Occasionally, you’ll come across orbs which go into a 3×3 grid in your inventory. Collect enough of these in the same colour and line them up, and they’ll provide additional stat-boosts and upgrades for the duration of that mission. There are also gear/nodule pickups that are the equivalent of weapons or armour and can be applied to your creature after the mission is complete.
Or … you can gamble. Darkspore knows you love loot. And it knows you’d probably like some better loot, so it offers you the chance to receive improved rewards by simply undertaking another mission. Then it adds some small-print under its breath. What’s that, Darkspore? I’ll get better rewards, but if I die on the next mission I’ll get nothing? Oh you pesky rotter.
Naturally, this system is designed to tap directly into our risk-reward centres and pump them full of temptation. I think it’ll work, too. During my time with the preview, I never failed to get the improved rewards – but only the early, easier levels were accessible. I suspect the early encounters will lure people into thinking that higher rewards will always be a cakewalk, only to bring them crashing down with some later, harder missions. Devious.