Star Trek Trexels Review

Star Trek Trexels Review

Jun 8, 2015

Star Trek Trexels is one of those games that, right off the bat, has something immense going for it: a backing franchise that almost demands one try out the game.

We did.

The game is a glorious ode to games past; graphically, it delights in its chunky looks, exuding a retro feel that mostly defines the game. It uses text bubbles as a means to convey dialogue, and the animations do what one would expect of them in a game that uses such a design scheme.

The immortal George Takei lends his voice to our journey, and his booming voice is close to the perfect compliment outside Leonard Nimoy (RIP).

The game starts with excitement, and the arrow-driven tutorial rolls along simultaneously: we see a Federation Starship — the USS Valiant, to be exact — take on a bunch of belligerent ships in the Trexellian Expanse. While learning the basics of combat, we see the Valiant take on one serious enemy that easily destroys it. Trekkies will be able to guess who this foes is, no doubt.

stt1

The Federation then dispatches the player to get a starship to investigate the disappearance.

The game leads players through the different elements; the aforementioned combat can occur on a ship-to-ship level or mano a mano/crew vs crew on planetary ground. In any case, the game employs cubes to effect attack and healing process. Picard fans need not fret about the Kirkisms, because there are occasions when negotiations become an element to be practiced.

As one goes on, the game reveals itself to be a management simulation with building elements at its core. The player has to recruit officers, train them and such, while improving/fixing the ship and doing the whole going “where no man has gone before.” What makes it work is the variety of gameplay; one is able to get into different stuff (like collecting dilithium crystals… cool stuff) and keep many pieces moving simultaneously. There is an energy requirement, and some portions that are based on leveling up. Real money can be used to supplement the game currency system, and helps expedite some iconic, uh, icons.

Still, for the experienced gamer, it might feel like a lot of the same. There’s no ignoring the franchise power, but there isn’t a lot of new stuff, and there might be a dichotomy of experience for different type of folks.

When it’s all said and done, it’s a fun endeavor with cool aspects that brings Star Trek to life in mobile devices.

Airline Director Review

Airline Director Review

Oct 27, 2014

Simulations usually go one of two ways: engaging or painful. Airline Director looks to be in the former category.

The user interface is fairly basic, with a low-frill information presentation via the navigation screens. the walk-through runs one through the basics of what we are supposed to do: build an airline empire. The globe is shown, with airports as pin dots; clicking on one gives information on the selected port as well as action options.

The player starts out with cash and a couple planes; the game prompts the player to pick a starting airport on the globe, and from there it is necessary to negotiate rights to use that and other airports and (as is necessary early on) to create a hub, as hubs are essential to operations. The gameplay is turn-based, so after actions are taken, one can “play” to advance to the next time quarter.

Going forward, it is then prudent to set routes; routes are true business decisions, as one must weigh factors like aircraft on hand, range, and costs versus profits. Then, expansion requires purchasing aircraft, expanding routes, taking heed of rising costs and more. At all times, it is necessary to keep an eye on the cash hoard, and to understand that not all moves are immediate; for example, ordering a plane can take a turn or two. Financials are presented periodically, and existing routes can be devolved, and planes sold.

ad1

I think what makes the game work is the flow of the gameplay. The developer does a better than decent job of tying concepts together, with economic realities that do not allow the game to be too easy. For example, use rights expire, so if one goes into them and isn’t able to start flights after getting them, the rights are lost and money spent wasted. There are tons of planes with different attributes, and even airports need to be researched before expansion.

The game engine is fairly easy to understand too, and this is definitely a plus. The different save slots can allow for different plays to have their own sims going (in theory).

I do think the UI could be spiffier, the game gets the point across with simple screens and basic animations, but I still think a bit more definition could be used to highlight the gameplay. Pricing ($6.90) might cause pause, but I’d take the upfront pricing anyway.

All in all, it plays like full-featured, logical sim, providing plenty of opportunities to explore and create virtual empires.

Disco Zoo Review

Disco Zoo Review

Apr 16, 2014

Disco Zoo is somewhat of an all-rounder. It’s chunky pixels are the perfect call to the joys contained within.

One of the biggest attributes of the game is the more-or-less logical flow. It is a management sim, and as such, there are resources, and a need to spend those resources wisely to expand.

As the tutorial cycles through, the player gets a bank of coins, which is useful to procure the vehicles and animals needed to make the gameplay work. Some elements are linked; for example, buying one hot air balloon unlocks the farm, and other unlocks and upgrades are affected by other factors such as number of animals and such.

And procuring animals to keep zoo animals patron paying for acess and tips is ultimately the name of the game. The first step is to “rescue” the animals from different habitats, but different habitats need different vehicles. Thedisco1 aforementioned hot air balloon is the bottom tier vehicle, and good for simple animals. To get more exotic animals, a better flying vehicle is needed to get to the outback, for instance. Well, to get that money to get the better vehicle, one needs to rescue the easy local ones.

Rescuing is a whole new element in and of itself; basically, there is a grid made up of smaller squares, and the operation plays out like reverse Minesweeper: locate the animals hidden underneath before running out of tries. To rescue a kangaroo, for instance, there are four kangaroo images hidden in a standard order; getting all four in ten tries gains the animal, which in turn gains money for the zoo operation. To move on to savanna animals, more money is needed, and so on. There are also coins to be gained from these searches. As new animals are garnered, more of the zoo is developed to accommodate them.

The game is enjoyable because it doesn’t require real cash, though it can be used if needed; there’s even the option to watch ads to get extra rescue attempts. The animals yield payouts every so often, and the rate can be increased by rescuing more of the same type. Animals go to sleep, and have to me wakened to earn money, but Disco Events can be organized (for a cost) that not only keep the animals awake, but yield more coins.

It’s an engaging game; it does require some amount of attention, and feels overly easy in parts, but it’s a fun game that can be tailored to fit individual and changing interest levels