FTL: Faster Than Light

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FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL.jpg
"Help! We're being overrun by some sort of giant alien spiders!"
Genre: Roguelike
Strategy
Simulation
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
MacOS
Linux
Steam
GOG.com
iOS (Advanced Edition)
Release Date: September 14, 2012
April 3, 2014 (Advanced Edition)
Developer: Subset Games
Publisher: Subset Games

FTL: Faster Than Light is a top down strategy roguelike game developed and published by Subset Games. The game was crowdfunded on Kickstarter and released on September 14, 2012. An advanced edition released on April 3, 2014.

Why It Rocks

  1. Deep and strategic gameplay, forcing players to micromanage all aspects of the ship effectively, such as power levels, oxygen, and weapon systems.
  2. Large variety of random encounters and events, ranging from battles to exploring planets, making every playthrough feel fresh.
  3. Seven different types of aliens (eight in the Advanced Edition), each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
    • Humans don't have any special abilities or drawbacks. The well-rounded race.
    • Engi can repair systems twice as fast as humans, but have half as much attack power.
    • Mantis have 1.5 times as much attack power and move slightly faster, but repair at halved speed.
    • Rockmen are immune to fire, have twice as much health, and extinguish fire faster. Unfortunately, they are super slow.
    • Zoltan give 1 extra power to whatever system they are occupying and explode when they die. They have 70% health, however.
    • Slugs reveal rooms they are next to and show the crew of both your ship and the enemy's. They are also immune to mind control (Advanced Edition only). They have no drawbacks.
    • Crystals suffocate slower, can lockdown power, and have half of a Rockman's extra health and extinguish speed. They are also -20% slower than a human.
    • (Advanced Edition) Lanius are immune to suffocation, but they drains oxygen in the room they are in and move slightly slower.
  4. Nine different ship types (10 in the Advanced Edition), each with their own unique starting powers and loadouts. For example, the Engi ship excels in disabling ships, while the Stealth Cruiser centers around maneuverability.
  5. Excellent ambient soundtrack by Ben Prunty, and is one of the best sounding games ever.
  6. 21 different main achievements to unlock and 27 (30 in the Advanced Edition) extra ship achievements, which require the player to play in a variety of different ways.
  7. Each ship type has different variations which adds more variety on how you plan out your strategy, such as the Stealth cruiser having a non-stealth variant.
  8. Decent length play sessions, each session lasting about 5 to 35 minutes based on how far you reach.
  9. Decent graphics, with a combination of pixel art and painted background images.
  10. Awesome ship designs with no two ship ever looking to similar to another, such as the slick designs of Federation ships and the bulky look to the Engi ships.
  11. The advanced edition includes many new features to the game, such as enemy types, new and modified encounters, a new ship, and an extra alien race called the Lanius.

Bad Qualities

  1. Sometimes, the randomness of roguelike elements can make the game unfair, like when you encounter a powerful enemy ship in the middle of a nebula.
  2. The difficulty is absurdly high, even the Easy difficulty is brutal. Luckily, the Advanced Edition balances it out a bit.
  3. The final boss is the most brutal part of the game, with its absurd difficulty spike and giving the player barely any room for error.

Reception

FTL: Faster Than Light received positive reception when it released. The PC version currently has a 84/100 on Metacritic, while the iOS version has a 88. The game currently has a 10/10 and a 4.7/5 on Steam and GOG.com respectively.

Game Tips

  1. Upgrade your shields as soon as possible if you want to keep up with the enemy leveling. You don't want to get to a point where your shields are no match for a single laser volley.
  2. Have every crewman in a system room. When a crewman is operating a system, you gain an extra bonus, such as increased evasion when manning engines or faster shield regeneration when manning shields.
  3. The final boss has three different phases and is one of the brutal and difficult bosses in gaming. You need to have a well planned strategy before fighting the boss. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when fighting the boss.
    • If you kill every crew member on the enemy flagship, you will not automatically win. Instead, it will then act like an AI ship, automatically repairing systems when they are damaged. Because of this, it's a good idea to keep at least one enemy crew member alive.
    • Go for the shields. The flagship has maximum shield bars so it will make damaging the hull take a long time. Have crew members board the ship and/or concentrate firepower on the shield room. Then alternate to damaging different systems when shields are at 2 bars.

Trivia

  1. Chris Avellone wrote some of the new encounters introduced in the Advanced Edition.
  2. In Subset Games' follow up title, Into the Breach, three alien species from FTL appear as unlockable characters. One of which is KazaaakplethKilik (Yes, that's his name), the legendary Mantis pirate who appears in a special encounter.

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