Dammit Jim, I’m a Star Trek clone not a bricklayer!
Thrusting you straight into the Captain’s chair, Archangel provides an interesting take on a beloved franchise without ever actually claiming to be a Star Trek game. Of course, there is the conspicuously “Enterprisean” design of the ship, the use of Phasers and a Scottish engineer.
Archangel is structured as a mission based tactical space shooter. Players manage various repair options and toggle shields to keep the ship alive and well, but the tactical options essentially end there. At the beginning of a new game, the player is given a mission which will undoubtedly aid the Commonwealth (substitution for the Federation) by protecting a Starbase or outpost from one of the 50 enemies roaming about. The warp drive is put to good use, and one of the more interesting parts of the game is deciding which sector to protect as they must be warped to.
Controlling the ship is as easy as tapping the portion of the screen which you wish to move to, but problems arise due to the ship’s incredibly large turning radius. While I understand that the Enterprise ship can not simply turn on a dime, the slow turns make fighting enemies a pain. Visibility is also an issue, because while one can zoom relatively far out with sensors the majority of combat and exploration is done from a close up view that makes enemies and outposts even more of a pain to locate. Sadly, fighting enemies is the point of the game. You see where I am going with this?
Archangel is not a terrible game, in fact I imagine that many will enjoy tinkering about with it. Playing it for more than half an hour seems like a stretch, and this is not simply because of the sluggish controls. The game as a whole is a bit too simplistic, and without an engaging story I cannot see the mechanics driving too many to play for great lengths of time. Top that off with the fact that every thematic element of Archangel is aped from Star Trek, and you are left with a pretty unremarkable effort.
While Archangel is certainly steeped in nostalgia, the core mechanics do not live up to the greatness of the source of said nostalgia. On the bright side one can buy Archangel for only 99 cents on the App store. Ultimately, the game is worth the dollar for Star Trek fans such as myself, but I find it hard to recommend based purely on its gameplay merits.
The game is a bit sluggish to load and navigate, at one point I encountered a strange bug that caused the game to go straight from a menu in to my complete works of Shakespeare app. Actual in game graphics are run of the mill.
Catchy music and plenty of voice acting.
In-game menu navigation works well enough, but the actual dogfights are both slow and uninspiring.
After playing quite a bit of the game, I get the distinct feeling that it was mostly a novelty.
Star Trek fans will likely appreciate the game for its homage to Trek, but killing enemy after enemy in dull dogfights can bore even the most devout Trekkie.