• FTL review

    There comes a rare time when you play a game that just gets to you. You're not entirely sure what it is about the game, but damn it is a fun game.

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    FTL is this kind of game. FTL means "Faster Than Light", which in the game is the speed of the jumps that the ships make in the game. So what is FTL? FTL is, for lack of better words, a spaceship management game. You are a ship that sides with the Federation, and you've come across intel that helps against the fight with the Rebels. You travel from sector to sector building up your ship till you get to the end and have to fight the Rebel leader's ship.

    This isn't a game of skill, but more of a game of thought. Each sector is randomly generated and the missions within the sectors are random as well. This use of the unknown helps make the game difficult enough to challenge the average gamer.

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    Your ship is powered by a reactor, and it has many systems and subsystems in place. Systems like weapons, shields, medic bays, and even oxygen for the ship requires power from the reactor. As you play you gain scrap that you can use to upgrade the ships systems or upgrade the reactor to produce more power. It's your job as captain to figure out which systems you feel are more important to the ship. Choosing to go with better shields will protect you from incoming fire, but doing so may force you to keep another system from upgrading and causing them to be more vulnerable to weapons that go through shields.

    Your ship also has a crew. You start off with 3 members but can collect more as the game goes on. Your crew will repair broken systems, tears in the hull, and fires. They also can man certain systems giving the system a boost. However, you have to be sure and keep your crew safe. They can die from things like fire, suffocation, and enemies that teleport onto your ship. If your crew dies, it's game over.

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    Battle in the game is pretty fast paced considering the slow paced nature of the game. You have weapons or drones to help with destroying any enemy ship you happen across and have to focus on making sure your own ship doesn't need repairs. Each weapon has a different way doing damage, a recharge time, and a certain power requirement to have the weapon equipped. Some weapons require missiles to be use that you purchase from the store. Without missiles, the gun won't fire, and you'll have to rely on laser-based weapons. However, unlike missile weapons, the laser weapons don't go through shields.

    All of this information goes into the management of the game. You have to weigh your options and take risks according to your situation. If you spend all of your scrap on upgrading your systems, then you won't have any to buy fuel to move along in the game, repair your hull, or buy any number of items that will help you in the stores. However, if you save your scrap for stores, then your ship isn't being upgraded, and you run the risk of it being destroyed or possibly not even finding a store at all.

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    As I said earlier this concept of the unknown runs throughout the whole game. It's what makes it so fun to play. You'll get distress missions asking you to save someone from afire, but that could lead to you losing a crew member. It could also lead to you gaining a crew member as well or something better. You can also decide not to do anything and get nothing…as well as hear the screams of those you let die in your sleep.

    This is where the only real issue with the game comes up. It's tough to beat. I've yet to destroy the Rebels' leader's ship, and I've been playing the game on easy. The learning curve for the game can be scary. There's so much going on during battles, that you sometimes lose track of the things you need to do. So being able to focus on the whole game is a must, and that will come in time. However, the game has a really good tutorial that goes over all the stuff I talked about in here and shows you the basics of the game. The best thing about the game is how fast and free it is. You don't need to set aside hours to play through the game, and when you've cleared a mission the game lets you sit there as long as you want.

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    I highly recommend FTL to anyone who finds what I described interesting. To those skeptical on the idea, I still would say to try it out. You'll be surprised at how much fun the game is.
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. maximusboomus's Avatar
      maximusboomus -
      Great review Adre! Do you find the graphics are kitschy or just too retro?
    1. Pint's Avatar
      Pint -
      Its worth mentioning that the game has a high replay-ability on top of the high praise.
    1. nihilanth311's Avatar
      nihilanth311 -
      I've almost unlocked the crystal cruiser a few times ><
    1. Zheta's Avatar
      Zheta -
      I will second this review! FTL has a simple sort of magic that draws you in for a spell.
    1. Glitch's Avatar
      Glitch -
      So over a year later i finally picked this up on sale for $2.50

      If you don't have this yet, Grab it. WAY worth it. Fast pace, but pause-able game that you can save and exit at any time and pick back up later. With a 2 year old running rampant this is very important to me.

      If you are still on the fence watch a lets play or two. See if it your type of game.

      BTW they recently had a free expansion (called Advanced Edition in game) that added new ships, weapons, events etc. and can be disabled in the options before you start a new game if you prefer the old version.