To be frank, Star Trek: Timelines was not a game on the top of my mind when it came to trying out upcoming games at PAX Prime 2015. The focus on mobile platforms, lack of current Star Trek content in the media marketplace and relatively sparse history of Disruptor Beam as a studio (they’re also the developer of Game of Thrones Ascent) didn’t stand out on an exposition floor that constantly threatens with sensory overload.
A chance moment where I glanced at an in-progress demo session that featured the Deep Space Nine space station being panned around inspired me to hop in line, and…it’s actually pretty engaging. The game is built around the premises of a Crisis on Infinite Earth-esque mega event that collapses multiple timelines and alternate universes into a unified world with disparate elements from each source universe, creating a result that encourages fantasy booking of cooperation and conflicts between iconic Star Trek characters from multiple settings. Timelines navigates these combined story scenarios with a combination of squad composition, role assignment and branching narrative paths in which various stats are combined to create a catch-all stat and dice roll decision resolution. It feels a lot like a visual representation of a BioWare narrative decision tree, with the real time combat and traversal sequences taken out.
The game bears a strong resemblance to WWE SuperCard in its stat progression and conflict resolution system but with a narrative investment that feels more substantial if not particularly memorable. I want to spend more time with fantastical crew creations across multiple shows and explore some of the rare new fiction created in the classic Trek universe. Star Trek: Timelines isn’t mind blowing in scope, but science fiction fans may enjoy a fix of something old with something new when it comes out.