Feb 17, 2016

[Games] Star Trek Timelines (Android)

So my latest distraction as of late is Star Trek Timelines, which is an RPG-style grindfest that is proving to be entertaining. It's certainly a lot more scalable than Star Trek Trexels was, that's for certain. And while it's not the best game in the world, it does combine a lot of elements that I look for in a franchise-supported casual game. Especially one based on Star Trek.

Star Trek Timelines is a free-to-play RPG mobile game developed by Disruptor Beam. It's available for both Android and iOS, but of course I can only really talk about the Android game.

The game follows the original continuity of the Star Trek universe before the 2009 movie and after the events of the Nemesis movie and the end of the Voyager TV series. There's some sort of temporal crisis and oddly enough it's the omnipotent Q who explains what's going on and solicits your aid in restoring the timeline. Thus the game will have you collecting various characters from Star Trek's diverse history in an effort to restore the continuity.

Your encounters in this shattered timeline will consist of Away Missions and Starship Battles. Away Misisions will require certain skills (as determined by icons and keywords) to get past and you'll need to select three characters to attempt to defeat the challenge. It all boils down to comparing your character stats versus the mission target number and hoping for the best.

Starship Battles have you crewing your ship with typically 2 characters whose abilities translate in special commands for the ship. The battle is mostly automatic (based on your stats) but you do get to choose when to trigger your abilities. Typically you have buffs for increasing attack, evasion, or accuracy, so picking the right crew can matter in the long run.

The game shines with the character options, which reminds me a lot of how Doctor Who Legacy is trying to gather all the different key characters from that show's history. Characters have varying levels of rarity (and star ratings) and this implies how many skill icons they have or keyword traits they may have as well. But that doesn't stop their ability to gain experience and as long a you assemble / find / gather the 4 items showing on their profile, you'll unlock the option for the next 10 levels of experience.

Now the game's free-to-play nature is a lot more aggressive than Doctor Who Legacy and I'm a little annoyed by that. I can take the regular ads for special promotions and deals for purchasing characters and ships using cash. But then dilithium, the game's premium in-app currency, is only available for purchase, as far as I can determine. Then there's the crew problem. You start with only 25 crew slots and you'll need to pay for VIP status in order to open up more. And of course VIP points only come from purchases of the in-app currency so that sucks. And given how regularly you'll be able to recruit new characters, you're going to fill up those slots very quickly. And money is probably the way to get access to new ship models unless you wait forever to gather enough random ship schematics from the portal.

The game is still pretty fun and it's nice to gather different versions of characters like Maqui Torres versus Voyager Torres. But the crew slot limitation means you can't get lost in the fun side of collecting and you lose that "collect them all" motivation to play. So that's a bit of a miss.

Star Trek Timelines is still a pretty fun game that isn't as painful as other Star Trek games out there. I'm very tempted to buy into the game just to get more crew slots, so clearly they're doing something right. Thus the game only gets 4 funny character appearances in the game out of a possible 5.

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