When I started playing “Star Trek Timelines” earlier this week, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the free mobile game by Framingham-based Disruptor Beam could very well be the ultimate “Star Trek” remix. The game—which comes out today for Android, iPhone and iPad—takes characters, storylines and more from all of the “Star Trek” TV shows and movies that came out between 1966 and 2002, and mashes them together in an addicting series of challenges that combines strategy and role-playing game elements.
The game feels like a remix because you can form a team that includes characters like Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Spock and Seven of Nine—all from different “Star Trek” shows, mind you—which makes it a great way to celebrate the sci-fi franchise’s 50th anniversary this year. From there, you can embark on storylines that span ground missions, starship battles and more. In one scenario I played, my team had to rescue Worf’s son from the Augments, a group of genetically engineered humans that counts the famous villain Khan among them. After rescuing him, the son ended up not being too thankful for my team’s efforts.
In a way, the storylines I played play felt like mini “Star Trek” episodes, which made it more engaging than the typical mobile games I have played in the past. Though I play video games quite often, I haven’t played mobile games nearly as much as I used to a few years ago, in part because I wasn’t feeling finding enough of them that were deeper than flinging birds into a pile of pig-blobs. I have also been ignoring the rising popularity of mobile strategy games like “Clash of Clans.” But when I played “Timelines,” I felt like it had the right mix of familiar pop culture, strategy and RPG material to keep me more invested.
In fact, when Disruptor Beam was ending my preview session for the game, I found myself disappointed that I didn’t have more time to play. My last moments of playing the game were actually while I was laying in bed before falling asleep, which is a pretty good sign that Disruptor Beam is getting something right.
Besides giving me the opportunity to play a remix of old and new “Star Trek” storylines, I also enjoyed the way the game was broken up between 3D starship battles and ground missions that felt more akin to old-school text adventures, where you’re sometimes given different ways to approach a particular scenario and then have to decide which crew member is best fit for the job depending on their skill set. And like any good RPG, there’s a leveling system that lets you improve the abilities of you and your crew.
Last, while the game is free, there is an option to spend real cash on various items in the game, though it’s not necessary to make meaningful progress or have fun.
“Timelines” comes out a little less than three years after Disruptor Beam’s first game, “Game of Thrones Ascent,” which the developer said has grown to more than 12 million players. While it could be argued that “Game of Thrones” is a hotter franchise than “Star Trek” at this point, it’s hard not to see the game finding traction with fans old and new. The fact that it has me hooked should say something.