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E3: Creatures: Exodus & Creatures: Village
game: E3: Creatures: Exodus & Creatures: Village
posted by: Laurie Taylor
publisher: Kutoka Interactive
developer: Gameware
ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
date posted: 12:00 AM Sat May 28th, 2005
last revision: 06:23 PM Sat Aug 13th, 2005

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Click to read.Kutoka Interactive--known for their award-winning edutainment software series featuring the adorable mouse Mia--are releasing Creatures: Exodus, which is a new artificial life game for children and adults. Unlike typical edutainment, Creatures: Exodus does not teach specific lessons or concepts. Instead, it offers players the ability to interact in rich world settings and to explore different possibilities and options for a gaming experience with collateral learning.

Creatures: Exodus allows players to create artificial life using creatures called Norns. To play players must hatch the Norns, teach them how to survive, and then allow them to breed with other Norns. The Norns are modeled on real biological systems, with multiple types of Norns in each of six large environments. Players can choose to breed Norns within particular environments or to cross-breed the Norns from different areas to develop certain traits. The environments themselves each have their own ecology, food-chain, and dangers like the disease-carrying Grendles. Cross-breeding aids protection from certain dangers, and players can also build machines that aid in protecting Norns and other tasks. Like many simulation and artificial life games, Creatures is extremely open-ended and allows players to play using various styles and strategies. The creatures themselves and the environments are styled in a simple, and almost cute, manner. However, the simplicity overrules the cute factor for graphics that are functional and appealing without being overly cute in any way.

On its own, Creatures proves an interesting game from a smaller, yet proven, game publisher. Added to the solid single player play is the online multiplayer play that allows players to connect their gaming environments and creatures to other players through the use of warp portals. Creatures: Exodus even offers systems for quarantining other players\' Norns.

For younger players, Kutoka offers Creatures: Village where players experiment with a more limited and localized game of artificial life with Norns. In this version, players focus on several individual Norns - hatching them, playing with them, raising them, and eventually breeding them - within a smaller environment than Creatures: Exodus. Creatures: Village still allows players to explore the game world, which has seasons and season-related activities like gathering food. The graphics for Creatures: Village are tailored for younger players, but they are also extremely well-crafted and attractive.

As such high quality games, the two versions of Creatures are further bolstered by budget prices ($19.95 each) and discs that run on both PC and Mac. These two factors are significant for teachers and schools--which often undergo system changes and which have limited funds--as an option for teaching larger concepts like evolution, heredity, and life cycles as well as for instilling an interest in science and learning. Both versions of Creatures are expected to be available in September of 2005, just in time for the early part of the school year for younger players. While both games serve educational purposes, the delightful graphics and open-ended play will appeal to a diverse variety of players.

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