FTL: Faster Than Light Review

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Live, play, die, repeat. The mantra of FTL. In this game victory is rarely a guarantee and when you think you are having a really good run, your ship is at a place you think you can take on any challenge and WHAM! FTL plays you dirty.

This game clearly is not for the generation of kids who always expect a trophy when they get last place. It is unforgiving and that’s probably what I love the most about it. It feeds on your failures.

With FTL being out since late 2012 and they recently released it for the iPad this review will be based on that version. Granted the similarities are nearly identical, minus the touch screen capabilities.

Story

In FTL you command a ship that is part of the Galactic Federation. The federation is on the verge of collapse as the rebel forces are winning the war handily. That is unless your crew and you have anything to say about it, the tide might be turning quickly in the favor of the federation. In your crews possession is a data pack that has the potential to throw the rebel forces into disarray. Giving the Galactic Federation the upper hand it needs.

Your mission fly across space, spanning 8 sectors to deliver this data to the base of the Galactic Federation. Through your journey you will encounter different scenarios and situations through each play through varying your ships story and journey. If you log enough hours you will see plenty of the same scenarios popping up but the order in which they appear is always random which makes part of the fun.

Gameplay

Simply amazing! The control of your ship is all in your fingertips. You pick where you want each crew member to be stationed and when you want them to abandon that station. If you want to cut all the power to your engines and redirect it to your weapon systems, go for it. Nearly everything you would want to do is doable.

On the PC version everything could be done either by clicking with the mouse or using keyboard shortcuts. With the iPad version it all runs through your fingers which is a different and nice touch. It feels natural for this game. Your ships actions move as fast as your finger can go unless you don’t like playing the game in real-time and pause every 5 seconds to set your strategy. I myself play it 90-10. 90% of the time in real-time, occasionally hitting that pause when things are just to hectic.

At the start of each game you select the ship type you want to use from what you have unlocked, name it and your crew members. Then you are on your way. Through your campaign every action taken to your ship is your choice. You want it to be a stealth and dodgy ship, then you build out the specs that way. If you want it to be a super powered brute with the protection of drones, then you build it that way. There are a numerous amount of ship build out variations that can keep the game fresh and challenging (if it is not already challenging enough).

Graphics

This game is not going to set the world on fire with its graphics. It has that 8-bit throw back feel but polished. This adds to the charm of the game. If it was overly flashy and super detailed it could possibly be distracting to the player who instead of focusing on the battle at hand is too busy admiring the graphic details of the game.

Could they have added a bit more animation to the game? Sure they could have but then the overall control mechanics would have been thrown for a loop. So simply put the visuals work perfectly with all that is laid before you in FTL.

Sound

FTL’s soundtrack is very fitting for a space command type game. It has that futuristic sound and adds to the situations at hand. I know in some people’s case you could play the opening theme to FTL and it will trigger PTWS. I’m looking at you good sir!

The SFX go great with this game as well. Each and every bit of the games sounds serve the greater whole of the game, submerging the player. One thing I wish there was though is each race having some sort of sound or voice. Sure when they die they each make a unique sound but if they are in trouble in which ever part of the ship they are on having them call out for help would be a nice little touch.

Lasting Appeal

Between the PC version and iPad version I cannot tell you how many hours of this game I have logged. It’s definitely a lot and I keep coming back for more and more. To date I can count how many times I’ve been victorious with this game with two hands. For one I like trying to beat the game in different ways. The other, I can’t let this game one up me and each time I fail I have to get back on that horse and show this game I can be victorious.

With this game having 10 different ships and each having 3 layouts you can get a lot out of it. If you want to try each version out and see if you can complete the game with each one. There are also 3 difficulty settings for this game; easy, medium and hard. Which is more like hard, super hard and hell mode. So for the brave souls that venture into the hard mode every time out, I salute you!

Have any stories of anguish you want to share from any of your FTL campaigns or you just want to vent on how much you hate to love this game? Let us know all that fun stuff in the comments below.

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