You may not know what you are getting into when you start Hero Generations. With its turn-based strategy, breeding, and roguelike elements, there is something strangely addictive and moreish to it is deceptively deep gameplay.
For the kids
There is so much going on in Hero Generations that at first you probably won’t notice how much you are dealing with under the surface. It is only as you slide into its stylized cartoon world that its small intricacies start to become apparent.
What you have to keep in mind is that each hero has a limited life expectancy that goes up or down based on your actions. Each square you move them around the randomly generated grid based maps consumes a year of life, while losing in combat knocks off further years. It isn’t all bad though, as your hero’s life span can also increase depending on the various perks you gather.
Life isn’t just a countdown to death, with your hero’s abilities changing throughout their life. The most strategically notable effect here is that they become more powerful as they approach middle-age, but then slowly weakening as the years continue - providing a short window in which to battle larger foes.
Thus, life equates to energy, experience, and turns - but it must also be constantly considered when deciding how to continue your quest. Before your character passes away they must find a village and a romantic partner with whom to propagate and further their lineage. Doing so ends that characters journey, but begins their offspring’s. The earlier you settle down, the stronger the child, as you gain more chances in the card-flipping mini-game that predicts their inherited features (such as strength and life expectancy). Also, having children early prevents them having to set off on their adventures with dead parents, which is strangely upsetting.
For the family
Everything is tied into this lineage mechanic. To progress and improve the next generation of heroes you must gain fame and money to attract better partners, while also expanding your own genetic traits (see, I told, eugenics). You do this by exploring the world, defeating enemies, and completing quests. Many of these goals can be completed in a single life span, but larger quests can demand the efforts of multiple generations.
This is particularly true of the monsters which must often be whittled down over several lifetimes if your lineage is to be triumphant. This drawn-out pace is due to Hero Generations battle mechanic. Fights are a simple dice role affair, with your possible highest attack dictated by your strength – so, when you role against a beastly creature you had better hope you are similarly beastly if you want a close to fair chance of winning.
It is rare, however, that your characters become strong enough to go toe-to-toe with these monsters. You must, therefore, take a chance and roll the dice (literally and figuratively) to slowly whittle down these creatures to secure victory over tense centuries – each time being careful to leave enough life to get your hero to their loved one before death.
With its deep, long-form gameplay that demands you slowly chip away at tasks, Hero Generations does require a good deal of patients. But for these same reasons, finally defeating a hulking beast or constructing a temple feels all the more satisfying.