Spore Hero Arena Nintendo DS Game Review


The Hype:
Create your Spore hero and prepare fight to become the galactic champion. An arena style fighter, Spore Hero Arena allows players for the first time to build fully 3D Spore creatures on your Nintendo DS and take them into battle. In addition, you can explore planets all over the galaxy, fight creatures, and gather parts to customize and enhance your mighty hero. Join the fight and compete in a variety of arena battles against dangerous enemies in your quest to become the galactic champion and save the galaxy.

Story and Gameplay
Stranded on an alien planet after you are knocked out of the sky by a mysterious red meteor, it quickly becomes clear that not all is well on your temporary home. The planet you find yourself on is known for the arena style battles that its inhabitants engage in, but the same meteor that did your ship in has somehow managed to corrupt the usually good-natured combatants into an all out lust to be king of the arena. Maybe due to you being from off-world, you have been spared this corruption, but seeing as you are not affected it is also your task to help the others by yourself becoming the ultimate arena champion. Utilize an easy to use Creature Creator system and master your skills in the arena against up to three other competitors via Nintendo Wi-Fi connections to do just that in Spore Hero Arena.

Key Game Features

* Create your own Hero with over 150 parts and powers, now for the first time in 3-D on the DS.
* Fight dangerous enemies in arenas across the galaxy, from all – out 4 creature “Battle Royales”, to capture the crown “King of the Planet” challenges, and much more.
* Summon over 15 devastating Bio-Power attacks, from lightning strikes to deadly ground stomps.
* Brawl with your friends in 4 player wireless and 2 player Wi-Fi action.
* Play an original Spore story, in the same galaxy as Spore Hero for Wii. Travel to a variety of planets, completing missions, and challenging opponents who have been corrupted by an evil power. Fight to become the ultimate Spore Hero and save the galaxy.


The Reality:

The basis of Spore Hero Arena is creating your own hero and taking it into battles on different planets, then traveling to new planets and repeating. As you progress you are gathering up new resources and ‘parts’ to customize your ‘hero’ to help them develop new skills and be ready to move on to the next planet. If this sounds like it has lost the core appeal of the original, that is only somewhat true. If it sounds like I thought this game wasn’t very good, that is ENTIRELY true!

The core appeal of Spore was creating a base creature and watching it evolve through the eons and engaging in activities related to your creatures. Spore Hero Arena has a different focus, and therefore the emphasis has shifted to improvements that will improve your combat abilities. You still start out creating a creature, but whether you create a horrific wrecking machine of a sweet little flower-gatherer, you will still need to battle your way to become the grand galactic arena fighting champion. Everything that happens feeds into that.


Of course, you can’t just go to the final battle straight away, you need to gather blue fragments on each planet you visit in order to eventually meet up with the boss. Gathering the fragments involves working through minor battles that feel like something out of the Super Smash Brothers – and that was something that immediately had my kids fighting me for control of the game. Sadly none of the depth or flexibility of those classic games made it here: battles quickly devolve into generic button-mashing and repetitive uses of the same attacks. You get special attacks, but since the battles are focused on quickly spamming attacks, these slow custom moves are too slow to be effective very often.

Technically things are all fairly well done. You explore the world using a 3D 3rd person view. The graphics are decent looking, but I suffered occasional glitching and performance issues – nothing serious, but it accentuated already existing problems. Sound was pretty generic and forgettable. The controls worked well, both for exploration and combat – the use of the touch screen was well thought out and well implemented.


There is multiplayer, but naturally it involves having multiple players with copies of the game … which is a challenge not made easier by the fact that the core fighting engine is still not much fun even playing against another person. Sadly, while the game supports the Nintendo WiFi connection, you cannot even share your creatures or stats like you could in the earlier Spore Creatures.

I am very disappointed by both the Wii and DS versions of Spore Hero, as neither version succeeded at bringing even the core features of the 2008 PC game to these platforms, let alone expanding the appeal. While the Wii version comes off as a generic action-platformer, the DS fails to offer that, instead presenting us with a repetitive and limited combat centric ladder-style game that is lacking in depth and breadth. There is nothing here to justify a purchase, especially at the time of year when there are at least one or two high-quality DS games released a week.


Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Price: $29.99

What I Like:
– Graphics are generally good
– Controls are acceptable
– Combat is fun at first

What Needs Improvement:
– Quickly becomes repetitive
– Puddle deep gameplay makes even target audience lose interest quickly
– Really feels like cashing in on a well-known name

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. If you are shopping on Amazon anyway, buying from our links gives Gear Diary a small commission.

About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!