Hero Generations is a game that tries to live up to the idea that every adventure is a part of a neverending story. An ambitious indie creation brought to us by Scott Brodie, a former Microsoft Xbox LIVE Arcade Producer and the heart behind the studio, Heart Shaped Games, I'm almost loathe to recommend a game that's still in open beta testing, but Brodie's entry onto Facebook is one that few developers have aspired to, or players often see.
Basically, you begin as the lone hero, but like all heroes, you'll age and eventually die, so your quest must come to an end at some point. But you can get married and have a kid who will follow in your footsteps; thus, your adventures can continue. Depending on how well you do in life, you can pass on certain traits and equipment to your heir, such as Life Expectancy, Strength, Gold, and Bonus Cards (the game's premium virtual currency). Your heir will also gain his own random bonuses at birth, so his stats will build on top of yours.
The game doesn't require energy to play, but it is turn-based, and every move costs one year of your life. When you run out of life, the game is over, and you have to start a new game. Because Hero Generations is currently in beta, you can't have saved games. What you do have, however, is that the game will save the hero with the highest score in the game, which is measured as Fame. Fame are points that you earn by exploring your world, defeating monsters, completing quests, and just basically, you running around doing whatever stuff it is that heroes do. But Fame can be depleted as well, for example, when you are defeated or choose to run away from the baddies.
Finally, the most novel element is the idea that you can travel to different worlds, and these are randomly generated by the game, so if you ever choose to leave, you can't return to where you were. Your only connections to the past come in the form of little tombstones that you visit shortly after an heir is born, listing the names of the heir's previous two ancestors. But as the generations wear on, this token of appreciation disappears.
Ultimately, Hero Generations is a game that promises a lot of depth, but it's possible that in setting out to create such a broad world, the elements are worn a bit thin. Your descendants and worlds start to look the same after a while, and there's not much strategy involved in the play. There's no story except for the fact that life goes on regardless of what you do. Still, this game is incredibly unique and deserves all the attention it can get. Or you can view our screenshots. It's the little details that will surprise you.
Click here to play Hero Generations on Facebook >>
[Hat-tip: Seattle Post-Intelligencer]