Posted in Gaming, Steam Challenge

Steam Challenge: Hero Generations

-Welcome to this series where I resolve to play my Steam games backlog! Here are my discoveries!-

herogenerations

Game: Hero Generations
Time Played: 2.3 hours

I discovered Hero Generations, a game developed by one person (!), through a Kickstarter campaign last year. I liked the basic game concepts, so I backed it and went into waiting mode, like you do with Kickstarted games. A few weeks ago, the game officially released on Steam. I thought this was odd because it’s the first Kickstarted game I backed that went into an official release and not an early access.

What’s It About?

The game describes itself as:

An innovative roguelike/4X strategy game where every turn is one year of your life.

Uncovering a map
Uncovering a map

That’s pretty accurate. You start with a randomly generated young hero on a map. The map is covered with a fog of war until your hero uncovers it, so you can’t see towns, locations or enemies until you start moving around. Each time you move one space on the map, that takes one year of your hero’s life. So, the clock is always ticking down.

The goal of the game is to earn fame through defeating enemies, build up structures around your towns with gold you loot, and then fall in love and hand down your legacy to your child. While rolling for traits for your child has a lot of random elements to it, they can earn traits that are passed on between you and your mate.

Fighting isn’t the only strategy, however. What you build in spots adjacent to your towns will effect the size of the town and what it will become. For example, if you build three barracks around a town, the town will turn into a fort. If you upgrade all three barracks to strongholds, the town will become a keep.

Upgrading your town is important because it changes the types of mate you can find within. Some mates are just “Commoners” without much in the way of traits. Upgrading your town increases the variety and quality of mates, which increases the chances of better quality of your next generation. Better mates have higher standards, however, which also seem to be effected by the type of town they live in. I’ve seen mates expect a certain amount of strength points, gold earned or fame points before they’ll fall in love with you.

Some Impressions

The RNG Board that passes traits to your child.
The RNG Board that passes traits to your child.

There’s a LOT of RNG play in this game. Actually, quite a bit of the game relies on trying to influence a better random outcome.

Traits, as I said above, are randomly earned when a child is born. Also, when your hero hits milestones, you can choose from additional random cards, which can give strength, traits, life expectancy, and more.

Combat is also RNG. The more strength you have, and the better items you hold, the better chance you have to roll a higher attack number. However, there’s also always the chance that a weaker enemy can still get a few hits in. Not sure how I feel about that, but it did lean towards my advantage when I took out that dragon that one time.

I do like the art style, and it’s neat to watch your hero change as they gain scars or as they get older. I find the choice to take up much of the screen with a white background kinda odd, though. This game doesn’t use all the screen real estate that it could, but I’m not sure why. Other players noted that due to this, it lent this game to feeling like an Internet flash game or a mobile game, which I agree. I think that with a few screen tweaks, this game could make a very awesome tablet port.

Kip (with green hair) loves me!
Kip (with green hair) loves me!

One thing that severely bugs me is inventory management in this game. You have two inventory slots. Period. That’s it. I think the designer thought that this would increase the difficulty. But, in fact, it just annoys and prevents me from picking up anything of worth along the way. I found a really cool and powerful sword, which I refuse to drop, and I have a decent shield, which I also refuse to drop. So, both of my inventory slots are taken up, and I can’t pick up anything new. Sometimes, those items are needed – such as hammers that can fix structures around the town that tend to decay over time.

To the Dev: At least give us one more inventory slot. That’s not a lot to ask. I’m not dropping my sword or shield, so that makes it very difficult to do anything with any item that drops on the map… kinda takes a lot of fun out of it.

The gameplay, while fun, does get a little bit repetitive after a while. There’s a basic pattern of heroes starting out weak and new, not doing much until adulthood where they come into their own with strength, then trying to cram everything in during the prime time of their lives before they need to stop and find a mate. I see this as a game you’d probably play in quick rounds, as each lifetime goes by pretty fast. I was up to close to 30 generations in about 2 hours.

 

The art is very pretty. I'm sad there's so much white space in this game, though.
The art is very pretty. I’m sad there’s so much white space in this game, though.

Verdict

This verdict hurts my heart to write. I like this game. I like the concepts. I’m having fun with it. I see the dev continuing to make fixes and add things that the community is requesting, even though the game is not in early access.

But.

I think there needs to be something more to it to justify a $14.99 price tag. There, I said it. 😦

And I hate I have to say it, because I want to support this developer and his ideas. I paid $10 to back it on Kickstarter, and I feel that’s more the proper price range now that I’ve played it. The game is not early access, so that tells me the developer feels the game is complete. I feel a lower price point would probably encourage more folks to try the game since this is this dev’s first foray into the world of Steam.

So, my verdict is, if you like what you see, wait for a sale or for the price to drop.

Recommend:

yes

Yes – if you can get it on sale.

 

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