For a while Spore seemed to have gone the route of Duke Nukem’ A game often hyped, frequently shown, and never delivered, but Sunday September 7th I finally got my copy of the God of God Simulators. Follow me after the jump to see if it was worth the 3-year wait.
The OS X Version
First off, there really isn’t an OS X version of the game. There is a Cider wrapped version of a PC game. Cider is a technology, based on Wine that emulates Windows and the DirectX libraries so that Windows games will run on the Mac.
Sound like a hack or a work-around?
Uh, yeah. I think so too. In all fairness, Cider is a commercial product, that is implemented by the game developer themselves, who presumably tweak things so that they work acceptably well. That said the commercially released Cider versions of games I own rarely work any better than “free-lance” Cider ports found on any Torrent site or rolled on your own following the directions here.
In practice what I hate most about Cider wrapped games is that my Five Thousand Dollar Mac Pro performs about as well as a $300 entry level Dell. I can play the game, all settings at their lowest levels, with a resolution at 800X600.
The Game itself
I want to love this game, I really do. I actually own two copies of it. Not content to wait for the copy I pre-ordered from Amazon to arrive on Tuesday, I went out and bought a copy locally Sunday. That said, to paraphrase Ellen Morgan who broke my heart in 6th grade:
“I love this game, I’m just not in love with this game“.
Of all the phases of the game, the Creature phase is by far the most interesting, and the one where most of the tinkering so that’s so addictive for Sims fans can be had. That said, the creature phase is over way too quickly. On normal, you can play through it in just under an hour. Then you’re off into some kind of bizarre RTS that’s not Civilization, not WarCraft, and not SimCity, but parts of all those games.
The creators obviously tried to distill down the successful elements of each of those games that made them winners, City building, Civ building and good old hack and slash unit management, the problem is they succeeded. They also boiled out most of the nuance of each of these games to the point where the Tribal and Civilization phases of the game feel one-dimensional; I felt like I was on train-tracks, headed towards the game’s conclusion with little deviation.
Spore is a fun game, but not a great one, and when coupled with the Cider technology for Mac users (and only Intel Mac users with real video cards to boot), it’s a bit of a disappointment, and certainly not worth of the three-year wait.