Easy for casual gamers to get into, but deep enough for a rocket scientist.
Creatures 3 takes place on a space station. It requires you to breed and take care of a variety of creatures called Norns (and eventually mischevious Ettins and fearsome Grendels). Taking care of them ranges from simple feeding and teaching to advanced medical care. The gameplay is very hard to describe, but once you try it, it's extremely fun.
Your Norns live in their own area of the space station. This is where they thrive. The area includes an egg machine, a teaching machine, trees that grow nuts and fruit, and a large variety of gadgets. It is a necessity in the beginning of the game to wire these various gadgets together to create a variety of machines to defend your home from the Grendels, who can kill your Norns. You may also have to set up other machines to keep out Ettins, who will often dismantle unprotected machines. The machine building system is very intuitive, and very enjoyable.
But the real meat of the game lies in caring for your Norns. There are many different species of Norns (and even more that can be downloaded from the Internet) who differ in their traits. These range from the strong Magma Norns to the bizarre Toxic Norns who actually benefit from illness and eat garbage. Young Norns must be taught how to speak. Although Norns only sound like they're speaking gibberish, you can read what they are saying due to speech bubbles that appear near them when they speak. Teaching can be done with either a teaching machine or by exposing the young ones to educated adult Norns. There is also a secret machine in many areas that can instantly inject every word in the game into your Norn. Once a Norn knows how to speak, you can communicate with it by typing in words and "saying" them when your cursor is near the Norn. You can also teach Ettins and Grendels how to speak, but why you would want to...I don't know.
When a Norn gets sick, you will need to take it to the medical bay and examine it. The medical bay can support a sick Norn until they are healthy, and will meanwhile show you a large amount of statistics that you may not understand. The medical bay is very powerful, and can inject fat, muscle, protein, and almost any sort of bodily neccessity into your Norn. This is basically the only window into how powerful the simulation truly is, but it is astonishing.
You can take a Norn by the hand and lead it to almost anywhere. Doing this can help you discover new enhancements that only Norns can activate, ranging from powering machines on the space station to giving you the ability to carry Norns rather than lead them. This is also the key to eventually taking care of the Ettins and Grendels. Once you have the power to lead Ettins and Grendels by the hand, you can use a crossbreeding machine to crossbreed them with your Norns. Doing this for enough generations can eventually lead to Norns with interesting traits, female Grendels, male Ettins, or many other combinations.
There is almost too much gameplay in Creatures 3 to describe. The sheer level of possibilities is astonishing.
The graphics are rendered in a cartoony, yet realistic, style. They look very sharp, and almost 3D. The sound is also very well done. That's all I can really say about that, because the gameplay is so...enormous.
Medical care is often hard if you don't have a Ph.D. in nutrition. And once you have a lot of Norns running around, it can be hard to keep track of them. Yet the former remains the most prominent problem.
The Bottom Line
Creatures 3 is a game that probably only the developers know how deep it truly is. It's a joy to play, and you'll be astonished at what you see.