Star Trek Trexels soars with 8-bit pixelated power (pictures)

Connecting the worlds of "The Original Series" and "The Next Generation," Trexels for iOS is a love letter to the nostalgia of '60s-era sci-fi.

Nick Statt
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8-bit wonder

Trexels -- a new iOS gaming venture from CBS Interactive and studios xcube Games and YesGnome -- mashes up different "Star Trek" series with a pixelated art style meant to invoke the nostalgia for both early video games and 1960s-era sci-fi. The title will also contain the series' original music and narration from George Takei.

Hitting the App Store on Wednesday, the $2.99 Trexels will be available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

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Ship building in Trexels

One of the game's core mechanics will involve ship building, wherein players delegate members of the crew to different tasks to build up resources and upgrade the capacities of the vessel to allow for more exploration.

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Exploring the universe

Trexels will start out with six sectors for exploration. Players progress by completing nodes, which can vary from planets to enemy ships to galaxy clusters, and involve different forms of gameplay.

For instance, to initiate an eventual storyline mission that completes the area, one must first probe the object and then follow that up with any one of a number of different mini-game components.

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Klingon space combat

Space combat is just one of many mission types in the game and operates much in the vein of a real-time strategy title where the player must delegate actions and resources among the crew.

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Borg combat

Trexels will involve a wide array of the "Star Trek" canon, from Klingons to the Borg. The game also will introduce new alien races, said xcube Games' Craig Bolin, the lead game designer on the title.

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The original Trexels

The origin of Trexels goes back to designer John Martz who in 2010 mashed up the words "trek" and "pixel" for his 8-bit take on the storied television show's wide cast of characters.

His limited-run poster featuring 235 of the series' characters took the Internet by storm, prior to an appearance at the 2011 MoCCA Festival, a comics expo run by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. Martz would later sell the rights to Trexels to CBS.

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Relying on diplomacy

Another gameplay mode, diplomacy, involves dialogue-heavy interactions that allow players to rely on decision-making over a puzzle-style interaction to clear hurdles, instead of falling back on combat.

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Ground combat

Through a "temporal rift" plot device, Trexels will blend both storyline elements and characters from "The Next Generation" series with "The Original Series."

"We really wanted to throw the boundaries away and say, 'Look. What we really want to do is appeal to a wider range of Stare Trek fans,'" said Bolin. "If you're a slightly younger 'Star Trek' fan and Data was big to you, we want to leave room for that."

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Encountering the Klingons

Trexels won't just stop at "The Original Series" and "The Next Generation." The team hopes to continue to expand it further and keep adding to the universe.

"The entire design Trexels is meant to be the first module in the series," Bolin explained, "in the sense that we've only got 'The Original Series' and 'The Next Generation' characters. But we're planning on wanting to do a 'Voyager' module, a 'Deep Space Nine,' and an 'Enterprise.'"

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Engineering challenges

Because the app will be $2.99 at launch, CBS Interactive Director of Games Erika Winterholler said, "We're also planning a series of free, additional content updates that we hope fans will really enjoy."

Those new episodes will -- as Bolin outlined -- aim to incorporate even more of Star Trek's six different series spanning decades of television and film.

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