Posted: May 5
FTL: Faster Than Light is a perfect recipe for an addictive game. Its deceptive simplicity is betrayed by the room for strategy and tactics. This coupled with its rapid difficulty climb makes it absolutely engrossing. Its replayability is unquestionably high thanks to the game’s heavy use of RNG and its Oregon Trail-esque scenarios which can make a particular run easy or end it then and there. The game creates a retro vibe with its charming pixel art style and a very fitting soundtrack that definitely deserves to be sold on its own.
P.S. NEVER SEND IN CREW TO HELP WITH GIANT ALIEN SPIDERS IT NEVER WORKS OUT
FTL: Faster Than Light is another edition to the ever growing rogue-lite genre. Affectionately reffered to as “Oregon Trail in Space,” FTL is about making your way across a galaxy to deliver vital information about enemy rebels to The Federation. Along this trip you must equip yourself with weapons, fight enemy ships, and make Oregon Trail esque decision that can either lead to great rewards or have your best crew member be eaten by a giant alien spiders.
The combat in FTL can be described as “semi-turn based.” Weapons require time to charge up before firing, however different weapons take different amounts of time to charge making it so weapons go off at set intervals but not strictly in turns. You can also target specific systems of the enemy ship to fire on in order to minimize damage taken and maximize damage dealt. For example, a common tactic is to use missiles, which ignore shields, to take out the shield system so that you may use your rapid fire laser weapons to take out their weapon system.
There are 4 different weapon types: Laser, Beam, Missile, and Ion, each which have their own merits and disadvantages allowing a wide array of strategy to be used. However arming yourself and manfighting any ship that comes your way isn’t your only option. Along your trip in FTL you will come across stores which can sell you new crew members, weapons, ship augments, and ship systems for scrap you collect by defeating ships or as rewards for random scenarios. One possible system you can arm yourself with is a Drone Control system, which allows you to let drone AI do all the fighting for you while you can just focus on defense. Another system you can get is the Crew Teleport system which you use to send your most combat effective crewmembers onto the enemy ship. This allows you to defeat the enemy without destroying the ship which yields more scrap and has a chance to get you a new weapon, drone schematic, or ship augment.
As this is a rogue-lite game, FTL makes extensive use of RNG. For example, you must make your way through 8 “sectors,” each sector has a procedurally generated star map with around 20 beacons each. The content and pattern of the beacons vary wildly with the only real guarantee being that you can make it from the starting point to the exit beacon that takes you to the next sector. Moreover, sectors are randomly made into one of three types, hostile, civilian, and nebula, each with their own race specific subtype. The sector type determines what is sold in stores, the likelihood of certain outcomes for scenarios, the types of enemies you face, and sector exclusive scenarios. While you can only go through 8 sectors in the game, the map will you give you multiple paths to choose from so you are not at the total mercy of RNG.
FTL further elaborates its rogue-lite elements with its replayability. In fact the only overall progress possible in this game is unlocking new ships to start with. You unlock these ships by getting achievements, completing specific quests, and beating the game repeatedly. However the achievements required to unlock ships are seldom easy. The quests needed to unlock ships usually require you to make a few specific decisions across multiple scenarios while praying that RNG is with you. Not only that, beating the game is very difficult, as you advance across sectors enemy ships become better equipped to the point that making it to Sector 8 is a feat on its own. Then there’s what awaits at Sector 8, the Rebel Flagship, an enemy so strong it makes all other before it seem like shieldless auto-scouts.
FTL has an almost retro feel thanks to its pixel art graphics. While not necessarily impressive, it works. It’s the closest thing FTL has as a weak point but in a way that only serves as a deterrent for those who wouldn’t be able to enjoy the gameplay to begin with. The graphics are complimented with the atmospheric chiptune soundrack. A soundtrack which definitely deserves to be sold on its own.
Personally, I have a strong affinity towards roguelike and rogue-lite games and FTL is no exception. The way that doing the same thing in certain scenarios doesn’t always yield the same result across playthroughs can be both exciting and incredibly frustrating. Likewise the placement of stores and the frequency of difficult enemies can make me want to destroy my computer. But that’s just part of the challenge and what makes this game addictive. But remember, never try to send in crew to help with giant alien spiders