(WiiWare)

Space Trek (WiiWare)

Game Review

Space Trek Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jacob Crites

Space dreck

Calaris's last WiiWare game, WarMen Tactics, was allegedly “created to reflect the realities of urban warfare." Not only did it completely and utterly fail to accomplish its goal, it completely and utterly failed to function as a working and playable videogame. The operations guide of its latest outing, Space Trek, describes itself as having “eye-popping,” “high-res” graphics, “intuitive” controls and “humorous,” “sarcastic” dialogue. These too are lies: Space Trek not only delivers on exactly zero of its promises, but, like the atrocity that preceded it, can hardly be called a game at all. You just can't judge some things by their virtual covers.

This is an iPhone port, and it does not care who knows it. From the laughably low-res introduction to the pixelated, barebones menus, Space Trek shows little sign that the developers remastered or revamped any aspect of the experience for WiiWare.

It also shows little sign that it wants the player to grasp what the heck is going on. The only details of the story, controls and mission types can be found in the operations guide, meaning that even if the player somehow manages to sort their way through the tiny amount of customisation options to find the story mode, they will have an exceedingly difficult time in figuring out just what exactly the story is and how to play through it.

The narrative is essentially this: the player takes control of Jay, a sassy, blue-haired space ranger who's on a mission to save the “survivors." Jay, with all his wit and forward-thinking, apparently doesn't feel the need to know exactly what these survivors have... well, survived, nor does he even need to know what planet they're on (which the game simply refers to as “the planet you're on”). He's just that kind of guy. The one thing he does know is that the planet he's on is now infested with Knagars — yes, they're actually called Knagars — described in-game as green, self-important bullies. Aren't they all?

All of this, however, is rather inconsequential. Some of the best games ever created have had perfectly horrid stories, after all. The most pressing issue, therefore, is: how does it play?

The answer, to put it lightly, is not terribly well. Since the game apparently doesn't find it necessary to explain the controls with a helpful tutorial (or even an informative loading screen), the player will need to take yet another trip down Operations Guide Lane to figure them out. Tilting the Wii Remote left and right manoeuvres the ship accordingly while the 2 and 1 buttons accelerate and brake. Pressing B and A select and fire your weapon, and the control pad moves the camera around, but its use seems limited to disorienting the player further.

Space Trek's flight-based gameplay recalls memories of StarFox 64, but its structure is much more similar to a lesser known Nintendo 64 game called Chopper Attack. This is not a particularly good thing. In the search-and-rescue missions, the player controls Jay's ship around a fairly open environment with the hopes of rescuing these “survivors” that we keep hearing about, while at the same time blasting Knagars. This, however, is sort of like controlling a Formula One race car with the capability of flight: not only are the tilt controls outrageously sensitive, but your ship travels at speeds so ludicrous that even a dainty tap of the 2 button causes it to break the sound barrier.

More problematic is the automatic lock-on system. Although your ship's cross-hairs are supposed to snap to the nearest enemy, they seem much more keen on doing so to random bits of the scenery that have nothing to do with your current objective. This makes the later, harder levels a big game of chance – maybe you'll lock onto and destroy the enemy, or maybe you'll lock onto a lovely bit of shrubbery while the enemy blasts you into a pixelated pulp. Who knows?

These issues become even more apparent in the second mission type. Now, like the planet you're on and the type of disaster that the survivors have survived, these mission types aren't really named, but they're essentially fast-paced search and destroy missions. Since you're constantly moving forth here and have limited control over your craft, locking onto your target with any sort of consistency is impossible. The cross-hairs jump wildly from enemy to enemy while you hopelessly attempt to eliminate them. However, Jay's ship tends to go faster than the enemies', so often he'll run through them (not into them, mind you) and die in something like a strange glitch.

Perhaps all of these tasks wouldn't be so unbearable if it weren't for the embarrassing presentation. The environments are hideously low-polygon and the enemy ships are only recognisable as such if you're within a few feet of them. It looks, to put it quite simply, as if someone stretched a so-so-looking iPhone game to fit onto a widescreen television. Which, of course, is obviously exactly what happened. The lighting (which the operations guide describes as “immersive”) is so dark and poorly textured in some areas that it's impossible to see where the player is supposed to go next. Don't be surprised if a gigantic worm comes up from the ground and eats your ship without warning because it was too dark to see it was even there. Of course, due to the game's collision issues, there's a good change the ship might run right through it without a hitch.

Somehow, all of these excruciating problems manage to cram into one single, disastrous story mode that you could complete on your lunch break. But as if surviving this gut-wrenchingly bad feature wasn't enough of an accomplishment, Calaris has thrown in Survival Mode in a paltry attempt at adding replay value. Unfortunately, this is built around the game's two biggest weaknesses – moving and aiming at things. Surviving waves of enemies isn't a test of one's skill so much as it is a test of one's patience, and seeing as you cannot share the high scores on some sort of online leaderboard, it's mostly a waste of time.

Conclusion

Even if the controls worked, even if the graphics weren't insultingly poor, even if the voice acting wasn't painful and even if the enemies weren't called Knagars, Space Trek would still be a mediocre game unworthy of your precious Wii Points. As it is, Space Trek is the sort of garbage that you should drop the controller and run away from. It's a slap in the face to Wii gamers, and further proof that we need more quality control on the WiiWare service.

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User Comments (71)

RogueBologna

#3

RogueBologna said:

I'm getting frustrated with WiiWare. Why do developers think they can just throw a bunch of junk together or port a game with no adjustments for the wii and make people pay for it?

FonistofCruxis

#4

FonistofCruxis said:

It was a fun read but the game looks crap. Good job on your first review Kid_A. Terra has been lucky because he hasn't had to review a crappy game for his first review like other nl reviewers have.:D

accc

#6

accc said:

The description on the Nintendo press release actually made this sound somewhat interesting but I immediately lost all interest when I found out it was an iphone port.

Oregano

#9

Oregano said:

You were right, it was more fun reading the review than playing the game.*

*not actually played the game, don't intend to either.

Omega

#10

Omega said:

Huh? Judging from the game's trailer, it looks not so bad to me.
Watch Trailer
It's not that I'm interested in StarFox 64 or Star Wars Rogue Leader and such but if I were I would probably have bought it.

This proves that it is better to wait for some reviews and see what they have to say.

Kid_A

#11

Kid_A said:

@Omega
Trust me, the game is bad. Even shrunk down on my iPhone the graphics look like N64 quality--imagine it blown up to fit on a widescreen tv. Plus, that opening cinematic shown in the trailer is stretched and heavily compressed in the game. And they clearly slowed down the actual gameplay for the purposes of that trailer--the ship does not move that slow. Who knew my first review would also be my first 1/10?

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#14

Philip_J_Reed said:

"Who knew my first review would also be my first 1/10?"

Me. I'm wise to Dazza's methods by now.

YoshiSage

#15

YoshiSage said:

Untitled

Insert some pointless tirade about the WiiWare's influx of shovelware here. Are developers even trying anymore?

ArmoredGoomba

#17

ArmoredGoomba said:

Apparently this developer has been around since 1993? And they're Polish? So that makes 2 1/10 games. What an failure.

Omega

#18

Omega said:

The one good thing: If there are no bad games then there's nothing to compare the good ones with. :-)

sykotek

#21

sykotek said:

Wow, I'm glad I waited on purchasing this. I originally saw the trailer and thought, "eh, it looks kinda fun." I'm almost never wrong when it comes to buying things that appeal to my personal tastes, but I'd never have been off by this big of a degree. Thanks for saving me money on a terrible purchase.

YoshiSage

#22

YoshiSage said:

Kid_A's first review also saved someone's money. That's quite an accomplishment on your part. :D

accc

#23

accc said:

Just read the review... "Knagars"? WTF were they thinking?!?!?!

YoshiSage

#24

YoshiSage said:

@accc: They weren't thinking anything. It takes a really poor excuse of an original mind to think of something so stupid.

ErrorSupply

#25

ErrorSupply said:

"Knagars"... Ahem.. er... yeah, not touching that one with a ten foot pole.
Good job on the review, Kid_A. Hopefully you get a fun game to write up next time.

gaminguy

#26

gaminguy said:

nice review, but its to bad it had to be a horrible game, must have been a pain to play. :(

MakeMyBiscuit

#27

MakeMyBiscuit said:

Wow. Thanks for the review. It looks like I can save my points and try to "re-discover" some VC titles I missed.

EdEN

#28

EdEN said:

Figured this would be a low reviewed game. Still waiting on the one for Monsteca and Divergent Shift to see it they get added to my list of "games to buy once I'm done with my current digital games backlog".

RowdyRodimus

#31

RowdyRodimus said:

This has to be a joke review. I just can't believe that an iphone game with no additions to make it suitable for play on a home console can turn out this way. I mean, we have a plethora of examples showing how good they can be such as the aformentioned Warmen, the Dracula game and the Robin Hood Game. Not to mention it's on the Wii so it should get an automatic 7 just for that fact alone.

I can only assume that this reviewer is on the payroll of Sony and Microsoft to entice potential customers to buy their downloadable games instead of Nintendo's.

(I wonder if anyone will see the slight parody of fanboyism taken to the extreme?)

WolfRamHeart

#32

WolfRamHeart said:

Good work on your first review Kid_A! It was a very entertaining read. I hope the next game you review isn't another turd like this one.:D

Kid_A

#34

Kid_A said:

Thanks guys :)
I don't mind reviewing bad games at all actually--this one was so bad that it was kind of hilarious to play. Not that I'm going to be turning down reviewing games that might actually be fun :p

Kid_A

#35

Kid_A said:

And yes, MetalMario, the K in Knagars is indeed silent...still sort of shocked about the lack of forethought on that one

Punny

#36

Punny said:

Space Trek? More like Space Blek! This game is to terrible that it makes Enjoy Your Massage! and Sexy Poker look like masterpieces! At least we know that And Yet It Moves is coming up soon.

YoshiSage

#40

YoshiSage said:

@RowdyRodimus:

"Not to mention it's on the Wii so it should get an automatic 7 just for that fact alone."

That's blatant fanboyism right there. It should get a seven for the fact that it's on the Wii? Really? I wonder if you're being serious...

@mariofanatic128: I don't know, actually. I just typed "headdesk gif" on Google images, and it was there.

Gamesake

#41

Gamesake said:

If you were looking for a reason to buy Enjoy Your Massage!, I guess this is your lucky day.

Philip_J_ReedStaff

#42

Philip_J_Reed said:

"the bad ones are kinda easier to review than the good ones, really"

QFT.

Bit.Trip: Void was probably the most difficult review I had to write here. While Dragon Master Spell Caster just rolled off the ol' fingertips.

Zach

#46

Zach said:

@Bulbasaurus Rex Just think of the words that sound like it and that one might associate with it. Narrow that list down to the most offensive ones. Eh?

Dodger

#48

Dodger said:

I had guessed this would be a two. :P

I guess if they want to sell junk, they have the right too. Doesn't mean I have to buy it. I guess it shows how much pride they have in their work.

Kid_A

#49

Kid_A said:

Some people still haven't figured out what's so bad about Knaggars...bless their innocent minds

theblackdragonAdmin

#50

theblackdragon said:

please, let's not spell it out for anyone, here. If you don't get the Knagars thing, count your blessings and move on.

Twilight_Crow

#51

Twilight_Crow said:

LOL What a piece of garbage!
This last weeks, Nintendo must be relying on casuals buying any cheap game without reading any reviews or opinions.

Good review Kid_A, fun and helpful, I actually might have considered this for later on :P.

BulbasaurusRex

#52

BulbasaurusRex said:

Strangely, IGN gives it a 5.5, actually calling the gameplay "average" and "pretty easy to handle." Their biggest complaints are that you can't change altitude and that the search-and-destroy missions restrict your control over the ship even further. They didn't even mention the graphics or the auto-lock, speed, tilt sensitivity, or clipping problems.

suburban_sensei

#53

suburban_sensei said:

I can't believe how bad the visuals are in the game. I mean, I love retro games, so I usually choose gameplay over graphics. However, I think the developers must have been VERY lazy to shove out something like that, when we have seen games as beautiful as Jett Rocket on WiiWare.

XCWarrior

#56

XCWarrior said:

Hopefully developers out there will see this and realize we actually care about the quality of the product they are producing.

Link79

#57

Link79 said:

This is exactly why VC is better than Wiiware. Why they want to keep the focus on Wiiware and cut back VC releases to near nothing is beyond me.

YoshiSage

#58

YoshiSage said:

"Just think of the words that sound like it and that one might associate with it. Narrow that list down to the most offensive ones. Eh?"

...oh. :|

Chris720

#59

Chris720 said:

Knagars... I mean really? Are these people racists?!? Even if they're not, they're still pretty crap developers!

First class review, and especially for your first one, too, Kid_A. Congratz! :)

P.S. I feel sorry for every black person who downloads this game, it just makes you wanna cry. :'(

Kid_A

#62

Kid_A said:

@Bulbasaurus Rex. This surprised me, too. I have a feeling IGN just copy/pasted their iPhone review--they do this typically for multiplatform releases. That's the only logical thing I can think of--the flaws of this port are too massive to miss

#63

said:

Calaris` reputation is just getting worst everytime..

Zach

#64

Zach said:

@Kid_A Do they? I've never done enough investigative work to find out. Though it seems like that's not the case here, I can't find Space Trek in either their iPhone or iPad reviews. I've only agreed with their reviews of DSiWare and WiiWare about half the time, though, and there are times when I've wondered whether they and I had even played the same game.

PatrickElliotStaff

#66

PatrickElliot said:

Ha! This was really fun to read. WiiWare is becoming entertainment in its game reviews alone.

Spoony

#67

Spoony said:

First off, congratulations on your first review! Second, oh my god this sounds terrible! After reading this I asked my girlfriend what she would think if the bad aliens in a movie were called knagars, and I had to convince her I didn't make that up! She was pretty PO'd for a second. Why?!? Ugh...why would somebody (Staring at Nintendo) approve this game? Great review!

cheapogamer4life

#68

cheapogamer4life said:

@kid_a
Congratulations on your for NL review! 1/10, at least you cant get any worst then that. Heres to future awesome high scoring reviews from ya.
/puts one in the air for Kid_A

Bass_X0

#69

Bass_X0 said:

1/10, at least you cant get any worst then that.

There's been games they wanted to give 0/10 to but the scoring don't go that low.

Pxtl

#71

Pxtl said:

Thanks for the warning. The images made it look look like fun Starfox clone. No such luck, eh?

Too bad. We're wii players. We probably would've put up with bad graphics if they'd fixed up the controls/targetting, put in some static tutorial images, and brightened it up. I mean, it's a wii - it's not like a touchscreen interface is a foreign concept when you've got a pointing device.

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