It’s an odd occasion whenever we find a movie or TV-based game that faithfully sticks to its source material. Many of these titles, especially when it comes to mobile games, take many creative liberties with the story to fit their gameplay elements. However, Star Trek Timelines not only hit the nail on the head, but it also knocked the ball out of the park with its mission format and presentation.
While these tasks and assignments feature quite a bit of action, specifically of the starship battle kind, they always present resolutions based on the narrative. And not only that; while the missions are heavily inspired by episodes in the Star Trek TV franchise, they are also dynamic and vary according to your actions in the game. For instance, if you choose a combat approach, the narrative will shift to reflect this. Meanwhile, if you choose diplomacy and talk your way through the mission, then the narrative will reflect this as well.
It’s these very dynamics that make us feel that playing Star Trek Timelines is more like reading a book or watching an episode of the series than enjoying a game, which is something not many games get right. Heck, even big-budget PC games manage to screw this up most of the time; it’s impressive to see a mobile game actually do things right and present a compelling narrative without sacrificing the gameplay.
In this guide, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about the missions and combat in Star Trek Timelines. So set your phasers to stun, and man your battle stations, we’re going in!
We’ll start off with the weakest element, in our opinion, that Star Trek Timelines has to offer. While the concept of starship battles is certainly a fascinating one, especially for sci-fi enthusiasts like us, they’re sadly the worst that this game has to offer.
Starship battles are very simple and straightforward. They consist of your ship facing off against the enemy vessel in a 1v1 battle to the death. Most of the combat is automatic, as your ship fires its weapons and torpedoes at the enemy without instructions. The only input that you have here is your commander skills and when to use them. You can click on the portraits of your crew members to activate their special skills and grant your ship a stat bonus for a limited time.
However, while starship battles are mostly simple and automatic, they hide an important element of strategy, which is battle preparation and ship stats. In other words, if you can’t control most of what your ship does in battle, you’ll need to shift the odds in your favor by gearing it with the best crew members and upgrading its stats as much as you can.
In order to upgrade your ship, you’ll first need to acquire the corresponding schematics, which you can farm in several places. For instance, by using the time portals, you can sometimes get packs of 15 schematics for a random starship. Similarly, by completing certain story missions, you’ll also receive bonus schematics. But most importantly, the daily rewards can give hundreds of schematics for any of your ships, making them the most reliable source of these materials in the game.
Despite the monotonous and automatic design of the space battles, the narrative once again saves the day as these conflicts never get old or gratuitous. In Star Trek Timelines, you’ll never fight a battle that wasn’t warranted by the story. With the exception of the Arena, where players engage in PvP, all space battles are supported by the story and fit naturally in the narrative, making them feel right at home. You’ll probably be so invested in the story, that you won’t even mind the battles and will only want to keep going to see how the events unfold.
With that being said, the most important part of this game is definitely the ground missions.
Ground Missions and Expeditions
If the starship battles are somewhat boring but are worth it for the story, then the ground missions are excellent since they’re 100% story-driven. In Star Trek Timelines, you won’t find action more intense than what you saw with the starship battles, which isn’t very much. However, the story missions, while also very slow and mostly text-based, are definitely what make this game stand out among the rest.
In most missions, you’ll have to beam down to a planet or other location to defuse the conflicts from within. This means that you’ll have to send out a ground team to investigate, intervene, and resolve the issues before they escalate. As we mentioned in our guide about the characters and ships in Timelines, the outcome of every ground mission is highly-influenced by the team you send out, as there is more than one way to resolve the situation.
Every character has their own setsof stats and traits, and every mission will have different requirements based on the events transpiring. However, while there’s always an obvious route to take depending on the task, there are also many alternative paths to choose when defusing a situation. For instance, you could choose to send out a team to stop a war by destroying one of the factions involved, or you could send a diplomat to negotiate a peace treaty, if the situation allows. And the best part is that, regardless of which path you choose, your decision reflects on the narrative.
There are six attributes in Star Trek Timeline: Security, Leadership, Diplomacy, Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Every mission requires a minimum of some of these skills, so you’ll need to factor in these requirements before choosing the right team. You can send up to three crew members to face the challenges of every level. If you fail a level, you can still keep going. However, if you fail the last level, you’ll need to retry the mission.
Choosing the right crew for the task is imperative not only for the success of the expedition but also for receiving additional items. If you choose the right members, you could achieve a critical success in every level, granting you awesome rewards for your troubles. And once again, if you obtain a critical win, this will also reflect on the narrative, giving you a different story for your exploits throughout the stars.
Star Trek Timelines is a prime example of a TV show adaptation done right. It presents a unique blend of story elements and gameplay that no other title offers. Even if you don’t like the way the action goes, you’ll definitely want to stay for the story, especially if you’re a Trekkie like ourselves!