A coupla days ago, I came across Star Trek: Trexels in my endless hunt for something new to entertain me, and the gorgeous pixelly old school graphics and the promise of George Takei’s smooth narrations were more than enough to suck me in, and I gotta say, the first little bit of gameplay with all those pretty pixels was absolutely charming.
First impression: Tiny Tower meets Star Trek! You start with a few key rooms such as the bridge, the medical bay, a conference room, and tucked away in (what I assume is) the back of the ship, main engineering and the shuttlebay, and as you progress you unlock rooms and build rooms to which crew members can be sent to work and produce those all important resources. Pretty standard fare, gameplay-wise.
The LCARS (Library Computer Access/Retrieval System) UI has a distinctly TNG feel to me, but it’s a little confining having it wrap around nearly three-quarters of the screen. It doesn’t help that there are heaps and heaps of colours everywhere demanding my attention. And (getting a little nit-picky here) the smooth curves of the retro LCARS UI start to clash with the perfectly pixel-imperfect edges of the crew and rooms anytime I zoom in enough to micro-manage my ship.
In addition to building rooms and collecting resources, the bulk of the game consists of *ahem* boldly going where no one has gone before (sorry, sorry) and completing missions, which, well. Is a little like playing tag.
Every mission comes with a small cut scene explaining the peril du jour, after which I, the amazing admiral, must frantically throw my fingers all over the screen, rushing to catch glowing energy cubes so that I can hit a particular button that will, depending on the scenario, negotiate tense diplomatic impasses, miraculously engineer a solution, or perform research to find a cure of some sort. Sometimes, I can also fire at the enemy or heal an ally. After a while though, all the cutscenes sort of run together, especially since training your crew in the Starfleet Academy or in the Holodeck both involve running recycled missions.
There’s also a secret (not really, it’s just never mentioned anywhere) exploratory mode where you get to fire at space debris to collect miniscule amounts of resources, but as mini-games go it’s entertaining for about 5 minutes, if that.
The biggest problem I’m having with Star Trek: Trexels is the unbalanced gameplay… after a couple days of sporadic playing, I’m already at level 24, which according to the Assignment list means I should have finished exploring most of Sector 2 when in reality I’m still stuck at about 20%. I’m also already at wait times of 10 hours, which, of course, I can speed up by spending dilithium, which, of course, is required for other assignments but which, of course (again), I can purchase for the low price of $4.99 for 25. So. Unless I spend real world money, different aspects of the game are going to be at different speeds. I’m also stuck at the start of Sector 2 because my crew aren’t good enough, and I don’t have enough dilithium to buy better (and more famous) crew either.
Conclusion? 3/5 because while I’m annoyed by the lack of balance I also can’t seem to stop playing…