The Nickelodeon series has been expanded on with its own spin-off game, which even sees the show's cast reprising their respective roles.
Video games tailored to young people and children have come leaps and bounds over the years. Thanks to publishers like Outright Games, we have projects that feel faithful and true to their source material, and offered up in a way that is also engaging and of a quality that even older audiences can appreciate them for what they are. This is the case with Star Trek Prodigy: Supernova, an action game that is based on the animated Nickelodeon series and even sees the cast members reprising their roles to serve up extra authenticity.
The story revolves around the young crew of the Protostar, as they continue their voyages through space. The team, led by captain Dal R'El (Brett Gray) and Gwyndala (Ella Purnell), stumble upon a system including three planets that are at threat of being destroyed by the very central star, which is being pushed into becoming a supernova. Upon arriving at this system, the Protostar ship is attacked and soon finds itself crash landing on one of the three endangered planets, with the crew being captured and held captive at various different locations. You have to lead Dal and Gwyn on a quest to repair the Protostar, save the crew members, and then prevent the star from going supernova to save the species that call the surrounding planets home.
While the storyline is basic, it does have enough intrigue and mystery that it will entertain, especially younger audiences who will struggle to pick up the more typical and predictable plot twists. It has all the Star Trek beats, with unusual and alien adversaries and an overwhelming and time sensitive task to overcome, all brought to life with tons of science-fiction jargon.
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As for the actual gameplay, it is rather basic in design and revolves around two main concepts. On one hand are the environmental puzzles that you will have to crack to be able to continue progressing through a level. These could be using Dal and Gywn's abilities to help aid each other past obstacles and hazards, or could be down to shifting blocks and rerouting power lines to overcome electrical barriers. The variety isn't exactly much, but the puzzles are of a hard enough difficulty that it should be challenging but not frustrating for younger folk.
The other part of the main concept revolves around combat scenarios, which ask Dal and Gywn to slash, strike, and shoot various different alien foes. While many will be robotic spider-like creatures known as Watchers, there are also times when native flora get in on the action, making for another danger to have to evade and conquer. The combat is pretty fluid and simple, with the main challenges coming down to perfectly timing the dodge move to be able to avoid quick strikes and incoming projectiles. It is, like the puzzles, the perfect amount of challenge for younger audiences.
While I do like the balance between puzzling and fighting, I will say the one area that does frustrate me is the balance between Dal and Gywn. The gameplay frequently asks you to switch between both to guide the other through a hazard or blockage, and the problem is that the AI can be so daft and unintelligible that the character you aren't controlling gets stuck or goes somewhere you don't want it to, meaning the gameplay often feels repetitive as you have to repeat yourself a lot to get both characters to where they need to be. It's a problem that can be fixed by giving the non-player-controlled character a little bit more initiative and common sense. It would just make the gameplay more fluid, to have your following ally to be able to complete basic tasks such as pressing buttons at the same time as the leading character, for example. It's clear that the game is designed for two-players, and when you do dive in solo, you are left wanting a little more.
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While my time testing Star Trek Prodigy: Supernova was pre-release, it should be said that I've encountered a fair few bugs and issues, with many only being fixed by simply reloading the game or rebooting it entirely. Some of the problems came from enemies getting stuck out of attack range, with others being interaction points not appearing. It does become a little frustrating, considering Prodigy: Supernova isn't a massively complex title in the first place, so when the few gameplay systems it does offer break or fail, you can't help but really notice it.
All in all however, I quite enjoyed my time with this game. It's very simple and straightforward to dive into and has enough charm and character that you can enjoy getting lost in the world and narrative. The progression systems and the collectibles in each level also provide enough of a reason to go back and replay former levels, and the way that the co-op is offered with a competitive award system at the end of a level that celebrate which player defeated the most foes and got KO'd the least and so on, means that you and a family member/friend can continue to have fun long after reaching the end of the storyline. But it is worth noting again that this is a game tailored for younger fans, and it won't quite draw versed players in, due to its basic gameplay design elements. Those looking to keep children busy for a few days however, look no further.
7 / 10
Simple and easy to grasp design. Interesting story. Fluid combat. Puzzles are just the right amount of challenge for younger folk.
Can be frustrating to play solo. Few issues with bugs.