Unsurprisingly, none of these elements are as deep as you would expect in a deep space strategy game, but the real joys come from swooping onto a planet and skimming its surface to see your own creations–and those of others–populating them, and in various stages of advancement. The stylized, colorful visuals keep your eyes constantly engaged, from big, bulbous trees to herds of tentacled younglings frolicking about. The animations are top-notch, so while it’s hard to imagine what a bowlegged, long-necked crane with four toes on each foot would actually look like as it ambled about, Spore makes such sights look goofily authentic. It isn’t a technical powerhouse; there is a good bit of geometry pop-in, and the game does not appear to support antialiasing. Its charming, exaggerated look more than makes up for it though, and on three separate machines of various specifications, Spore ran smoothly at the highest settings without a single crash.

GameSpot – Spore review, scores 8.0