Star Trek Legends Is A Fun Time, Not An Annoying Grind

Star Trek Legends Is A Fun Time, Not An Annoying Grind
Screenshot: CBS / Paramount / Kotaku
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Star Trek Legends, recently released on Apple Arcade, plays a lot like Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, Disney’s Sorcerer’s Arena, DC Legends and countless other turn-based mobile RPGs. But without any energy meters or annoying microtransactions. As a result, it feels like a game and not a treadmill designed to ferry you to a store.

Star Trek Legends involves a large cast of characters, both good and bad, from various Star Trek shows. How are they all hanging out and fighting each other? The Nexus, that big energy ribbon thing from Generations, is back and Starfleet has a special new ship designed to enter it. It’s a bit of flimsy, hand-wavey way to set up the game’s narrative, but it works.

And once you are in the Nexus, interacting with other characters, the game takes great advantage of this setup. If you like Star Trek, which you probably do if you are reading this far into this post, there are tons of jokes and references that will make you go “Oh yeah…I know that.” None of the stories in Legends are masterpieces, but they tend to have some nicely written bits of dialogue with characters interacting with each other in fun and authentic ways.

Screenshot: CBS / Paramount / Kotaku Screenshot: CBS / Paramount / Kotaku

The gameplay is fairly bog standard for this type of game. You have a small team of characters, each with their own abilities and skills. You take that team into missions, which are made up of combat segments, short cutscenes and even some moments where you have to decide what to do next. Combat is again, nothing incredibly fresh or new, but it works. You attack enemies, taking turns back and forth until one team is left standing. Thankfully, you can speed up the animations during combat. They look nice, but eventually I’m just wanting to kill the baddies and move on.

One Year Later, Apple Arcade Is Still A Great Deal

On September 19, 2019, Apple launched Apple Arcade, an $US8 ($11)-a-month subscription service dedicated to bringing top-tier, bullshit-free mobile games to iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV. One year later the service has more than 130 mostly great games with more arriving on a semi-weekly basis, and I’ve never once considered cancelling.

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What really elevates Star Trek Legends, the reason I’m writing up this blog, is because the entire game is free from MTX or paid currencies. There is no way to spend money in this game. There are also no ads. This is standard for Apple Arcade releases, but it truly makes this type of game so much more fun to play. I still play Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, but each month it feels like some new thing has been added that is designed to make me grind of months or pony up a bunch of cash. And with energy meters, it quickly becomes hard to actually play the game unless you pay money. Or wait.

In Legends, however, you can just…play the game. Unlocking characters is fun, not a expensive chore. Completeing missions is exciting, not a grind.

Screenshot: CBS / Paramount / Kotaku Screenshot: CBS / Paramount / Kotaku

I can’t explain enough how weird it is, after years of playing these kind of mobile RPGs, to just be free to play it as much as I want. It’s nice. Plus the game is a lovely looking celebration of Star Trek, both old and new. It’s a game built specifically for me. It makes me happy.

Yes, I know. It’s on Apple Arcade. And yes, I know that means you or some folks you know can’t play it. Which sucks! I think Star Trek Legends is good enough that I’d love to see it warp over to other platforms. But only if it keeps out the mobile RPG bullshit.

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