In the animal kingdom, there exist a select few creatures that stand out and command a certain respect. You'd have a hard time arguing against the regal role lions play on the savannas of Africa. That's life - while lions landed a role at the top of the food chain, a different spot has been allotted to zebras and gazelle.
Spore Origins, as a single-player experience in any case, evolved the same way, dealing a superior spot to the Spore Origins iPhone incarnation while other iterations fall to the side. Energetic gameplay combined with simple controls and a slick set of features command respect for the definitive single-player portable version of this evolutionary game.
There's one feature missing, of course. Spore Origins on iPhone has no multiplayer, the importance of which will depend on what it is about the franchise that appeals to you. Nevertheless, even without the option to play with your friends this is an immaculate game.
From genesis in the thick primordial ooze and to the sandy coasts of prehistoric Earth, Spore Origins chronicles the evolution of a micro-organism through 30 levels. You begin as little more than a moving mouth, imbibing anything that passes by in an effort to climb up the evolutionary ladder. Completing each level means inhaling enough food to fill your spore's DNA gauge.
Tilting your iPhone allows you to navigate the ancient waters in search of food. Spore Origins utilises the accelerometer for meaningful, responsive movement. Your creature turns quickly and stops fully when instructed. Far from floaty and too sensitive, the controls are intuitive and surprisingly agile. While the sensitivity should be heightened to reduce the angle at which the device must be tilted for maximum speed, the responsiveness is unmatched among iPhone games.
After your creature has collected enough DNA, its form evolves through the addition of new parts. Evolution points earned through the course of play allow you to unlock various appendages. Scales, tails, and multiple eyes are at your disposal, giving you the freedom to create a wide range of organisms with unique defensive, offensive, and sensory characteristics.
On iPhone, you're able to further customise your creatures by importing photos. Joining a slate of included colours and patterns is the option to take pictures stored on your phone and paste them on your organism. Funnily enough, you can even snap a shot from within the game and immediately personalise your pet. It's a quirky feature to be sure, but entertaining nonetheless.
That's the idea - Spore Origins delivers pure, simple fun. The 30 levels packed into the main Evolution mode are straightforward, yet meaty and engaging. There's plenty of variety too. Sandwiched between all the food munching are path-finding levels that have you charting through tight underwater corridors to reach an end goal. A minor variation, but just enough to mix it up. A Survival mode also offers added value and a short list of achievements provide bonuses for skilful play.
No wonder the iPhone version of Spore Origins evolved into a position of respect among its peers. There's no doubt this is a superb single-player version of the game, boasting an ideal slate of features, colourful presentation, and good value. It deserves the lion's share of praise beyond these, though, because it's just fun.You can keep up-to-date with the latest iPhone news and reviews in our dedicated iPhone section.