FTL: Faster Than Light

aka: FTL: Advanced Edition
Moby ID: 57826
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$9.99 new on Steam
Special Edition

Description official description

FTL: Faster Than Light is a tactical spaceship combat simulator, however rather than commanding a ship directly, the player manages and commands the crew of a ship in addition to several ship systems (power, weapons, shields, etc). Navigating the ship across a sector of space is turn-based, but ship-to-ship combat plays out in real-time. The game can be paused to make it easier to order the crew about in the heat of battle. Crew members can be sent to different stations (ship rooms) by selecting a crew member and clicking on his destination inside the ship. The ship layout is presented in a simple top down layout consisting of various rooms and corridors. There are more things the crew can do, such as fight fires, seal hull breaches and defend against invaders who beam aboard. Crew experience plays a vital role in the long run, as only a highly skilled crew can survive the later more difficult levels.

The game begins with a rather basic ship (several other models can be unlocked by completing achievements) and several crew members with no skills. The mission is to escape the pursuing Rebel forces by navigating eight sectors and reach the Federation Base in order to deliver vital information concerning the Rebels. The game is quite difficult and just reaching sector 5 unlocks an achievement. Along the way, you may encounters friendly or hostile forces consisting of Rebel patrols, Federation allies, distress beacons and traders who can supply improved weapons or special ship augmentations. For a price of course. Eventually the Rebels will advance far enough into a sector to make escape almost impossible, so while it is useful to explore as much as possible, making sure you can escape intact is vital.

The entire universe is randomly generated each time so no two attempts will be alike. The player also won't know exactly what sectors they will have to navigate until they get closer. Most encounters are randomly generated as well though the game steadily becomes more and more difficult with each passing sector.

Unlocking achievements allows the game to be played with a different starting ship and crew. Some require a completely different approach. For example the Engi cruiser has weak offensive weaponry but can often disable enemy weapons and keep the enemy harmless while it either uses remote drones to attack or powers up it's engine and escapes.

Faster Than Light is all about tactics and planing ahead. Though it features many different weapons and ship systems, it's up to the player to come up with tactics that will use such upgrades effectively rather than just get bigger guns and fight bigger enemies. To win the game it is necessary to learn which tactics work and survive long enough to reach the Federation forces and help them defeat the Rebels.

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Credits (Linux version)

1,052 People (7 developers, 1,045 thanks) · View all

Artist
Design
Programming
Sound
Music
With writing from
Advanced Edition special quest writer
Additional art
Additional design
Additional editing
Additional testing, advice and invaluable support
  • Alison
  • Maria
  • Bryan
  • Matthieu
  • Colin
  • Anton
  • Ethan
  • Andy
  • Xia Tai Yi
  • our parents
  • and many more
Thank you to all of our extremely generous Kickstarter backers, with a very special thank you to
  • A and K
  • A. Mills
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 57 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 61 ratings with 1 reviews)

Not quite fast enough.

The Good
Plenty of customization

Quite challenging

Engaging tactical combat

Inventory management

Quite addicting

The Bad
Lack of resources

scenarios start repeating soon

Fire spreads way too fast

Progression is too rough.

The Bottom Line
Story

FTL takes place at an undetermined year somewhere in the future; space travel has been mastered already and several alien races have been discovered too. The Federation that rules over everything space is threatened by an emerging army of rebels. The players is appointed command over a ship and has to deliver vital information to the capital of the Federation before the enemy fleet arrives. This journey takes you through several galaxies with randomized features and population, you'll encounter people in need of help and interact with all sorts of alien species along the way.

It's a decent setup, but there is one severe handicap: there isn't enough content to effectively randomize the game. I think that in total there are 5 races, 8 types of galaxies and roughly thirty different events, this means that a second playthrough will almost certainly match the first one about 50% of the time. Compare that to Binding of Isaac, which has so many power-ups and so many items that each session feels different. Even after clocking over eighty hours with that game, I still find new combinations and play-styles. In FTL I started seeing the same scenarios over and over again; after a few hours of play I already knew each solution to each situation that I could run into and I had gotten so used to combat that experimentation was worthless after obtaining the right weapons.

After having played the latest Xcom, it also feels lazy not to give characters a degree of personality. The staff working at Xcom did a decent job at making the story feel somewhat alive. By comparison, FTL feels like you waging a war between menu-screens.

Gameplay

FTL is a very addicting game that has some amazingly satisfying combat. Your goal is to make it to the end of the galaxies by tactically deciding your next destination, this happens when you select the "Jump" button at the top of the screen. The map has a lot of ways you can go and each location can have a different event, however, you can't just check everything in one shot because the enemy fleets draws nearer with every turn. Each location gives you a few text-windows explaining what is going on down there, upon which you can react by selecting a dialogue-option. You'll unlock more options when you raise your skills.

When you engage in combat, you must direct your men to their individual positions and activate the ship's weapons. Weapons have to charge, so a good balance and timing can make a huge difference. When a weapon is ready to fire you must select it and then click on the specific sector of the enemy ship that you wish to assault. Allowing the player to pick off individual sections allows for a lot of tactical diversity, since you can destroy their air-pumps and deplete their oxygen, or maybe bomb their shields and then fire on their weapons. Your soldiers can also delve into combat themselves if either your or the enemy decides to board the enemy ship.

There are a few problems that sour the fun though, as is always the case. The most glaringly obvious is that fire spreads way too fast, regardless of whether you are suppressing it or not. If you can't get rid off fire by opening airlocks, then you might as well restart the game because you are screwed already. Shields also regenerate way too fast and are way too relevant in combat. If your weapons can't penetrate an enemy shield, then you pretty much have no chance at all. Fuel is also way too scarce, so even on easy I had several moments where I just barely made it to a store. These issues might seem minor, but they are real annoyances that shouldn't be too difficult to fix.

Presentation

I already mentioned that this game feels too much like you are constantly interacting with a menu before and I think the problem might lie in the boring presentation. You are pretty much staring at still images for most of the ride and not much ever happens: you click around a menu, see a short animation, get numerical feedback and that's it. The art is not very amazing either and it would have been entertaining to see drawings of the races we are interacting with, instead of just the minuscule sprites that we have now.

Replay-value

Despite of the lacking randomization mentioned earlier, I still feel that FTL is fairly replayable. The tight arcade action is very enjoyable and finding new parts to stick to your ship feels like seeing a son grow up after a while. It's however limited to maybe two weeks, after which the fun while gradually die out and you decide to let it rest for a few patches. The repeating scenarios are just a bit dull and when I mentioned in my Spore review that I wanted a more focused space-adventure, I didn't quite mean this. In many ways Spore's space-phase was even better than FTL, since it had more freedom and the difficulty was more appropriate.

Extras

You can get new designs for your ship by unlocking the in-game achievements, but I didn't unlock enough to know if it has a lot of impact to gameplay. If done right, then this feature might keep the game alive for a while longer, but the one ship I did unlock wasn't that spectacular.

Verdict

FTL is equally challenging and frustrating, but both of those qualities work towards making the game more addicting. You want to finish the story just once, you want to get good at it and you want to max out your crew. There are some major annoyances spread throughout the gameplay and the randomized content is not quite a success, but overall the premise is interesting and pretty well done.

The game doesn't quite justify the 10 euros price-tag for me though, especially since I paid half of that for much more substantial games. If you can pick it up in a sale though (Christmas sales incoming!!!), then this is a purchase you won't feel too bad about afterwards.

Windows · by Asinine (957) · 2012

Discussion

Subject By Date
Very nice. Indra was here (20767) Jun 2, 2013

Trivia

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2012 – One of the Top 10 Games of the Year

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by mister feces.

Windows Apps added by Sciere. Browser added by Foxhack. iPad added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Sciere, Patrick Bregger, Plok, Kennyannydenny.

Game added September 28, 2012. Last modified February 22, 2024.