Monday, 5 April 2021

What a Legend

Over the years the mobile gaming platform has been a mixed blessing for Star Trek.

For every Timelines there’s been an Adversaries and for each Fleet Command there’s a Wrath of Gems. I'm not even going to start stepping towards Alien Domain and neither should you.

So you can understand that I was a little cautious with the new offering from Tipping Point. Entitled Star Trek: Legends, this one is a turn-based character game that actually bothers to weave some level of storytelling into the background. For those of you who recognise the name, your experiences with Timelines should be a good indicator for the future since this is the gaming company that recently purchased that property from Disruptor Beam.

The inclusion of the Nexus (from Generations) means that any character from any series can show up and become part of your crew but let’s get to that in turn. Legends offers one on one combat, resource collecting and  character enhancements as you progress however there’s a rather large catch... it’s currently only available on iOS and perhaps even more significantly, it’s part of the Apple Arcade.

What that dictates is that you’re going to need to pay £4.99 per month for the pleasure of playing it and a host of other games on this feature. Luckily there’s a month free in which you can dabble in Legends and anything else you fancy.

But back to the game in hand. It certainly feels fresh and enjoyable to play from the off. Ok, so you are inevitably handed some decent crew to begin with (I got Burnham, Worf and McCoy to start). There’s the standard level to train you up in the intricacies of the game before you’re let loose on the universe. Within the initial cache of characters are recognisable faces from every live action series from TOS right up to Soji from Picard.

Over time you can collect further crew from the initial roster of 61 and at time of writing I’ve managed to acquire the Very Rare Captain Janeway and Commander Riker and the Rare B’Elanna Torres. Crew come in all sorts of varieties from a Common Starfleet Commander right up to those named and prized individuals who formed the main cast of our favourite sci-fi show. More can be Summoned through playing and collecting in the game as well as ticking off numerous Goals and Achievements.

One thing that is immediately noticeable is a feature that Timelines proposed pre-launch but never delivered in that you would be able to equip Crew you recruited into any suitable positions as part of your Bridge staff. If you were ever waiting to put Locutus at the helm this might be precisely what you were waiting for.

All of your staff whether Common up to Very Rare can have equipment and perks allocated to them which boosts their abilities during missions. Each has a unique set of traits to level up or unlock. Riker for instance totes a phaser rifle and can perform a singular attack or a strafing shot that damages all enemies. Worf is all hand to hand, dicing with his bat'leth while also offering the ability to lessen the morale of your opponents.

With Legends, certain characters can fit to particular positions providing in game bonuses aboard your ship, the USS Artemis. There’s more to that as well as Tilting Point have included a bridge so you can see your mish-mash of characters all seated and working away. 

The missions unlock at level 1 and as you step up the ranks, more options open up. There are shuttle missions, the ability to equip your characters with better weapons and other tech plus arena scenarios. Dive further and unlock the PvP element and Operations and Legends offers a wide range to keep fans interested.

What will be telling is how this develops. There's a lot right from launch with all avenues playable and the question would be, what more can you add?

As Timelines has ably demonstrated, there's an almost infinite diversity of characters and character variations to entice fans to keep playing and collecting. What sets Legends apart from that is its choice to almost "Pixar" the crew. The graphics are a lot more cartoon-orientated and very distinct. Each battle move is unique as well so there's a good deal of animation during fights plus the benefit of some level of narrative to follow.

Perhaps my only other grumble after a couple of days playing is that the Crew selection is extremely sensitive and I've sent one or more off on the wrong mission given its temperamental nature. Also whenever selecting Bridge Officers or even equipping Tech, it takes a couple of goes before the screen recognises your input. On occasion I've had to completely exit the game and go back in just to move an Officer from one chair to another or add a Tricorder to their luggage.

Visually, Legends looks the business and its playability is fantastic. It does appear a little similar to the Star Wars turn-based game which arrived a few months ago and well, you sort of expected this would happen. Legends is worth a free month of play if nothing more and I'll be running out the next 29 days seeing just how much I can collect and level up. After that, I have to say it's very unlikely I'll be sending Apple my money but Tilting Point will still be seeing me over on Timelines...for the time being.

Star Trek: Legends is available now in the Apple Arcade on iOS. The first month is free with £4.99 subscription per month after that.

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