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Spore Hero
SCREENSHOTS

Spore Hero

10/16/2009

49.99

The Bottom Line
A Spore spinoff on the Wii made just for kids. Adventure, creature design, and combat make this a fun, E10+ rated game.
In Spore Hero, a game targeted at kids ages 10 to 13, players earn body parts (mouths, feet, arms, legs, body armor, wings, etc.) to build their hero as they play through this exciting action adventure game. In this save-the-world romp, kids will need to explore the advantages and disadvantages of the over 250 body parts that they acquire. They must constantly tweak their hero so that it evolves to fit into continually changing environments and adapts to take on ever-challenging foes.

The game starts with your embryonic hero hurtling out of space, cocooned inside a blue meteor, and smashing onto the surface of a planet inhabited by friendly creatures. Unfortunately, your hero isn't the only one who has crash-landed in this new world. A red meteor filled with an evil nemesis has also landed. These dual meteoric impacts have scattered both blue (good) and red (bad) shards throughout this planet; and these magical shards impact the planet's friendly inhabitants.
You control your hero from the moment it emerges from its egg. The first helpful species you meet tries to feed your hero some fruit. But your hero doesn't have a mouth. By returning your hero to its nest, you can add a mouth. Now, not only can your hero to eat to fill up its health bar, it has acquired its first weapon: the bite attack.

In this world, mild combat is essential to survival. The friendly species will only respect your hero when you prove your prowess in combat, a bloodless competition that takes place in a makeshift arena. It isn't about killing, it is all one-upping your opponent. How good you are at combat relates to what body parts your hero has and how often you have used specific skills. Your hero might evolve into a fearsome biter or powerful kicker. If you add wings, your hero can even develop a devilish dive attack.
While fighting is a part of this game, and one that can be explored more thoroughly in the multiplayer Battlemode, this is really a game of adventure. As your hero explores its surroundings of lush 3-D landscapes full of colorful fauna, sparkling waterfalls, and fascinating land structures, it will meet a wide range of whimsical creatures. Talking with them reveals that your hero is the only one who can destroy the evil red shards that are corrupting the planet and defeat the horrible Zarkhator, the evil creature who arrived in the red meteor.

Some of the creatures teach you things, like how to control your hero in fighting, dancing, posing, or singing. Others ask for your hero's help to go on quests, which are tracked in your quest log. By completing quests, you can earn body parts to swap out onto your hero or other items needed to propel the story. New body parts can also be found by shaking the Wii remote over bone piles.
There are six main areas to explore. Each area has a map showing quest locations. Some are optional, but a few trigger the opening of a new area and move the story along. For example, in one quest, a creature named Beauty asks you to find her missing Beast. Beast's appearance has been changed by the red shards so Beauty doesn't recognize him. If you play a rhythm minigame with Beauty, involving shaking the Wii remote and Nunchuk at the right times to a beat, she will give you clues about how to redesign Beast's looks.

The intertwining of collecting of new body parts with the need to change your hero to progress through the story is brilliant. It allows kids to experiment with what each body part does, while also stretching their thinking. If you drown each time you fall into the water, you will learn that it's time to add something that helps your hero to swim. And, if you can't get across an expanse, maybe it's time to switch out some body armor for some wings. Adapting wisely is the key to winning this game.
Another real plus in this game is that kids creative freedom in designing their hero. They can morph its body, stretch its limbs, add multiple mouths or eyes and even paint it any color. This customization allows kids to bond with their heroes, and makes this adventure much more personal.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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Spore Hero
Company: Electronic Arts
Price: 49.99