A while back, Maxis announced their latest and greatest new franchise: Spore. The promise was to experience evolution in a whole new gameplay experience. Sadly, the majority of consumers found this to be a disappointing experience. Spore Hero Arena, the latest attempt at the game on the Nintendo DS, is dismal.
You start off crash landing on an unknown planet, and from there you quickly create your avatar. Possibly the only positive thing I can say about Spore Hero Arena is the character creator. Very similar to the PC version, you are able to create your own creature from the ground up, and as you progress though the game you obtain new parts for your creature.
In two words, Spore Hero Arena’s goal is exporation and fighting. The game fails on both fronts. The controls are very strange; you lead your character through environments by holding the stylus on the screen. All of your attacks are based on the d-pad or buttons. Personally, I never have understood why people forsake the d-pad when it has worked well for so long, and the touch screen does not lend itself well to direct control of your character.
If the controls weren’t bad enough, the combat system is the most boring one I have had the misfortune of playing. Push people around with your punches, spits, and the like over and over until one tips over the edge of the platform. Most challenges consist of knocking each opponent off three times. It is mixed up by giving challenges such as not to be knocked off yourself, or don’t use your mega-attacks. On top of that, the super abilities that Maxis was so proud of are dismal and awkward to access in battle (hold L and tap the screen, which sometimes does not respond).
Overall, this game feels very rushed, unpolished, and sloppy. It is not fun, and unless you are a die-hard Spore fan who hates quality video games, you should steer clear of this one.