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Hero Generations: ReGen Review

"This game is like a cross between Civilization and Zelda."

That makes me want to play. That also sets expectations so high, I'm ready to disagree.

You live a life of herodom: slay beasts, find treasure, earn money and fame, defeat other heroes in combat, and even build structures. When you're satisfied, you head into town and hopefully find a mate. 16 years later your child emerges, ready to pick up where you left off: same world, changed only by what you accomplished in your life as a hero. You then control the new generation.

Rinse and repeat. It's a beautiful mechanic that tells a story without dialogue.

In a game that could easily have gotten lost in character customization, brewing genes to improve your children, or micromanaging buildings, the developers kept things as basic as possible while providing numerous ways to achieve your goals. Your kid is a random genetic mix between you and your mate, almost guaranteed to be ugly; there are only a couple of upgrades for each building, leading to several different city types; and you can only hold two items, be a weapon, quest item, whatever.

The controls couldn't be simpler. It's 100% mouse clicking at your pace. The only typing you might do is naming your heroes, which I did in the style of Worms a.k.a. random nouns (there's nothing like watching the great beast get slain by a hero named Biscuit).

Honestly (and I don't think I've ever said this), this does make for a great mobile game.

Time is the most important currency, and it factors into everything from damage (losing a few years of your life to a punch seems a little out of Princess Bride but it works) to resources (god, what'd I'd give for a countdown to when tiles give out potions) to how long your current hero has to make their life (can I get a bit more fame and get back before turning to dust outside of town? let's try!). As such, you'll find yourself making short, medium, and long-term goals. Tend to quests, to tiles, to towns, to yourself, to your children and your children's children! And, oh yeah, try to take care of the doom clock that counts down to some horrible fate of dark mystery (oh, there are a few great touches of darkness in this game as well).

I do wish that it was made clearer which quests were done for all time, and which needed to be repeated each generation or every few. Also having to repeat the same quests in each new world starts to get weary, but at least each comes with new challenges.

Picking up the basics is simple but learning how to prioritize can take a few runs; still, every run will be a great time. Seriously, this game pulled me in. I usually take notes while playing games, but I went two hours before looking up and going "crap, I forgot to pause and write!" Once I learned how to focus on building cities into resources powerhouses (whose guide page is a little hidden, though I'm not sure how intentional that was), I was hooked.

My lineage died a few times and in each new game, I tried a different method to get things done--great replayability. I haven't beaten the game, and I'll be very happy to keep trying things until I do.

The graphics are cute and match the game--not distracting in a good or bad way (though I do enjoy how many characters have secondary sex traits of multiple genders, making slippery any handle you might have on identifying them). Same with the music: not memorable but that just means it effectively blended in with the background.


The Verdict

Pretty handily the best game I've reviewed for OpNoobs. It's addicting, well thought out and made, and fun. Not mind-blowing, not something I can lose myself in for several hours without tiring of it, but solid. And if you like Civilization and think the genre would blend well with Zelda, then I highly suggest picking it up. You'll likely find yourself saying "wait, just one more generation!"

Joe Pilato
Written by
Monday, 22 August 2016 00:00
Published in Strategy



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Joe Pilato works as an engineer and pub quiz host while developing his skills as a standup comic and storyteller. You may occasionally find him wandering the streets of NYC looking for adventure or possibly running into the woods to hide from civilization for days at a time.
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