Saturday, 14 July 2018

The Good and the Bad: Star Trek Adversaries Is Mobile

Already available on PC, the Star Trek Adversaries game has now transferred onto the Apple App Store for us mobile gamers to enjoy.

Now it's been a little while since I last reviewed any form of online game. I still play Timelines regularly however Wrath of Gems and Trexels have both fallen to the wayside and will probably soon find themselves deleted from my phone.

So what makes this one any different to the handful already available?

Adversaries places you into starship combat but the spin on this which makes it different from the similar battle aspect of Timelines is that this is all turn-based card playing. You face off against an opponent either in multiplayer or versus the computer armed with a selected deck of thirty cards including an array of both ships and characters.

From your chosen flagship (there's a list and all come with different features to use) you can then dispatch up to four ships to battle your equally laden opponent. Each ship/card played can have its own advantage to play such as inflicting increased damage or rebuilding your own health and it's a straight out fight to be the first one to destroy your enemy's flagship.

Currently the Gamesparks game only supports Klingon versus Federation but there's a ton of ships available within the framework from the original USS Enterprise right through to the new Klingon Bird of Prey from Discovery. Each ship has its own attack and defence score and its down to you to work out the best way to play your cards although there is a degree of the game itself highlighting which cards you can play.

This isn't a game that you can really dip in and out of easily as I've discovered after a few days of playing. For one, the time for a turn is limited to two minutes for a versus computer and 30 mins per turn for an online match. You need to be able to dedicate the time to it otherwise it will nark off your opponents at how long it can take to have a go. Even with the computer battles you need a good 15 to 20 mins to play it through properly and, honestly, I just don't have that kind of time every day for two or three games.

The concept is great and there's the chance to add to your deck, customise each flagship with their own set of 30 cards to get the maximum effect in each confrontation. It is, therefore, incredibly customisable and no two decks will be even remotely the same. There is also the now-obligatory pay to upgrade options with bigger packs with more powerful ships and allies.

The detail on this game - which has very clear CBS backing - is phenomenal. The ships look stunning and the recreations of the characters are glorious but it can look as amazing as you want if there's nothing under the surface.

Luckily there is but, as I've noted, you're going to need to invest heavily in playing to get yourself up the rankings on multiplayer. When I say invest I mean financially and in time because what I have noticed on the single player mode is how quickly the opponent health level jumps once you're past the most basic level of the game. Once past this point yoou'll want to start purchasing more powerful flagships (example above), better cards...the list goes on. Talk about being lulled into a false sense of security from the off but I really should expect it fro every mobile game these days.

Adversaries is one of those games that I would love to love but I just can't. With Wrath of Gems and Timelines I'm able to drop in and out a few times a day - even when there's an event - and play in my own time. With real world commitments like family and work, Adversaries demands your attention for a sustained period of time and if I want to do that with ship based card-backed combat I'll turn to Attack Wing or even the galaxy expanding Ascendancy.

In fact, Adversaries does have a ton of features similar to Attack Wing without the movement element if you think about it. You have flagships, card decks for each's all there but I want to invest my time in that physically and it gets me talking to other people not locked to a mobile phone screen.

It's still early days for this latest mobile experience and just look how much the others have chopped and changed over the years to become slicker games. Adversaries has a lot of potential and it's only just scratched the surface with its use of the Federation and Klingon ships. Plus there must be an absolute ton of characters still to drop into the game. But does it all really matter? 

I'm certain that if you want to get up the rankings then the basic cards you can purchase with credits won't make you Top Dog and for sure the "Ultimate" special features will only come alive with the power of stronger cards. I actually don't think that adding factions such as the Romulans or the Borg or even offering more characters will entice the more casual Star Trek gamer because they won't make that much difference to the gameplay and this might be Adversaries' biggest downfall - there's not enough variety in the game. It's one type of combat over and over and over again and changing to play someone else won't alleviate that. It's the same actions repetitively and if your fleet's crap it's going to stay crap unless you (gonna say it again) invest.

One final good point - the selection of ship skins is insane. Have a ganders through and you can be shuttles, Runabouts, the NX-refit, a Voth city ship, armoured Voyager, the Shenzhou or the biggest draw - the refreshed Constitution Class from the season one finale of Discovery. Well worth two minutes of your time to have a scroll through and spin around of all of the craft available. Pick a ship then click on the ship icon in the bottom right corner to see what skins are hidden away...

Nevertheless, have a dip in but I for one think there are better and more involving Star Trek games out there to take your time and money if that's your thing. I may well play again in a few months to see what improvements have been made but at the moment I'll take my playing thumbs elsewhere.

Played Adversaries? What's your take on this new mobile game?

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