We’re used to seeing games from other platforms make their way to mobile devices, be it from PC, or console, or of course other handhelds. However, I think this might mark the first time a Playdate game has made the jump to iOS. Scenic Route Software is no stranger to either platform, and they’ve had their hands all up in the Playdate cookie jar since pretty much the beginning. They first adapted their 2015 iOS puzzler Shift for the Playdate before going on and creating a number of the more enjoyable games on the platform, including the very well-received Generations. Now things are coming full circle as Secret Route has rejiggered Generations slightly and brought it to iOS.
I’m not going to lie: Generations is kind of tricky to describe. It’s probably most similar to something like Triple Town. You have a living room wall with a 6×3 grid, and one by one you’ll be given portraits of family members in various age groups. Place 3 or more of the same age group adjacent to each other and they’ll combine into a single portrait one age group higher. Continue this pattern until you finally age out the oldest age group, aka they die. Hey, it happens to all of us. Aging out gives you a huge bonus and ages up everyone on your board, and the game continues on until you’re unable to place any matches and the board fills up.
There’s also a “save" spot on the coffee table where you can place a portrait you don’t want to place on the board just yet, but you don’t want to park stuff on there for too long because bonus items and portraits can also appear there when it’s empty and those can come in handy big time. Another wrinkle to the mechanics is that you can only place portraits on “open" tiles on the grid, which are tiles adjacent to portraits you’ve already placed. Board management in games like this is already a major strategic factor and this just makes it so you have to be even more careful about where you place your pieces. Oh! I almost forgot the most important part about Generations: There is a cat named Poe that lives in the house and you can pet it.
I can honestly see why this was such a big hit on Playdate, and now that Generations is on iOS it has the potential to reach a much larger audience, which it totally deserves to do. I’m not kidding when I say I’ll hold this one up to the greats of the genre such as the aforementioned Triple Town or Threes! or High Rise – A Puzzle Cityscape. I think my only wish is that it played in portrait orientation as this would be a killer one-handed game. That aside, I can’t really find fault with Generations, and based on how quickly I’ve been firing up a new game once the previous one ends I think this is one of those puzzlers where it’ll feel like you’ll always have room to improve or find new strategies. All that for a fiver AND you get to pet the cat? What’s not to love?