Star Trek Timelines desperately wants to be the game that Star Trek fans deserve. By that, I mean that for a beloved sci-fi franchise, it hasn’t always had a smooth go of it in video game form.
To that end, Disruptor Beam has been saying all the right things about its upcoming project, currently in closed beta and soft launch (though somewhat confusingly, as Star Trek Multiverse). The Boston-area developer has promised a rich story, lush visuals and a cast of characters that draws from every era of Star Trek except for the recent reboot films.
Judging from the beta build I played over the weekend, those three elements should all please mobile gamers with high hopes for Star Trek Timelines. The story is extremely promising, with Q showing up to introduce a temporal calamity that serves as a mechanism to mix all eras of Star Trek together in a logical way. You’re able to quickly assemble a crew from those different times as well, meaning at least one or two of your favorites should end up on your ship early on.
The core gameplay is not dissimilar from that in Disruptor Beam’s previous title, Game of Thrones Ascent, in that it offers challenges that you can choose to overcome in different ways depending on what characters you choose to tackle them. You pick an away team for most of them, though there are also ship battles in space to change things up.
That’s where the graphics really shine, though you’re mostly an observer chipping in only when you need to activate skills for the crew members you’ve assigned to your ship’s battle stations. There’s a way to unlock other vessels from throughout Star Trek lore, as well as what appears to be a fairly in-depth crafting system.
And even though Star Trek is a brand built on exploring the unknown, I hope Star Trek Timelines takes some steps to explain more to its players before it launches. The beta build leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and they seem like fairly important ones. How do different crew members influence ship combat? What is the advantage of ensuring a particular faction “wins” an episode, and how do your choices influence the outcome?
Also, while there are voice snippets from every character, I’m hoping for more John de Lancie. he played Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation and does voice work in the game as well, but only in the early portions of the beta. More Q is never a bad thing, though perhaps Picard would disagree.
I’m not a huge Trekkie, but I’m certainly rooting hard for Star Trek Timelines to deliver. It’s currently slated to beam aboard the iOS and Android app stores before the end of January.