Unless you've spent the last few months in a coma you'll know that there's a shiny new Star Trek film out and it's rather good, in fact all the cool kids are talking about it. So as with all great traditions there's a collection of seemingly random games being flung out the developers door to get the words “Star” and “Trek” stamped on them with the new recognisable font before being dropped somewhere that the now Trek-psyched masses can grab it with ease to help stave off the lusting for a sequel or blu-ray release.
And so I find myself playing Star Trek: D·A·C from Naked Sky Entertainment downloaded freshly from Xbox Live with that odd feeling that while that's certainly the USS Enterprise on the screen and I'm clearly fighting Romulans with the familiar logos and sexy new music from the new films playing as I blast the living hell out of my enemies in order to capture territory that there's something not quite right about what's going on here.
And that's where the glaring problem with Star Trek: D·A·C comes fully and without question, it's not even the remotest bit Star Trek in the least. It's got no relation to the film or the franchise in any way what-so-ever and was put out just to make a little extra cash because the creators didn't think it would do well without it. (Or at least not as well)
And this is a shame because what we have here is a very simple and pretty game that's clearly been made by some people with talent and they've had the cynical marketing machine put the name of a big franchise onto it and I'm not sure it helps the game itself at all and I know it doesn't help the Star Trek film harvest any more punters.
Now with my initial rant out of the way let's talk about the game itself, what we have here is a tactical battle simulator thingy that in itself is allot of fun to play. The basis is you pick one of three ships, one a large cruiser that's somewhat slow but has a controllable cannon that you can blast poor suckers in the face with, a small fighter thing that's fast but doesn't take much whollop or a bomber that has the interesting trait of only being able to drop any kind of fire-power from it's behind. There's your standard modes of death match where you have to kill “x-number” of opponents before you're granted a win, assault where you have to capture big round circles in space (by just sitting in them of all things) in a particular order and then the other team has to do the same but quicker and we have the domination style where you have to capture all the nodes on the map at once in order to win the match.
It's all top down and the graphics are done extremely well with backgrounds and ships themselves all looking very pretty and the game has an un-doubtable “Pick up 'n' play” feel to it where you and some friends can sit down and bash for a few mins before going out to what is doubtlessly a banging party with lots of fly honeyz or perhaps a Klingon poetry reading.
Mechanically this game is very solid, the ships handle in a very satisfactory manner the shooting is fun and really the game is worth the time for the fan of the classic top down shooter with some either co-op with friends against the AI or each other. A slight design fault that I noticed is that the capital ships have a separate cursor for targeting (Unlike the other ships that just fire from the front or drop bombs out the back) and while after a time this becomes easy to master the targeting graphic can get lost in the pretty flashes of space combat and you can be left without a clue of where you're shooting.
That being said there's not allot to Star Trek: D·A·C, it's fun and simple and the ships in it are nicely rendered, but overall there's not that much going on here other then a top down shooter. Competent at what it does but can't escape the feeling it could have been so much more with extra modes of play and maybe it's own unique look.