I was going to do a review of Spore (I wrote about the Creatrure creator earlier
). Unfortunately I'm rather busy actually playing the game.
Instead I'll point you to Tobold's review
with which I have to agree completely, and make do with some short notes. The first stages of the game don't really offer that much, they're fun to play but ultimately they make up very little time in the game. Replayability there is almost zero. The space age though is truly awesome.
I'm currently busy gathering money to upgrade my ship's weapons, defenses and making alliances to get escort ships so I can journey to the center of the galaxy. Unfortunately the solid center of the galaxy is occupied by the Grox, a race that takes up everything except the outermost of the spiral arms of the galaxy. As they are extremely xenophobic they don't like you travelling in their area and will attack you at the drop of a hat. Making friends with them is not an option.
I have fun travelling around in my Mars Attacks lookalike flying saucer only with bigger guns and some weathervanes. Why weathervanes? Because they're available! Heck, my tanks had hippy flowers on them.
Almost every action you take in the space age has consequences, which is fun. Some alien races want you to abduct other aliens or remove items from other homeworlds. Which tends to piss off those living there, making it very hard for you to get in their good graces again. You can improve relations by trading and setting up traderoutes or doing missions. There's a vast variety of items to gather, some purely cosmetic such as abilities to shape seas and mountainranges, some useful such as rare upgrades. There's also a lot of incentive to simply explore as you can meet new races, find rare treasures or simply sell tradegoods for massively inflated prices.
There's a lot of brouhaha on the internets at the moment about the copy protection in this game. I don't think the copy protection applies to macs but even if it does I'm not particularly worried. From what I've read about the Windows version it allows for 3 installs before you have to contact EA games and lets be honest, as much fun as the game is it's not one you'll play for the next 4 years. Besides, lets be even more honest, you and I know a LOT of the people complaining have never paid for a game in their lives and they're just pissed off they can't easily rip a copy from a friend who does pay for his games.
A solid 4 out of 5 stars for the game, with the added note that replayability seems low, especially for the first stages.