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Space Trek Review; Browser Based Micro-Management
Space Trek: The New Empire is a browser MMO based around the ideas and lore of the Star Trek universe, although they won’t tell you that, you’ll figure it out easy enough. When playing, it soon devolves into a series of micro-management tasks and the constant societal scarcity model is prevalent in the early stages of the gameplay. If the recently released Star Trek Online is out of either your processor or earnings grasp, then this is an easy alternative for avid Trek fans wanting to enjoy the idea of exploration and boldly going across the galaxy.
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Setting of Space Trek
Space Trek is set upon a huge galaxy map consisting of thousands upon thousands of planets, anomalies and space stations. You are afforded the position of coloniser to a tutorial planet in the opening. Leading you through the micro-management of colonists, to upholding energy reserves and plotting buildings on the tile-based surface of your first home.
Planet resources management becomes the goal until you conquer the tutorial or protected area of the game after you reach level 6, thereafter entering the galaxy and plying your trade, bargaining and antagonistic skills with other game players.
It never gets boring if you’re interested in moving on to pastures new, as the game lets you begin to colonise other planets and open a network of interlinking places to further flesh out, build upon, micro-manage and further explore.
Giving such a brevity that you’ll be whiling many hours away clicking between mining ships and probes, the game does a good job of making sure you have something to accomplish or replenish as the case often may be.
Coming with a deceptive payment structure that is tucked away in a deeply set menu and begins to unfurl a simplistic and perhaps menacing scheme for players with some throwaway income to waste. Offering things like extra credits and faster load times (which seems mostly pointless) to entice perhaps naive newcomers. Fortunately it doesn’t crop up in game space and won’t hamper your experience for not upgrading or paying for some of the “extra" features.
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Aesthetics of Space Trek: The New Empire
Graphics certainly take a back seat to the exploration and management simulation aspects of Space Trek, with players focused more on the imagination and roleplaying as opposed to the more aesthetic principals of some recent browser MMO’s. This allows a more focused and polished look, with a default star gazer background and context derived buttons and borders.
The MMO specific chat bar is at the bottom of the page and isn’t hard to use, also the number of players talking won’t become clustered or hilariously over-saturated like some larger MMO’s, especially in area specific chat rooms etc.
There is no sound and while some small transporter or phaser midi’s would have been appreciated, the lack of sound doesn’t hamper the overall experience, even if a nice ode to Star Trek in the sound department would have been fun.
For a browser MMO however, it isn’t necessary and there is no requirement for superfluous fan service for a game only replicating the pantheon, in an appreciable manner I may add.
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Gameplay of Space Trek: The New Empire
As previously mentioned, the game revolves around micro-management of colonies and ships, mainly done through constructing the right buildings on a tile-based planet’s surface, and knowing when and when not to use energy, collect ore or deuterium and how to manage the colonists themselves.
Often moving between several screens over and over to survey both the ships energy levels and the colonies ability to self-sustain itself may grow tiresome to some, but the wanton requirement for other players interaction and self-roleplaying within the monstrously large galaxy created, negates this gamut of click’s, second guessing and stratagem.
Fortunately, in order to accustom the player to the methods of the game, Space Trek offers a tutorial of sorts for low level players. In this, you learn the basics of colonising and building on the planet while figuring out how to maintain ships.
While levelling will take some time, due to resource points which have to be accumulated, when the barrier of level 6 is reached, the galaxy is open to your exploration.
This choice of an easy going tutorial section serves as a good breaking off point when completed, as the game centres around exploration, mining, interaction and often commerce (or war depending on how you’re playing Space Trek).
You truly feel like an explorer in the vain of Jean-Luc Picard and it is exciting to find yourself naming a newly colonised planet that you’ve travelled to, albeit probably expending all your ships energy and leaving it stranded there because you didn’t give it enough for a return trip!
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Overall Rating for Space Trek
Space Trek: The New Empire is a pretty decent jaunt for any relative fan of the television episodes Star Trek or the recent Star Trek MMO, it does a better job of capturing the explorer essence of the TV series as opposed to Cryptic’s game.
Also of note is the heavy emphasis on micro-management and colony management aspects of its simulation influenced game elements.
If you want to step into browser MMO games, Space Trek shouldn’t be close to your agenda or near the top of your list, but that’s not to say stay totally clear of it.
It has enough of an opening explanation and tutorial section to get new players involved and can turn up quite a few nice surprises once the game really perks up when you begin to venture out into the universe and colonise your own worlds.