Developer: AppXplore
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Sometimes when it comes to puzzle games, simplicity is best. Yet, sometimes that can also be the death knell for a game when it winds up not having the complexity born from simple beginnings to be compelling. Such is the fate of Sporos.

The goal of Sporos is to use all of the sporos seeds to fill up the entire board with cells. Each seed can send cells out in up to 6 directions, and cells can travel through other cells already on the board, but not through seeds. As such, the goal becomes not just to place the seeds in the right places on the board, but placing them in the right order can also help. It’s a concept that is easy to pick up on, and the design of the cells makes it easy to tell what their individual function is. The puzzles get more complex as time goes on, but the core concept remains fairly steady. Sporos lacks not for content: there’s literally hundreds of levels in the “Essential” and “Experimental” level sets, the latter throwing new directional seeds that are in fixed positions on the board which get activated when a cell hits them.

Now, having a lot of levels is a good thing on one hand; on the other, the game’s concept is so simple that to realize that there’s a total of 500 of these levels just winds up feeling like a bit much. It feels like a very slow upwards progression arc on these levels, and culling down the number to develop a good arc of levels, especially early on, would be preferable to the massive number currently in the game. It makes for a sexy bullet point on the app description, but not for the best real-world experience. The music of Sporos is very similar to the overall theme of the game, which is very simple. The difference is that the music gets to be extremely grating thanks to it being on a very short loop. Play this game on mute or with music in the background.

I understand that games love to have three-star systems, but it feels superfluous in this game. Essentially, it’s just a reward for completing a level quickly, and it’s nebulous; the game gives no actual definition for what the specific difference between a one, two, and three star performance is. So, for those wanting three stars on levels, the best technique is to just finish that level, note the solution, then go back and do it all again very quickly. Later levels start to throw more complex puzzles at players but the core concept remains.

Sporos intrigued me somewhat but unfortunately its too-basic premise left me wanting more from the game, and yet somehow also less from it.

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