Posts Tagged: Sci-fi

Star Trek Timelines screws with the space-time continuum more than J.J. Abrams

I'm starting to wonder if this game was developed by the Ferengi.

I’m starting to wonder if this game was developed by the Ferengi.

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for all things Star Trek. My fandom is bad enough that, even if Timelines turns out to be a huge dud, I’m keeping it installed on my iPad just to have an icon that features Jean-Luc Picard. What is Timelines? Star Trek Timelines is the latest free-to-play game set in the Star Trek universe, developed by Disruptor Beam, which was released earlier this week.

First of all, you’ll be glad to hear that the graphics in Timelines aren’t 8-bit. The ship graphics themselves are actually pretty well done. The character graphics are still portaits that look a bit cartoony, but I’ll take them over the square blobs we got in Trexels any day. Because no one wants to shoehorn themselves into one Star Trek show or movie, Timelines has a convoluted plot where an anomaly is ripping apart time allowing characters from all the different Star Trek iterations to join together on the same ship. My initial crew consisted of Picard, Sulu, Torres, and a mix of other minor characters from Enterprise and DS:9. After completing my first mission, Spock joined up as well.

Gameplay thus far is a bit light. Ship combat consists of waiting for cooldowns and tapping on your crew mates, while the ship is automatically controlled for you. Away missions consist of dragging crew members that share that mission’s icon onto a path, and then seeing if a random roll gives you enough of that skill to succeed. There are ways to level up your crew and give them equipment to bump up these numbers, but at first glance it all seems quite simple. I also feel like, maybe, I’m missing something, so the jury’s still out on this one.

The game is also hampered with a convoluted free-to-play system. There are at least two easy-to-spot currencies in the game, and while some (credits) are easy to obtain, the ones that aren’t (dilithium crystals) are the ones needed to unlock “epic” crew members and “premium” rewards. Those are the visible currencies. If you look around you’ll stumble onto references for “Transmissions” (of which I have zero) to unlock things, VIP tokens (which you get when you buy dilithium) to unlock other things, and Merits (of which I have 0) which you get from completing missions (but apparently none of the missions I’ve completed). Like I said, it’s convoluted. As bad as it sounds, however, I played for a while last night and came nowhere near needing to spend any real money. Of course, I don’t have any “epic” crew mates, but I guess I’m not sure what I’m missing at this point. Oh, and there doesn’t seem to be any timers, either, which is the death knell for any game on my iPad, cool icon or not.

Is Timelines the game that Star Trek fans have been waiting for? Probably not. It seems cool, but I’m worried that the game was made more to hook whales than actually deliver a rewarding Star Trek experience. It does feature all new voiceovers by John de Lancie as Q, which is causing me to overlook some of the games immediately obvious shortcomings.

Issues aside, the game is free to try on both iOS Universal and Android so, if you’re a Trekkie it can’t hurt to look. F2P shenanigans aside, it’s definitely the mobile game most seeped in Trek lore, which has to be worth something. Trailer after the break.

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HexWar bringing giant mechs to our touchscreens in January

Luke Skywalker is hiding in there somewhere.

Luke Skywalker is hiding in there somewhere.

When we mention HexWar, thoughts immediately turn to ports of Decision Games‘ hex and counter board games or, less frequently, non wargames from companies like Victory Point Games. It’s been a long time since they dropped a completely original wargame on our doorstep, but they’re doing just that when Hex Mechs lands in early January.

Hex Mechs offers three different factions, the earth-based survivors of an alien invasion, the humans settlers on Mars, and the aliens themselves. The game features six tutorial missions as well as two campaigns. Each scenario will allow you to play as any of the factions involved in the conflict. Missions will be quite varied with different victory objectives such as capturing objectives, building bases, or destroying the enemy forces. While Hex Mechs is a purely turn-based affair, it sounds like it has some RTS elements baked in. We’ll be able to construct buildings which will then construct and upgrade new units, StarCraft sytle.

The expected release date for iOS Universal and Mac is January 7. In what’s becoming a most welcome habit, HexWar sent along a trailer as well. Check it out after the break.

A version of this post originally appeared on Wargamer.com.

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Disappointment of the Year 2015: Sid Meier’s Starships

Who are you, and what have you done with Sid Meier?

Who are you, and what have you done with Sid Meier?

The dictionary is often an excellent place to help focus one’s intent when writing. Webster’s defines disappointment as: “someone or something that fails to satisfy hopes or expectations “. The Internet is more succinct and defines disappointment as “meh“. Years ago, far too many to recount accurately, I spent a significant amount of time playing games with Civilization in the title. We all must have done so since the Google search for the word ‘civilization’ actually results (for me at least) in a list of references to that series of games. So to have to write a short article describing a Sid Meier game as the Disappointment of 2015 is as close as this atheist can come to heresy. And yet this is where we find ourselves: living in a world where 2K Games can release Sid Meier’s Starships and ultimately no-one cares.

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Slitherine swinging for a Thursday release of Star Hammer

Pew pew.

Space Squid! Kill it! Kill it with fire!

Pocket Tactics is a member of the Wargamer Limited Group, which is owned by Slitherine Software.

Slitherine has already made some pretty huge splashes this year on iPad: Vietnam ’65, Legions of Steel, Pike and Shot, Warhammer 40K: Armageddon and more. Looks like they might have been saving the best for last, however, with the upcoming release of Star Hammer: The Vanguard Prophecy, which will be coming to iPad this Thursday.

Star Hammer has been out for PC/Mac since April of this year, and has received generally great reviews thus far on Steam. Star Hammer is basically 3D tactical combat in space. It’s pausable real-time, so you can stop the action and give orders to your fleet and then unpause and watch the action. The game is single-player only with over 60 scenarios that make up the grand campaign, but it also has a scenario editor so you can create your own scenarios and skirmish battles.

The campaign focuses on the conflict between your side and the Nautilids, an alien race that needs to die because they look like squids, and all space-squids must die. That’s just common knowledge. To destroy them, you’ll have six different classes of ships from ultra-quick raiders all the way to gigantic, Mon Calamari-style dreadnoughts. [Weren’t the Mon Calamari space squids? -ed.] You’ll also have to keep track of each ship’s crew to ensure harmony and cohesiveness, while also ensuring that your ships are fully powered and diverting energy to where you need it most during each combat. Does this sound awesome? Yes it does, other Barry. Yes it does.

Star Hammer The Vanguard Prophecy will release this Thursday for iPad, but what it will cost is still up in the air. Check out the trailer after the break and watch for Alex’s review to pop up sometime in the next week or so.

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No need for the Tox Uthat: Real time strategy game Devouring Stars moving from PC to iOS

They really outdid themselves this year on the 4th of July.

They really outdid themselves this year on the 4th of July.

Devouring Stars is a sci-fi, real-time strategy game which means you’re probably thinking it runs along the lines of StarCraft. Well, purge your neocortex because Devouring Stars is nothing like StarCraft. In fact, it’s not like any RTS that I’ve ever seen. It’s been available for PC/Mac since July, and is making its way to iOS on December 10.

Devouring Stars puts you in the shoes of tribe of aliens who are each as large as an entire galaxy and are being hunted across the universe by four similar tribes. Unlike other RTS games, there are no buildings or tech trees in Devouring Stars. Instead, your entities merge into each other, creating different beings each with unique abilities and powers. Along the way you’ll devour star fields, create nebulae, deal with black holes and do a whole bunch of things on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s bucket list.

The game has a lengthy single player campaign as well as randomly generated scenarios for unlimited replayability. Releasing on Dec. 10, it will be available for iOS Universal with no word on how much it will cost us.

If, like me, you’re reading this and it makes little sense, head past the break and watch the trailer.

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And this blade you cannot change: Warhammer 40K: Freeblade releasing today

Say hello to my little friend.

Say hello to my little friend.

If you watched this September’s Apple event, I’m sorry. I mean, from a  gaming standpoint, the highlight was watching dudes play Crossy Road on a TV. BORING. Wait, what’s that? Oh, that’s right. There was footage of another game, Warhammer 40K: Freeblade. Freeblade is a third-person shooter that puts you inside a hulking mech–or in Warhammer-ese, an Imperial Knight–and lets you blow stuff up. Seriously, you can blow everything right the hell up.

When talking about Freeblade the elephant in the room are the graphics. Seriously, this game looks incredible. Of course, all the screens we’re seeing are coming from the latest and fastest that Apple can produce. How will this look on an iPad Air vs. iPad Air 2? Will it even work on an iPad 4 or iPhone 5s? No idea, but if you have an iPhone 6S or an iPad Pro, the graphics are seriously stunning.

As for gameplay, it’s a point and tap shooter which is normally a snoozefest, but Freeblade is promising more than 40 missions in a single player campaign as well as dynamically created patrol missions. Throughout the game you’ll find loot to customize your mech Imperial Knight as well, making each play through a different experience.

Warhammer 40K: Freeblade will be available for iOS Universal and will be free to play. From what we’ve been told, the IAP in the game will be for purchasing cosmetic upgrades for your Imperial Knight. We’ll see if that’s the case.

After the break, watch the trailer for Warhammer 40: Freeblade. It’s pretty amazing that something like that is on a device in your pocket.

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Templar nights: Trese Brothers bringing Templar Battleforce to mobile

Are you kidding me?

I should have all these unlocked by sometime in 2018.

I can’t think of many games that cause Owen to wax rhapsodic nearly three years after being released, and the first one that comes to mind is the Trese Brothers‘ spacefaring game, Star Traders RPG. Since then, their track record on iOS has been a bit sketchy, but knowing that they’re capable of brilliance like Star Traders keeps us on the lookout for new output from the studio. Their latest is called Templar Battleforce and, if the Steam reviews are anything to go by, we’ve found their next masterpiece.

Templar Battleforce looks a bit like a top-down version of XCOM or Space Hulk, in which you build and control a squad of soldiers looking to take out an alien threat. Unlike those games, however, the amount of customization you can give to your troops is staggering. Simply look at that tech tree at the top of this post. That’s insanity. There’s a massive single-player campaign stretching over 45 scenarios and, like XCOM, your soldiers will gain experience and improve as you progress in the story.

Templar Battleforce is coming to iOS and Android on October 27th for $7. That’s a sale price that will only last until November 10. After that, it jumps up to $10. The app’s interface has been completely reworked for the touchscreen interface, so there shouldn’t be any of those pesky PC-port control problems.

Check out the trailer after the break. Lots of gameplay to be seen if you can make it past the initial voiceover stuff.

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Be the last one to lose: Sigma Theory’s debut trailer

Spies just love the Greek alphabet.

Spies just love the Greek alphabet.

Out There creators Mi-Clos have pulled the curtain back just a little farther on Sigma Theory, the near-future espionage game whose existence they revealed back in February. The details were sparse then; just some intimations about intrigue and moral ambiguity, but just being the follow-up to one of our favourite games of 2014 was enough to get Sigma Theory on my personal most-wanted list.

Today we learn more about Sigma Theory: it’s a turn-based strategy game where the player is the head of an intelligence agency, recruiting spooks and sending them out into the field to fight a sub-rosa war against your rivals. There’s a bunch of screenshots and a trailer after the jump.

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