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Joystiq Impressions: Spore (Mobile)

Zack Stern

Update: EA let us know that only the DS game will be called "Spore Creatures." The mobile version keeps the simple "Spore" handle.

Spore Creatures
for mobile phones is launching with the rest of the Spores on September 7. I figured that this Spore had no chance of infecting me. But after recently playing, I was impressed and surprised by its quality. The graphics -- and even its concept -- would be at home on a DS or Game Boy.

Like Spore on the DS, the mobile version of the game doesn't even try include everything from the PC version. Spore for phones centers on the Cell Phase of the game. You use the phone's joystick to steer the creature through a slurry of suspended protein and other early life forms, eating objects and avoiding enemies.

But like the other versions of Spore, you'll regularly use a creature editor to upgrade the character. While the body part choices are also scaled down, there's enough variety to make the creature your own. Certain parts, like a dangling lure, affect how other organisms behave. That lure attracts food to you, for example. Or you could add a shell for personal defense; hit a button, and hide inside for temporary invulnerability.

Gallery: Spore (mobile) | 14 Photos

The creature customization seems like a lot of depth for a mobile phone game, but Spore goes further. After winning the hour-or-so-long game -- it's broken into 18 short levels of several minutes each -- your complete creature can fight friends' creations. Those creatures can migrate to your phone through its network, where they'll battle in an autonomous fight. The better-evolved one will usually win. If you've raised a loser, you can play the full game again to create a new contender.

All of these features make Spore a standout phone game. But it's a looker, too. Sharp, clear graphics present the world, with the bright life forms popping off the backgrounds.

According to EA, Spore will be available for every "game-capable phone" on nearly every network worldwide. Pricing will be up to those carriers. Leave it to EA to launch big; at least the company is sticking to one planet..

Check out all our extensive coverage of Will Wright's Spore!

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