iThing of the Week: Star Trek Rivals and Fast & Furious 6: The Game

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Two of this summer’s biggest films are Star Trek Into Darkness and Fast & Furious 6. Coinciding with the release of these two films are two games for the iPhone and iPad. Both games are free with plenty of opportunities for in-game purchases and have little to offer in terms of enhancing their cinematic counterparts or in gameplay.

Star Trek Rivals, by Elephant Mouse, is a digital card game. Each card has points on each side. Two players place their cards on a nine-square grid with the goal of capturing each other’s cards. The right move will set off a chain reaction, letting you capture multiple cards and win. You can play against your friends or a random match. You can play multiple matches at a time. For a measly sum of 5 gold-pressed latinum, you can reveal your rival’s cards, if you like playing that way. To get more cards you have to buy them. You can sell cards you start with, or you can play for a long time, leveling up and earning credits and latinum, or you can just use your money to buy Federation credits and gold-pressed latinum. There’s no story. The game is just collecting cards and playing matches. You can’t interact with your opponent beyond the match, and you can’t forfeit a game.

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Fast & Furious 6: The Game, by Kabam, has a story—you’re a new, up-and-coming driver who wants to be a part of Dom’s crew. The cast make appearances in the form of pictures; there is no voice acting. Tej runs the garage where you can buy new cars and upgrades. Roman gives you tasks to accomplish in order to move up the ranks. In order to meet Roman’s requirements, you need better cars and upgrades, so you have to take part in various activities like drift challenges and drag ladders. This wouldn’t be so tedious if the controls were better. The mechanics are pushing buttons and swiping the screen when prompted, but the timing is off. If you actually do the action when prompted, you’re too late, and you get penalized. You have to learn to do the action just before you’re prompted in order to win races and get bonuses. By relying on button presses and swipes, the game is a bit dull. The sensation of racing is not present. Since you run out of fuel, you’re limited to playing the game in very short bursts, so it can take a lot of time to advance unless you’re willing to spend your money on gold, the in-game currency.

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While both games are free, to advance in the games you need to succumb to micro-transactions unless you want to spend a lot of your time. Perhaps the micro-transactions would be worthwhile if the games had substance, but they don’t. Star Trek Rivals is a digital card game that doesn’t reflect any Star Trek values or connect to any Star Trek story. Fast & Furious 6: The Game has nice cars, but the game’s mechanics don’t invoke the sensation of driving. Both games are dull, so skip them and play something else.



Avatar ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michelle Ealey has been a geek for as long as she can remember. She enjoys sci-fi, fantasy, and horror films, TV and books, and she plays a lot of video games. Michelle writes about geeky things and is a co-host on the Starling Tribune Podcast. You can follow her on Twitter, @michelleealey.

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