There are a number of fantasy and sci-fi worlds that have been created over the years, each with their own mythology and following. But without question, the Star Trek universe is one of the most massive from that long list. Spanning multiple worlds with a deep culture in both mythology and fandom that’s seldom outdone, Star Trek has inspired six television series, twelve films with a thirteenth on the way, and a near countless number of books, comics and games in multiple mediums. Bringing the entire universe together, Star Trek Timelines is basically the ultimate mashup for any fans of the franchise, be it all or in any part. You can take your ship, and man it with any crew from the Star Trek universe. Each character can be assigned to different jobs like Ops (we found that Bones was just atrocious at ops). Characters assigned (not to mention the ship, the ship’s kind of important) determine what kind of skills are at your disposal as well as learning new things and what kind of bonuses are available for your crew.
My first mission was dealing with Regent Worf from the mirror universe. Assembling your crew you’ll find that everyone has different sets of skills and abilities. Sisko, for example has high points in diplomacy and command (as well as a bonus trait for Bajoran reputation), like a captain would, but Worf of course had high points in security. Janeway was originally a science officer so she has a high science skill along with command. So putting your mission crew together, you amass a number of skills and bonuses that will help you solve missions in different ways. Each mission is a choose your own adventure style story, where there are multiple paths to successfully finishing. Depending on what skills and traits your crew has, your team will traverse through a different path to the end – one success or failure opens additional nodes that you can choose based on what skills you have at your disposal.
Because let’s face it – in a jam, Worf would look for a weaponized strike while Picard may soothe his adversary with that brilliant speech of his and bring them around to his side. Both of them are solutions to the same problem. And as such, in this game they would have different skillsets and open up different paths.
Outside of the choose your own adventure style gameplay, Disruptor Beam made made sure the game looks really good. The ships can be admired at all angles with a flick of the finger on screen all around, and from what I’ve seen so far (A Bird of Prey and I believe an Enterprise D) the ship designs look great. On top of that was the pure mashup fun. I’m pretty sure at one point I had Locutus, Archer and Sisko together on a mission team – something we’d never see in any of the shows or movies. So all of your “what if…” scenarios? Play them all out in Star Trek Timelines.
(Just watch out for the purists who I’m sure will slam your crossovers on the web)
Platform: iOS, Android, Web browsers
Release Date: later this year
When you look at a lot of combat games, there’s a crazy number of skills involved. Maybe there’s a tech tree and maybe you have to respec your entire skillset for a particular battle. Jotun counters all of that with some honest-to-goodness, hit-em-with-an-axe Norse badassery.
You play as Thora, a Norse warrior that has unceremoniously died an inglorious death. For most people that sounds like a peaceful way to go, but in Norse mythology, that kind of thing would keep one out of Valhalla, a hardcore form of heaven where spirits of dead warriors can feast all day and more importantly fight to their heart’s content. Now Thora has one mission – to prove to the Gods that she is worthy of Valhalla. And how do you do that? By killing frost giants like a boss (by the way, that tiny speck there next to the giant? That’s Thora).
… I know, right?
Jotun starts Thora off immediately waking up a frost giant for mortal combat with three moves – a roll, an axe strike combo, and a charged axe swing. And that’s it. Dodging and counterattacking your enemy as he goes after you with all sorts of ice attacks when you’re about 1/100th the size of him is … well I’ll say it, hard. There’s no button mashing here. You have to be patient, see openings, and time things to win against these big guys. That kind of fight that requires some thought is a refreshing change of pace to a lot of the button mashers we see out there. These fights are like poker games, watching for the giants’ telegraphs and tells and acting accordingly with some speed. It’s exciting, as one misstep can cost you a sizeable chunk of your life bar – not to mention as giants lose more health the field of battle becomes more treacherous. On my first try I got the giant down to under half health before succumbing to a ridiculous ice-based slaughter, and in my shock was actually told that I did better than a lot of people that tried the game. Awesome.
In between the badass fights are environmental puzzles that Thora must navigate and get through, which serve as a lighter less intense experience and contrast pretty sharply with the combat. There’s a good balance between the two.
The fun play style is made even more so by the fantastic character design and hand-drawn art, which tie the whole thing together for me. Jotun was incredibly fun (and mildly addictive) to play, and I can’t wait to play more and see some more of what Thora can do. It’s like Shadow of the Colossus put on a Viking helmet, went hand drawn, top down, and added a lot of fun factor. Take a look at the announcement trailer below with some more footage and commentary by creator William Dubé:
Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
Release Date: Fall 2015 on Steam