We’re less than a day away from the latest Star Trek motion picture, and even if you’re not a Trekker, there’s a pretty good chance that this could be your summer movie of the year. Of course, spending 133 minutes in the theater might not be quite enough to give you your fill of the final frontier. When you get home from the movies, you’re going to want to set phasers to fun!
So put down your tricorder, pick up your joystick, and check out these five recent space-faring games;
SO MANY THINGS CAN GO WRONG ON A SPACESHIP. Don’t believe me? Then clearly you haven’t played Star Command, a strategy game about defending your ship and crew from the hostile inhabitants of the universe. With a clear Star Trek flavor (just check out the red, blue, and yellow tunics to see what I mean), Star Command puts you in charge of your own starship. Unlucky for you, that starship is pretty much endlessly under fire. You’ll need to assign crew to different tasks, maintain repairs, repel enemy invaders – all while engaging in ship-to-ship combat. Few games manage to capture the frenzied nature of starship combat so well.
If Star Trek were real, there are a few things in the storyline we’d have to change. For one thing, it would be pretty hard to survive your first encounter with a Klingon Bird of Prey. For another, Spock’s resurrection via the Genesis device would require a lot more than the dumb luck that occurred in Star Trek III. I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: in real life, death is final. The same goes for roguelikes, which, in a certain light, is exactly what FTL is. So go enjoy the galaxy, explore new life and new civilizations – and just pray you survive the experience.
The only official movie tie-in on mobile devices, Star Trek Rivals is essentially the classic Final Fantasy VII diversion Triple Triad with a coat of Star Trek on top. This isn’t something we’re going to complain about. In fact, we were recently lamenting on Twitter that SquareEnix hasn’t brought Triple Triad to mobile devices yet. So Triple Triad with Tribbles? We’ll take it. (CONFIRMED: THERE ARE TOTALLY TRIBBLES IN THIS GAME.)
At its heart, Star Trek is the story of humanity’s expansion into the great unknown. And what better way to channel that experience than with a game about colonizing the galaxy and seeding your population as far as you possibly can? StarDrive falls under the category of 4X gaming (explore, expand, exploit and exterimate). If you’ve ever had the joy of playing games like Civilization or Masters of Orion, you’ll definitely get the idea. Micromanagement and strategy are the name of the game here – but don’t think that means you won’t have to survive some ship-to-ship combat, too!
Ok, this one might defy my earlier promise of “recent releases.” It came out in 1986, right about the time that Spock was talking to whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. But don’t let its age fool you; Starflight still offers up one of the best Star Trek-style experiences out there. Explore hundreds of planets, meet alien races, unravel a mystery – all while remembering what it felt like to play games on a Commodore 64. Thankfully you won’t have to dust off the ol’ C64 or Amiga to play. GOG.com sells Starflight and Starflight 2 in a single package that will run on any modern PC or Mac.