FTL: Faster Than Light
Platforms: Windows, OS X, Linux, Steam, GOG.com
Price (As of Feb 2014): Steam price (£6.99), GOG.com price ($9.99), official website ($9.99)
Publisher: Subset Games
Flying a spaceship, fleeing from the rebel fleet, warning the Federation then defeating the rebels. Does this game sound good to you? Read on, my friends.
FTL: Faster Than Light is a very simple game by nature. Every time you fly to another beacon on a sector, you use up 1 fuel. Each time you use an attack, it might require a missile, or perhaps a drone piece (Depending on what kind of ship you’re running and the equipment you use). As such, you can’t run around going to every single square as a “Just because I want to”. This game actively looks to push you through to the last level – or to die trying.
Every time you make a “Jump” (To go from one beacon to the next), the rebels get one step closer to you. Your goal is to get to the last sector and beat the Rebel Flagship – That’s about it. So in as far as story goes, there’s not much. To me, this benefits the game greatly, as the gameplay is superb. Simple, easy to follow and all in all fun.
This is a true indie strategy game. Note, when I say it’s a true strategy game, this is a grid based game but the fight sequences are as much about timing as it is about pressing the right buttons for attack. So where’s the strategy element bar it being grid based?
Due to it being grid based, going into different sectors and going into different parts of a sector can trigger different events, such as shops, quests, fights and answering distress beacons. FTL is simple to play, but when I say hard to master, I’m not exaggerating.
So, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, FTL is a game where you are playing as a spaceship (When you first play, you can only play as the Kestrel, a decommissioned Federation Cruiser). Once you’ve chosen which ship you’ll be using (All of which have different “rooms” available, along with different crew members, different amounts of power and the likes) you’re greeted with the first sectors grid.
Once you’re ready to get going, you click the Jump button and you get ready to jump around space, going from beacon to beacon in hopes of getting enough scrap, better weapons, better shields and better crew.
Your crew can level up in skills, such as weapons, shields, engines and piloting. This gives bonuses, such as faster shield regeneration, better weapon speeds and evasion. Your crew are of multiple races and as you go through the game, you can unlock the various other races ships. The different races have different bonuses to what they can do, too. For example, the energy people, the Zoltan, adds 1 power to a room whenever they’re in one. Nice!
Fighting in game
So, you’ve now seen how it looks and how to move about, how about we have some combat? Well, as you enter combat, you’ll notice depending on what kind of beacon you jumped to, you might have bad effects due to the surroundings such as being too close to a star (Watch out for solar flares) or being in the middle of an asteroid field (Watch out for asteroids)! Once you’ve beaten the enemy by either destroying the hull (Get past the shields, then deal damage directly to rooms on the enemy ship) or by killing the enemy crew (Fire on the enemy ship, remove all oxygen, can’t work on an auto-ship, though!) you get presented with a reward of various degrees.
The rewards vary, depending on what you do to defeat your enemy. By destroying the hull, you get a smaller reward than by keeping the ship alive. Sometimes, you trigger extra events by killing enemies in such different ways. I personally like to have the oxygen cut off as well as damaging their doors, but sometimes, you just have to straight up destroy a ship. And boy is it satisfying!?
Now, I like to do a small part on music in nearly all of these games I play. As such, how does music stand up in FTL: Faster Than Light?
Actually, this is one of the nicest features. The music is so good, you often forget its there and it truly adds to the game. It’s so relaxed, so smooth to listen to, that it truly feels like you are in space. Whenever the action intensifies, you feel the emotion going into battle, simply because it’s so simple! (Simply simple, my new genre of music.)
In writing this, I didn’t realise I was still listening to the soundtrack – the above link is a full playlist of music from the game, so please: Enjoy!
All in all
FTL: Faster Than Light is a game worth playing. For the casual gamer, this is a game you don’t need to invest all day and all night into, but for the serious gamers, unlocking everything is ridiculously hard. Some of the requirements for unlocking ships are practically down to pure luck, however. That is the only reason this game doesn’t quite get full marks. But this game is certainly worth playing never-the-less.
4.5/5 for this game from me.