I first came across FTL (Faster than Light) while browsing through one of my favorite Youtube channels, yogscastsjin. As part of the Yogscast, he mostly does minecraft related videos, but every once in a while he will branch out a little and do something different. Watching his first foray into FTL got me interested, but I quickly became obsessed. Money has been tight, with two weddings in as many months to attend, and I held little hope of getting my hands on this game before November. Well, I am happy to say that my lovely wife Redd got me FTL for my birthday last tuesday (thanks for the birthday wishes, btw. (if you didn’t give me any birthday wishes, thanks for the birthday wishes…asshole)). Now I can give you my impressions.
So FTL is a classic “rogue-type”. Basically that means it is an unforgiving game that requires you to work as hard as possible at improving your chances of survival, and then you die. You will die a lot playing FTL, it’s actually part of the fun. Play sessions are typically short, sometimes you will get lucky and find the right combination of stuff to keep you alive just a little longer. At the end of each play session you are awarded a score and next time you try to do better.
The game does a good job of helping you get back into the game, by giving you different ships you can unlock by completing different achievement criteria. I have unlocked two ships so far, with two layouts for one of the ships. Each ship and layout requires a different play style, which helps keep the game fresh.
My only complaint is that FTL rewards having a good memory more than it does exploration. You will run into the same scenarios over an over again, and as long as you know which option to choose you can come out on top.
The thing that really brings FTL forward is the space combat. You have to choose where to direct your weapons to disable different systems on the enemy ship. Using ion cannons to take down shields so that you can destroy their weapons systems is a common tactic, however sometimes the game will tell you that they are powering up their FTL drive to escape so you need to direct your attention there. The combat is varied and fresh and there is a real sense of urgency, because if you die that’s it.
Overall, I am excited to keep playing. It’s too early to say whether this game will have the lasting power that I think it will, but for now I would say to buy it. You will be encouraging developers of great games to keep doing what they do best. FTL started as a kickstarter asking for $10000 and ended up bringing in $200,000. I think I have done something wrong with my life.
I’m done here.