Darkspore does have a couple of nifty metagaming ideas thrown in. For example, after completing a level, you’re presented with a choice: Go back to the home base screen, level up, equip new loot, and get stronger… or go right into the next, more difficult level for a bonus multiplier in loot rarity and frequency. But, if you die, you lose it all. It’s kind of a double-or-nothing deal, pushing you to push yourself. And to that end, this game really wants you to play with friends — constantly ramping up the challenge on lone wolves until it becomes very difficult to go it alone. On the plus side, it’s easy to hook up with other players; on the minus side, interaction and real cooperation is virtually nonexistent. I never spoke one word to my two random teammates, let alone chained combos or specials or anything. The main thing you get from working with other guys is that they take on some of the workload. It’s necessary because of the single-player difficulty level, but it isn’t going to rival, say, Portal 2 or Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light for real co-op gameplay.