FTL: Faster Than Light Review [PC]

“Captain!” shouted Commander Woolf through crackling of the on-board communications system. “Multiple hull breaches in the rear compartments and I think we’ve got hostiles in th–”

An explosion erupted from the communications console throwing metal bits into the cabin and interrupting the Captain’s first officer. Cursing to himself the Captain flipped a few switches in an attempt to regain access to the sensor array.

It was no use, the system was gone and he was cut off from the rest of his ship.

His environmental systems had been destroyed venting O2 into space. His weapons systems were disabled and his shield generators were fried. The captain knew his situation was grim.

He looked down at the console splayed out before him. The lights were flashing every warning available but he didn’t care about any of them save one. That particular light flashed the ominous warning that signaled the end of his mission and the end of his life.

INCOMING MISSILE

As he looked through the clouded cockpit glass at the rocket heading his way he thought that he should be seeing his life flash before his eyes. His triumphs, his failures, his loves, and his family.

Instead he only saw the future of his people. With his destruction came the demise of his mission and the only chance this intergalactic war would end.

His last thought was of a single grim reality.

There would never be peace.

The missile found its target and all became quiet in the vacuum of space.

The Mission Ends

The Mission Ends

 


 

This is how most of your playthroughs of FTL will end: the complete and utter destruction of your entire crew. Yet for some reason the game compels you to continue sending them to their doom over and over again.

The Jump Selection Screen

The Jump Selection Screen

FTL is a superb “Roguelike-like” game that puts you in command of a starship tasked with the mission to cross the interstellar expanse to deliver a message that will end the rebellion and bring peace to the Federated galaxies. Each playthrough can take anywhere from a couple minutes to about an hour and a half.

The game follows a simple pattern. You choose a star system to jump to where a wide variety of random events occur.

Some are good. You can happen across shops that will repair and upgrade your ship for a small fee or you can stumble across a civilian ship that rewards you after you rescue it from certain doom.

Many are bad. The universe of FTL is a hostile place filled with aliens that want to destroy you and pick your spaceship clean of any materials they can find. Pirates will raid you, slavers will bombard you, and aliens bent on destruction will fill your hull with holes.

Your ship is controlled by energy which you can allocate throughout the ship to power critical systems. If a section is damaged you can reroute that power to other systems while your crew work to repair the damage.

You can find new crew members along your journey to help control your ship and there are a handful of races that have unique abilities. Some have a large amount of hitpoints, some are weak, some produce an energy that charges a single system.

Engaged in Combat

Engaged in Combat. It’s more exciting than it looks!

A large part of what makes FTL so satisfying is that while you may come across similar encounters no two playthroughs are exactly the same. The combination of all the elements mentioned really give you an authentic starship command experience.

The nerve-wracking tension brought on by the “Game Over” screen that roguelikes are famous for really encourage you to try and try again until you beat the game by making it to the end of the galaxy.

TL:DR; FTL is worth the price at 10 bucks and it’s a quick download. It’s a great game you can jump into and jump out of anytime. Give it a go and send that crew to their doom again and again and again and again…

Comments

  1. Nice review!

    My questions are:

    Do you see yourself playing this again in a few months down the road? Or was it worth the 10$ for a good time?

    Can you upgrade your ship enough to fight off the bad guys or is it always a struggle from what you’ve seen?

    • You can upgrade your ship in a variety of ways: maybe you have enough crew members to get a teleporter and take the fight to the enemy ship. Maybe you want to use automated drones to attack/defend/board with. Or you could go heavy with missiles and bombs; ignoring the enemy shields. Or a really powerful beam weapon that will destroy 4-6 rooms of the opposing ship in a single blow.

      On the defense side, you can raise your evasion to the point that most missiles will miss, get 4 levels of shield to withstand beam weapons, or even use a cloaking device to be untargetable.

      And none of this counts the augments that you can add, or the ships you can unlock with their own special features.

      So yeah, there’s a few upgrades available 🙂

      I’d put the replayability on par with Binding of Issac. If you only want to “beat” the game, you can do that in a couple of hours if you’re fortunate. Unlocking everything and just enjoying the random nature of the game will take a lot longer.

    • Silvanis hit it right on the head. I’ll absolutely continue to play this, much like I continue to play Dungeons of Dredmore and Binding of Issac. It’s up there with good company.

      It is constantly a struggle though, even with the upgrades you’re usually challenged enough to be on the edge of your seat. They do have an “easy” mode as well that reduces the challenge a bit if you’d just like to get through.

      Even there expect to die many times 😉

  2. Interesting to see the comparison to Binding of Isaac. I just started playing this a couple weeks ago and it got really addictive really fast!

    FTL is definitely on my “Buy as soon as it goes on Steam Sale” list. I know it’s already cheap, but with so many other games I’m juggling, I can “afford” to wait!

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