I don’t mind saying I’m a casual gamer. In fact, I just did a few weeks ago when I reviewed High School Story. When I browse through Star Trek games, a description listing “explore new worlds, fight battles, assign officers, build your own ship,” and all that can actually put me off. I still want to play those games, but they sound like work when I want relaxation, or a huge time commitment that I can’t make on a daily basis. So, when I found Trexels, I knew I wanted to give it a try — It’s basically a Star Trek version of simple sim/building games like High School Story or Farmville, made by YesGnome LLC.
The game is very clear and guided at the beginning, and you mostly choose from options rather than completely designing from scratch, but there’s some flexibility in your assignment of officers and order of missions. (Plus it’s a mobile game, so of course it’s designed to be relatively simple, easy to pick up and put down). Your time is split between constructing rooms in your ship, which give you resources and abilities, and going on exploratory missions. There’s a pretty interesting game mechanic where battles, negotiations, and scientific studies all involve quickly tapping on glowing cubes randomly strewn across the screen in order to power up your weapon/diplomacy/research. It gets more complicated as the game goes on and you accumulate more abilities, although the mechanic stays the same.(And I should mention there’s an option to battle other gamers’ starships, but I don’t play that much because I’m not good at it.)
Those quests/missions are my favorite part, because they most closely resemble Star Trek episodes, and I love the way they incorporate original series sound effects and incidental music (plus occasionally the voice of George Takei). The interface has a colorful Next Generation feel to it, though. The whole game is an odd but fun conglomeration of all the shows, beginning with TOS-style characters and slowly incorporating those from later eras, including your own choices and VIP characters from the shows. The characters show a variety of Star Trek races and human skin tones, and “dating” isn’t a concern, so I’m satisfied with the diversity available.
As the game progresses it takes a lot of grinding for resources between missions, so that’s my least favorite part, but it’s certainly doable without spending real money. There are also too many screens for each activity, specifically reward screens showing how many resources you just got that seem to take forever. And despite the general guided quality early in the game, I would have liked a little more instruction on how to use officers. You need a bridge crew, but then you also have a list of unassigned officers you can send on away missions, and each officer has their own advantages and disadvantages plus skill points.
I definitely wish I could get resources more quickly and do more missions, but on the whole, I’ve very much enjoyed Trexels and the style of directed gameplay it offers. It’d be a great choice for anyone wanting a casual Star Trek game. I think it’s whetted my appetite for the more advanced Trek games though, so leave any title recommendations in the comments!