Shortly after the debut of the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch, TrekMovie reported on the severe lack of Trek applications available. It now appears that our readers headed our call and have, in the past several months, created a multitude of awesome Star Trek applications, including an official app from Paramount, a new game by Electronic Arts, and the Klingon Language Suite. TrekMovie has taken a closer look at these apps, and we’ve reviewed them. So, here it is: the best of Trek on the iPhone (and iTouch).
Star Trek by Electronic Arts
TM Rating: ★★★★★
Overview: Command the USS Enterprise through a shoot’em up action-adventure game assisted by the new crew. Fly the Enterprise through perilous situations where you have to fend off oncoming enemy ships, while trying to pick up bonus points, power boosts, and keep your shields healthy. Crew members from the new movie often pop in to help you out.
What we liked: The professional quality of this application is apparent right from the start. The game is very extensive, and game play is instantly fun and intuitive. If you’ve ever been a fan of previous console-based Star Trek games, you won’t be disappointed here. The ability to choose between different control modes is a nice feature. You can use your device’s accelerometer or navigate through space with the touch of your finger. You can play a Quick Play or Campaign mode, and you are able to keep track of your score and progress, allowing you to close the application and pick up where you left off next time you start it up. This exemplifies what we are used to in video games, but translated to the iPhone platform.
What we didn’t like: This is another one of those apps that doesn’t cry out for improvement. The quality of the game is very high, the music is great (it’s the new movie score), and the graphics are good. If you are not a fan of this style of game, this app may not appeal to you. But, if this is your thing, you will be happy with your purchase.
Klingon Language Suite by Simon and Schuster
TM Rating: ★★★★★
Price: $3.99, $9.99, $0.99
Overview: The Klingon Language Suite is a combination of three applications: Conversational Klingon ($3.99), Klingon Dictionary ($9.99), and Klingon Phrasebook ($0.99). Presented and narrated by Michael Dorn, the Conversational Klingon app works like a foreign language class on tape. There are 16 4-5 minute long lessons that cover topics such as Questions, Telling Time, The Local Bar, and Sight Seeing. If you truly want to learn to master the Klingon language, this is the best tool that has ever come out for completing such a task. The Klingon Dictionary is indispensable when traveling the galaxy. With more than 1000 entries, the dictionary allows you to search for a word in English and presents you with the Klingon translation. There is even a verb conjugation function. The Klingon Phrasebook is basically a simplified version of the Conversational Klingon app, but it is handy to have in a pinch. You can look up common words and phrases, see the English and Klingon translation, and even hear the words pronounced for you! The applications are available separately in the iTunes app store now, and the suite (all three apps in one) will be available soon. The applications are also set to be released for Windows and Mac OSX soon, so you can join in on the fun even without an iPhone or iPod Touch!
What we liked: This is really an incredible application. It is the best tool ever to hit the market that will truly teach you the Klingon language, complete with recorded pronunciations. All of the most needed lessons are covered. This application really makes you feel like you are preparing for a trip to the Klingon home world the way we are accustomed to preparing for trips to foreign countries. Want to really speak like a Klingon? Look no further.
What we didn’t like: There is really not much to say about what needs improvement in this application. The interface is navigable and friendly, the content is relevant and plentiful, and this app makes it fun to learn Klingon! The price may be a bit steep compared to what you are used to paying for an iPhone application, but, considering the cost of other foreign language software, this app is a steal.
Paramount’s Official Star Trek Phaser App
TM Rating: ★★★
Overview: This is a nice little free app that Paramount put out as a promotion for the movie. It features a Phaser target shooter style game which can be played in 1 or 2 player modes. Additionally, there is a gallery of images and video for you to enjoy. In each mode, the object of the game is to hit a target, which moves back and forth across the screen until your opponent’s energy is completely drained.
What we liked: The ability to play with a friend over Wi-Fi in 2 player mode gets this app serious points, and it is a nice bonus to get an up-close and personal look at the new phasers. Truly, my favorite part of this app is not game play, but the About section of the game. Here you can view a gallery of images and see all 4 trailers. This is a great way to be able to pull up the trailers whenever you want, on the go. Oh, and did we mention that it’s free?
What we didn’t like: Actual game play leaves something to be desired. The interface is slightly confusing, and game-play quickly looses its fun. It is difficult to initially determine the point of the game, and then it is confusing as to whether or not you are doing it right. There are sound effects, but it is obvious that these will not be the effects used in the movie.
Star Trek Archives by iVerse Media
TM Rating: ★★★★★
Overview: TrekMovie gave a full-length review of this app when it came out back in December. But, for posterity, we’ll give it a little recap now. This application is basically an e-reader collection of the best of the Star Trek comics from the 80s and 90s.
What we liked: Overall, this is a great app. The interface is simple and easy to use, and the panels are very clear and crisp. The iPhone offers a great platform to keep your favorite Star Trek comics with you all the time. The app is also clever enough to remember where you were if you close it down and open it up again later. If you have any Trek music loaded into your play lists, then you can listen to that while you read the comics to get the full Trek experience.
What we didn’t like: The only thing we could say that this app lacks is the ability to have an “autoplay” mode where panels would advance automatically at a user-defined time interval.
iLCARS by mcMike
TM Rating: ★★★★★
Overview: This is definitely our favorite Tricorder type app. There is an LCARS style interface with 3 modes: sub, bio, and geo. Each of these modes have a close and far range setting. The geo setting tells you about geographical and seismic data for an area that you are in. What’s great about this mode is that it uses real information gathered by the accelerometers in your iPhone. A red line shows the x-axis (left and right), a green line shows the y-axis (up and down), and a blue line shows the z-axis (in and out). Moving your iPhone produces various squiggles. The sub mode gives you information about nearby subatomic particles. Best we can tell, it randomly generates what particles are nearby. The bio mode tells you information about a nearby life form. Point it at your buddy, press scan, and get a reading about various biological information such as brain activity, age, and DNA.
What we liked: This app gains points for actual functionality. The fact that real data is used in the geo mode makes you feel like you are truly receiving tricorder info. The interface is great. The LCARS style may not look like the face of a tricorder, but is sure looks pretty. Additionally, all sounds are canon. Majel Barret’s voice even chimes in once and a while.
What we didn’t like: There is not much that this app is lacking. It does just what we want it to do. True, it doesn’t look like a tricorder, and really could be described better as a PADD.
Other Tricorder Apps
Other Star Trek Tricorder apps, such as iScanner, kScanner, and Tricorder TR-580, which have been wildly popular among fans, have been pulled from the App Store by Apple after CBS claimed copyright infringement. For more info on these apps and their disappearance from the app store, see this iphonesavior.com article.
TriviaTrek by Thirtynine LLC
TM Rating: ★★
Overview: This is a Star Trek trivia game which pulls questions from a large database covering all the series (even TAS) and movies. Each round you answer 20 multiple choice questions which have a time limit of 20 seconds each.
What we liked: The questions are good, for the most part, and the interface is easy to use. The app tells you right away whether or not you got a question correct. Having a time limit makes the game even more challenging, although 20 seconds might be a bit short.
What we didn’t like: This app is fun at first until you run into its glitches. For example, sometimes a question is too long for the space allotted, and it gets cut off. So, you are not sure of what the question is asking. Additionally, there is no high score function. The ability to try and top yourself would make you feel as though you were improving and would provide more of a challenge. It would also be nice to have the ability to choose which series to pull trivia from. If you are a fan of all but one of the series, or maybe just TOS or TNG, having the questions from the other series can be frustrating. In the end, this app is not worth the $1.99 price tag.
Star Trek Wisdom by CHS Systems
TM Rating: ★★★
Overview: This app is a very basic program in which you can view randomly generated Star Trek quotations from The Original Series. Quotes come from all of the main characters, plus many second tier characters featured in only one or two episodes.
What we liked: The interface is simple, but functional. The quotes provided are generally interesting ones, and the program doesn’t show any glitches. The ability to e-mail your friends the quote is a nice bonus feature.
What we didn’t like: The app is a bit too simple. All it does is generate quotes, most of which we already have heard a thousand times, and it costs a buck. Personally, I don’t need to spend a dollar on something that generates random Star Trek quotes. I would rather go watch the episodes.
Daxhotel by Raphael Schweikert – sabberworm
TM Rating: ★★★★★
Overview: Daxhotel is a comprehensive Star Trek episode guide loaded with tons of information of each episode including original air date, the DVD number on which it can be found, as well as a detailed description and images. On first start up, the program connects with the servers at Startrek.com and downloads data for every episode of Star Trek ever broadcast — including TAS. You can even shuffle to display a random episode.
What we liked: Daxhotel is a great resource. The fact that it includes so much information is amazing. Imagine the entire Star Trek episode library right at your fingertips! This app surely delivers. The ability to display a random episode is great for those of us who have many of the DVD sets but can’t decide which episode to watch. The descriptions are in depth, and each episode has several screen shots attached to it.
What we didn’t like: Although this is a great app (we give it 5 stars!) it is missing one key feature: a search. That would be very useful if you don’t know what season a particular episode is in, and you want to find it fast. The program does use up a lot of data if you install all of the images, which is a draw-back. But, there is an option to do only a partial download (excluding most of the images). It is a bit pricey, but I think this app is worth the price.
So, there you have it. The best of Star Trek on the iPhone. What apps will talented young developers think up next? We can only imagine. I would like to see a better target shooting phaser game, and a good trivia app. Anyone feel up to making a TOS trivia app? We sure have come a long way from our initial report just after the launch of the App Store. Keep those Trek apps coming, guys!