Having played FTL for over 15 hours, I’d say I’ve had my fill of this very charming and addictive game. I know the game can potentially be played a lot longer (I have some friends who have played it 40+ hours) but for me, I’ve completed it and will give myself a rest for a bit.
“Now what is this FTL?” I hear you all cry, and I shall deliver. FTL is a top down space flight simulator where you have to manage all of the ship and it’s staff, in a way you could think of this as a theme hospital. You control each aspect of the ship, delivering power to each system as and when it’s needed. Fighting a pirate ship? Push power into the shields and weapons. Fighting on board your ship? Provide power to your medic bay to make sure your staff can be healed as soon as the fightings over. It’s all up to you, and the game encourages you to be adventurous in order to overcome a hoard of obstacles all at once.
The objective of the game is to get through 7 sectors to tell the alliance (which you are a part of) about the rebels plans. Sounds easy enough, but only once in my 15 hours of playing have I completed the game successfully. Each sector is randomised, and ensures that you don’t always have the easiest route, making you plot your course to the best of your ability. Within each sector, you have to jump to the end warp gate to get to the next sector, with each jump coming across an encounter. It’s in these encounters where the real adventure unfolds. You’re usually always given a choice of what to do in any given situation, so if your ship is in bad shape, skip attacking some pirates. It all comes down to a risk/reward scenario, with each risk being rewarded with scrap/missiles/drones. These are all useful for keeping the ship going, buying products at store, or upgrading the ship itself.
You will die in this game (be warned, it’s a perma-death), and at times it can feel very unfair. Encounters are semi-randomised, so you may end up in a situation where you only have 2 life bars left and the next warp drive you do puts you into the same territory as pirates. As much as this can take some getting used to (and infuriating at first) it ends up being a advantage in my opinion, as it means you rarely get the same gaming experience as other players. Each person has their own story about what went down, and that is a remarkable thing to have in any game of this generation.
- Extremely re-playable
- Brilliant strategy
- Lovely 8-bit graphics
- Randomisation can get a little too much and unfair
- No end game in sight
Overall I would have gladly made FTL one of my top 10 of games last year. It’s fun, got a little bit of charm, and a hell of a lot of strategy to make this an exciting (albeit short) experience.