Spore Creatures did extremely well for Electronic Arts last year, so it's no surprise that the company would want to continue the trend by bringing Spore once again to Nintendo's handheld. At an Electronic Arts press event in Los Angeles, we got our first glance at Spore Hero Arena and tinkered a bit with the creature creator. We weren't given too many details except that this is going to be very much focused on action, but we did get to see how the controls work and what is potentially in store for Spore Hero Arena.
The premise of the game is to become a galactic champion by competing in arena-based battles. The story is set in the same universe as the Wii game, except instead of riding on the tail of a meteor and crash-landing on a mysterious planet, your ship gets hit by this meteor and you wind up stranded on an unknown planet anyway. You meet the Forgotten Master, who tells you about the evil creatures that spawned from the red meteors and have corrupted all of the arena champions by creating championship medals. You are immune to this corruption, so your job is to win back the medals and become the new champion.
The game is built from the ground up with an easy-to-use creature-creator system in which you can check out your creation in 3D and give it new parts and abilities. There's some light exploration involved in the game, but we weren't given any details beyond that. We did get to jump in and watch a battle in the arena against three other creatures. We watched as the EA rep, using the stylus to move, attacked with bites and punches that were mapped to the D pad. The goal is to knock your opponents off of the platform, which is easier if you've already taken out a chunk of their health. Special abilities can be executed by holding the shoulder button and drawing with the stylus. A circle around your creature will execute an area attack, and tapping on an enemy individually or drawing a line between them are other ways of getting aggressive.
There is going to be a strong multiplayer component, which will be available locally and through Nintendo's Wi-Fi connection. You'll have preset arenas to pick from, and you can pull any one of your custom creations from your sporepedia to battle head-on. We didn't get to see too much of the game beyond a fight and the creation tool, but a good portable multiplayer brawler is always welcome. Developer Maxis has had many opportunities to fine-tune the creature creator, so by now it's extremely easy to create your ultimate galactic gladiator.
We'll update with further information when we get a more in-depth look during the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Spore Hero Arena is expected to ship this fall.