FTL: Faster Than Light

Well, I decided I’d do this review a little differently from the others. I’ll give a small summary of the game and story and a small conclusion, but the bulk of this review will just be some of the various playthroughs that I experienced.

FTL, from Subset Games and a Kickstarter project, is a space flight simulator with roguelike elements such as randomly generated levels, self-improvements and permadeath. You can upgrade your ship, gain new crew members, buy new weapons, and fight various battle across the cosmos. If you like the idea of a longer version of The Binding of Isaac, this game is perfect (you can save upon exit, but never reload a save, just adding to the fun).

FTL is a game which any sci-fi enthusiast will appreciate. You are in control of a federation ship which is fleeing from a rebel fleet in an attempt to give an intercepted data packet to the remnants of the federation fleet. So you’re basically the Empire in Star Wars, but where the rebels are evil and the Empire are good.

FTL - SS1
This is basically the entire game. Not much to look at, but oh so much fun!

Firstly, FTL was not a game that I ever intended to buy. I was aware of a lot of people playing it, but when I looked at the Steam page, it looked very unimpressive. In the end, I didn’t buy it, it was given to me. And while I still find it visually unimpressive, I am absolutely hooked.

1st Playthrough:

I started with the base model of ship called The Daedalus with the crew Achilles, Persephone and the bravest of all, the pilot, Icarus. I managed to jump through 5 sectors, mildly upgrading my ship before I was taken out by a pirate ship, forgetting that my hull was very damaged.

2nd Playthrough:

Encountered a planet in the first sector with semi-intelligent, six-legged horses who led me to a crashed ship where I picked up a new crew member, a member of a half-machine, half-organic race called the Engi. After travelling through several more sectors I managed to pick up another Engi and a Mantis (one guess what a Mantis is). I got cocky and using my recently acquired teleporter, teleported my Mantis to an enemy ship… which was completely unmanned and so died of a lack of oxygen before my teleporter recharged. In my next jump after that I was destroyed by a rebel ship.

3rd Playthrough:

In the first sector I lost Persephone and Icarus in a surprisingly tough battle and Achilles was left to pilot the ship on his lonesome, which is entirely possible but makes battling near impossible and so it was only a matter of time before I encountered a Mantis slaver resulting in several Mantis running around aboard destroying my systems faster than Achilles could repair them until a lack of oxygen killed him, my ship drifting through space for the rest of time.

Princess of ages...
Princess of ages…

4th Playthrough:

After several sector jumps, I finally arrived in Rock territory where a damaged ship asked if I could transport their Rock princess to her husband-to-be, which I did in a roundabout way, but we got there in the end. Upon arrival, she declared she wanted to give up princessing and join my fleeing federation ship. I agreed – having never had a Rock on board – but her fiancée did not and my ship was destroyed by a bunch of angry rock-people.

5th Playthrough:

In my second sector I follow a distress signal that just happened to place me 3 cm from my greatest enemy, a giant ball of burning gas called a sun. The distress signal happened to be pirates who decided they needed my ship to escape from their own sun-damaged pile of junk. After a lengthy battle aboard my own ship, I finally managed to subdue them but my ship had been affected by solar flares, causing fires and system failures all over. This time it was a race to repair my ship from all the damages caused by the pirates before it burnt to ashes. I managed to repair the engines and piloting control, the bare-minimum requirement to be able to FTL-jump. But I jumped right into the middle of a plasma storm which knocks out internal sensors. I decided to search some wreckage anyway. During the search, two pieces of wreckage collided, knocking Achilles into the void of space, losing him forever. The next jump, I had invaders board my ship, taking out the rest of my crew and ending my short adventure.

I’m still yet to complete one playthrough of this game, or unlock any new ships or achievements. It’s not an easy game initially but you soon learns some tricks to prolong your survivability. But none of this detracts from my enjoyment or its potential addictiveness.

FTL: Faster Than Light is currently available on the Steam Store, their website and GOG.com for $9.99 and is also available on Mac.

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