Faster Than Light, also known as FTL, came out in 2012. It puts the player in control of a single spaceship. The story pits the player as a member of the Federation trying to escape from the rebel fleets. After journeying through multiple systems, while staying ahead of the pursuing rebel fleets, you make a stand at the Federation base.
The story doesn’t particularly make sense, but the game shouldn’t be played for the story. It is a lot of fun to find scrap, weapons, etc. and use them to upgrade your ship into a truly formidable warship. While there is only a single story mode, and each playthrough is quick, taking about 30 minutes, everything is random, so there is a lot of replayability.
There is also a lot to unlock in the game. You start with one ship, but can unlock eight more ship hulls, also, each ship has a second layout that can be unlocked. The second layout is almost completely different from the first, allowing for a completely different play experience. Unlocks can be frustrating to get though, as everything is random, so you just have to get lucky.
Gameplay involves three main parts: upgrading your ship, fighting other ships, and making choices.
Upgrading your ship is the most important part of FTL. If you don’t upgrade, then there is no way you will get far in the game, much less pose any kind of threat to the boss. You can use scrap to buy parts, crew, systems, and more from stores. You can also use scrap to upgrade your ship’s systems and reactor. This is necessary for things like more shields or weapons.
Fighting other ships is what you will spend most of your time doing in FTL. It is played out in real time, though you can pause the action to decide what you want to do. Your ship will be pitted against an enemy ship. Your weapons will charge, and when they are fully charged then are ready to fire. You choose which part of the enemy’s ship that you want to aim at. Of course different weapons will all do different things. For example, ion weapons don’t cause damage to the enemy ship, but they do render enemy systems unusable for a time. You can weaken shields or take enemy weapons out of commission with these. Lasers on the other hand have a hard time doing damage through shields, though if the enemy’s shields are damaged, they can do considerable damage to multiple areas of the enemy ship. There are other systems as well, like cloaking and the crew teleporter. Enemy boarding parties are one of the most annoying parts of the game. They will come onto your ship and start damaging systems. You will have to send your crew to fight back. This is, of course, an easy way to lose crew members, so you have to be careful. FTL’s combat system can get pretty hectic, and that’s part of what makes it so much fun.
You will also make a lot of decisions in FTL. For example, someone may warp onto your ship and say that he is trying to escape from a pursuing. You can choose to give him up or protect him. Randomly, if you choose to help him, he will either join your crew or be lying to you and damage your ship. Or you give him up, he may be turned in for a lot of money, or perhaps he will kill some of your crew, you never know. That not knowing is part of the game’s excitement though.
Check out FTL. You can get on Steam for pretty cheap and it really is a lot of fun. I’ve dumped some hours into it and I certainly don’t regret the purchase. I don’t think you will either. Though let me say this, play this game on easy mode. It’s just more fun. Everything is the same about it except that in easy mode you receive more scrap to improve your ship. This may be just me, but I had more fun creating a really nice ship than being a piece of junk that was always on the verge of turning into scrap itself. Well, whatever you choose, good luck.
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