind of phase.
3. There is very little depth to the game. If you're into designing your own creatures, great - more about this later - but if you're into *playing* a game, its got very little depth.
4. The way your creature looks does not affect the way it behaves. *How* disappointing is that! There are things you can get on your creature that affect its attributes for sure, but the correlation with how your creature looks is minimal.
My creature around the beginning of Phase 3 (land animal)
At the end of Phase - 4 (small village / tribe)
My tank, to takeover cities and wage general mayhem:
At this point, I got tired of expressing my creativity and just gave up and started using standard Spore constructs to obliterate the rest of the planet (using ICBMs, no less) and take them over.
There is a lot of fun to be had designing your own cute or ugly creatures. There are definitely different strategies that I want to try out (herbivore vs omnivore etc). So there is going to be some replayability here. Also, I have to note that I haven't quite "finished" the game per se. Just getting started with the space phase, so lets see how that works out.
Finally, Spore thinks I'm waaaay too aggressive - the word it used was "Vicious". Apparently, blowing up the entire planet using nukes isn't cool. So yeah, first game was all carnivore, completely mayhem / war on every other tribe and eventual victory. In 4 hours.