Spore Hero is an action-adventure game in the Spore franchise, which was supposedly built from the ground up with the Wii's unique capabilities in mind. The game was released on October 6, 2009 in North America and October 8, 2009 in PAL regions. Released for the Nintendo Wii, Spore Hero was developed by EA Montreal and published by Electronic Arts. Spore Hero differs from the gameplay in Spore; rather than controlling an entire species, Spore Hero focuses on a single alien creature who has crash landed on a planet inhabited by a variety of other Spore creatures. The plot of the game involves the main protagonist fighting against his arch-enemy, another alien creature who has crash landed on the planet and is now using poisonous red rocks to spread evil throughout the planet.
Not incredibly well-received, Spore Hero garnered a 65% aggregate on Game Rankings, and a 61% aggregate on Metacritic. Major criticisms include slowed and choppy framerate (especially in battle), boring minigames, and the lack of a Sporepedia. The game was praised, however, for its colorful and fun graphical style and limited exploration aspects (akin to Metroidvania).
Rather than focus on one type of gameplay, Spore Hero has a wide array of gameplay styles. Most important is the creature creator, which ports all of the parts from Spore (as well as all of the parts from the Creepy pack and the Cute pack). While not nearly as detailed as the original PC version, the creature creator in Spore Hero takes advantage of the Wii Remote. In addition, there are slightly less editing options (another criticism of the game), making the game's creature creator less open ended than Spore's creature creator.
The majority of the game is platforming. With a mostly open world (some areas aren't open until a certain ability or part is unlocked, e.g. wings), Spore Hero puts the focus on platforming and exploration. It's during these parts of the game that the player must collect parts to enhance the Spore creature in battle.
Fights change the gameplay dramatically. When in fights, the game switches from a mostly open ended platformer, to an arena based fighter. Timing is important during these one-on-one battles, in attacking, blocking, and counter attacking. This was another criticism of the game; overly simplistic fighting controls, making it easy to mash buttons and win fights.
Spore Hero also includes a variety of minigames, from rhythm games to "follow the leader" missions. These minigames have Spore creations dancing, singing, posing, and going through obstacle courses in order to win. The reward for winning in battle is more opportunities to gather collectibles or destroy some of the poisonous red rocks.
Originally mentioned by Will Wright himself, and then later confirmed by Patrick Buechner, a Wii version was planned since several years before the release of the original Spore. Talk first surfaced around 2007, towards the end of the year, especially in interviews with Will Wright. Talking about Spore Hero, Buechner said that they were not porting Spore to the Wii, but instead developing a game with "Wii controls and technology in mind."
In 2009, Spore Hero was officially announced, alongside other Spore games such as Spore Hero Arena and Spore Galactic Adventures. After its announcement, the game received a decent amount of media coverage, including a Los Angeles preview event, E3 previews, and an event at Comic-Con. Among these previews were talks from designer Lucy Bradshaw that the team was pursuing Wii Motion Plus, and various members of the team being interviewed by Spore fansites.