As with Diablo et al the fast-paced action is peppered with goodies for your progress. These sparkling rewards – weapons, armour etc – can also be customised. It is the level of flexibility here that drags Darkspore up from other Diablo clones. It's very easy to create a unique slant on one of the standard creatures from the start and even if you come across someone online who had similar ideas it's highly unlikely they will have made the same design choice as you when it comes to weapons and armour.
Flexibility is key in the action too. Players get a choice of three creatures when playing and these can be easily swapped out to allow different for different situations (such as when you need more healing).
Recognising that these kinds of games are essentially all about the goodies and rewards Darkspore allows you to gamble with your prizes by taking on tougher enemies at the end of a completed level. Succeed and you can leave with what you have or up the ante for more. Get a decent group together and this becomes worryingly addictive. Talking of groups the game is – as you would expect – best played online with others.
The sci-fi setting helps differentiate from the traditional fantasy setting usually associated with these games. Sadly a lack of anything approaching a decent story means the action can feel like a grind, especially when played offline. Nevertheless Darkspore has enough nuance and character to keep fans of the genre ticking over until the likes of Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3 arrive.
Friday 6 May 2011 14.55 BST A