Lioden is a free Virtual Pet/breeding sim focusing on lions. It launched in August, 2012, and differs from most virtual pet games in that the player not only manages a pride of lions but plays directly as the prides king. It features the ability to breed, decorate, fight, banish, participate in elaborate storylines with, and trade these lions.
When you join the game you chose the appearance and personality of your 'King', or player avatar lion, from a randomly generated selection of options. This initial king has only basic appearance options and few markings, but is fully customizable with applicators created from collected materials or earned in events. Once your king is chosen and named, you're able to explore 7 different areas (temperate savannah, shrubland, tropical forest, dry savannah, rocky hills, desert, waterhole, and marshlands), more of which are unlocked as your lion battles the creatures it encounters and levels up. While exploring, players also encounter wild lionesses who can be persuaded to join their pride if their king is sufficiently impressive.
Lions can be customized by changing the color of their fur ("base"), their markings, their eyes, as well as having the chance for lions to be born with a rare mutation that radically changes their appearance.
Every month, a month-long optional event takes place on the site, often themed around threats to wildlife in Africa such as wildfires or poaching. These involve unique encounters while exploring, decorations that can only be earned during these events, and often a storyline involving NPCs that the player's king can interact with and whose choices effect.
Lioden contains examples of:
- Animal Jingoism: Lions and hyenas are shown to have mutual animosity towards each other, with numerous encounters allowing you to steal from, antagonize, and outright attack the hyenas you encounter. Do to this, in the Lone Wanderer storyline it takes quite a while for your king and the striped hyena Laharu to come to trust each other even while they work towards a common goal.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Not present in most of the NPCs or game-generated lions, who are almost all various shades of yellow, brown, and gray, but extremely common in players' prides due to the abundance of brightly-colored bases and markings. Until the introduction of the Moss Agate base, the only non-joke color that a lion couldn't be was green.
- Back from the Dead: After re-sealing Apophis soul, its body collapsed on top of the Fusion Dance form of your lion and the god you allied with. If you allied with Anubis, it actually kills your lion and he has to retrieve its soul from the afterlife.
- Big Brother Bully: Vash spends much of the Brotherhood of Zeal story alternating between ignoring his younger brother V'Kai and berating for spending all his time goofing off/smacking him around when the two of them fight.
- Character Level: Applied to both your king and your lionesses. Higher levels unlock more areas for your king to explore, while higher levels for lionesses allow them to catch more and bigger prey.
- Common Tongue: All animals speak the same language, regardless of species. Apart from shop keepers during events, no prey animals are shown to talk however.
- Concealed Customization:
- The melanism and achromia mutations completely conceal a lion's base, markings, and skin colors, though those genes still exist and can be passed down to the lion's children. Melanism causes a lion to appear completely black, while achromia makes them appear completely white with pink eyes.
- Several decors can be worn by lions to completely hide their appearance, such as Nightmare Embers (the lion appears with black fur with fire coming from their neck, paws, and tail), Toxic Embers (same as Nightmare but with green fire), and Wraith Decor (the lion turns deep blue with neon outlines of bones on their fur).
- Creature-Breeding Mechanic: A major focus of the game. Almost every aspect of a lion's appearance can be inherited through breeding, and in fact some bases and many markings can only be gotten only on a lion through inheriting the gene for them from a parent.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Harbinger is an enormous, terrifying Mix And Match Creature with multiple horns, sharp claws, and jet-black fur that clawed itself up out of the ground to announce the approaching end of the world. Despite that, it not only bears no ill-will towards Earth but actively tries to help you figure out whats going on and how to stop it.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Menhit is a relationship with Apollyon. Her father is furious because Apollyon is from the Burning Lands, while he and Menhit are royalty of another kingdom of lions. If you choose to help Menhit, many of the quests she gives you involve distracting her father so that she can sneak away to see Apollyon.
- Defeat Means Friendship:
- Beating V'Kai in a battle impresses him and makes him much friendlier towards the player's king. In fact, to continue very far into the Brotherhood of Zeal storyline you have to beat him so that he'll open up to you.
- To befriend Vash, you need to accept his challenge to a Hopeless Boss Fight and lose- once you do he grows to consider you a Worthy Opponent and offers to train with you.
- Fireball Eyeballs: A number of decors create the appearance of fire coming out of a lion's eyes, often with other visual effects as well. Hellfire Eyes is the only one that causes the trope with no other effects.
- Fusion Dance: To defeat Apophis at the end of the Rise of the Serpent event, you must merge with the god you sided with during the storyline. The merged being is primarily your lion but grown to Godzilla-size due to being infused with godlike power, with the traits of the god altering its appearance. While control over it is technically split, its the god who takes charge during most of the battle.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the February event, one encounter in explore is a male dwarf lion having trouble mating with regular females due to how much smaller than them he is. Players who have dwarf kings have no penalties on breeding with them.
- Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Many decors create this effect, most of them only available from the October event's shop. Soulfire, Navifire, and Lich Fire all cause it, along with red/purple/blue fire to appear on the lion's back. Lich Eyes causes the effect without the additional fire.
- Heaven Versus Hell: The October Event involves a fight between the armies of heaven and hell. The player is given the option to join either side and fight angels or demons... or ignore it altogether and focus on the other supernatural events going on.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Vashkartzen has ludicrously high stats when you battle him, and rabbit's foots are disabled in your fight. To continue his storyline in Brotherhood of Zeal, you're meant to lose to him so that he'll offer to train with you. If you do somehow win, you can't proceed and will have to fight him again until you lose.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: They dont appear, but their steeds do. The horse of pestilence is a white horse dripping black liquid from its eyes and hooves, the horse of war is an enormous red war-horse with Flaming Eyeballs, the horse of famine is starved-looking black horse, and the horse of death is a completely silent dead horse with an exposed skull.
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: A male lion with the Primal mutation is close to twice the size of an ordinary male, and can mate and have cubs with a lioness with the Dwarfism mutation.
- Interspecies Romance: There is an extremely rare chance for a lioness to mate with a tiger or a leopard, producing a tigon or a leopon. She'll admit that she was afraid of your reaction, and hid the truth until she gave birth and was unable to hide it from you any longer.
- Karma Meter: Your lion's karma is effected by your actions while exploring- kind actions towards other creatures increases your karma, cruel ones decrease it. Some encounters are only possible if you are in a certain karma range, and what title your king holds also depends on how good or evil your karma is. The exact value that these encounters effect your karma is hidden by default, though by giving some beetles to the Karma Snake all subsequent encounters will show their effects.
- Nothing Is Scarier: In-universe, the narration notes that the complete silence of the white horse of death as it walks by is far scarier than the screams and roars of its fellow horses of the apocalypse.
- Our Manticores Are Spinier: Manticores in Lioden are intelligent creatures with the bodies of lions, six horns, bat-like wings, and a scorpion tail. One of them, Nirah, is encountered during the October storyline. Hes not at all malicious, and when hes battled while exploring hes not much tougher than the lions who can be fought. Befriending him instead of siding with the armies of Heaven or Hell is the neutral option during the October storyline.
- Predation Is Natural: If you chose to side with Heaven during the October event and have good karma, Aiatar will say that he doesn't hold lions killing other creatures to live against them, as its part of nature.
- Precocious Crush: It's heavily implied that V'Kai gets a crush on the player's lion after they defeat him in a fight, and if you opt to stay and hang out with him instead of his brother he'll ask if you're interested in male lions as well as lionesses. While you can playfully flirt back, its made clear that you're just joking and don't have any actual interest in him.
- Sibling Rivalry: In Brotherhood of Zeal, Vash and his little brother V'Kai are always arguing (or on occasion, physically fighting)- Vash sees his brother as lazy and embarrassingly immature, while V'Kai resents how Vash pushes him to train and instead prefers to party with his friends. Your goal is to help them get along better, and by the end of the event they do become closer thanks to your help.
- Uneven Hybrid: Hybrids that are second-generation and onward (having a majority of lion DNA) have a lower chance of passing their mutation onto their cubs than first-generation hybrids do. Additionally, later generation hybrids inherit fur colors and markings from their parents as all lions do, while first-generation hybrids are born with unique genetics that come from their tiger or leopard parent.
- Villainous Incest: Apedemak attempts to convince his daughter to make with him to produce perfect children, much to her disgust. While he had been shown to be angry at her relationship with Apollyon earlier and had claimed to use magic, until then it was left ambiguous if he was just an over-protective father with weird beliefs or if he was genuinely a villain.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: When visiting Hell during the October event, souls in the forms of ghostly lions are visibly being tortured by demons. The narration notes that they probably only look like lions to you because that's the best way you can understand them.