FTL – Faster than light

I’m really late to the party on this one! FTL was released in 2012 originally, and I’ve always fancied trying it out, despite knowing nothing about it…..

Rave reviews, loads of people still playing it to this day, and a very active subreddit. Why not start now?

More importantly, I suppose. Why start FTL now?

Simply put, I’ve had an itch that I can’t scratch since playing Hades and honestly, my appreciation for the roguelike/roguelite genre has only increased. Watching the guys over at FullSync all slowly become obsessed with the Binding of Isaac. I’ve wanted to try FTL for the longest time, and seeing others getting sucked in, running and re-running over and over.

I want a piece of that action!


Quick look

So here I am. I’ve played 7 hours and barely gotten anywhere. FTL gives me that exact same “banging your head against a brick wall” experience that I got from Hades.

I bloody love it.

All I want right now, is to unlock a new ship, or, hell just an achievement. FTL swiftly tells me to get fucked as I keep gradually approaching the 5th sector and then decides to crush me, in game, and mentally.

You set off in your ship with your crew, with the simple task of crossing 8 sectors in space. Managing your fuel, your oxygen, and maintaining the ship as you go. FTL sounds easy, right? Nope!

Every single run is a game of chance and skill. Skill certainly helps, and continued failings have taught me how to be more effective and efficient as I go, but I’m not anywhere near ready.

Each sector is made up of points you have to visit, and you navigate between them to get to the exit area of that specific sector. FTL randomly generate the sectors and the points within them. Cool. What happens as you travel, though, is that you get struck with random encounters……sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes just a breath in the chaos.

Encounters, management, survival

Every point within a sector can be the difference between life and death. Do you intervene in civilians being attacked? Would you randomly attack slavers or perhaps take a bribe?

No matter what, you’re going to eventually get attacked, and managing that poorly can see your FTL run sooner than you would like. Shields up, weapons ready!

FTL needs you to manage your ship when you’re casually moving about sectors. Using scrap to upgrade it, keeping your crew alive and repairing it. Combat sees everything get turned to 11. Fires in the engine room, your crew running out of oxygen, systems down. Any battle can destroy a good run.

FTL is cruel, FTL hates me. The more competent I become, the more I focus on building elements of my ship and being over-confident in the first sector. I’ve been messed-up more than I’d like to admit, due to poor planning or the AI getting a sweet missile hit on a room, that’s set things on fire.

The problem is, it gets addictive very quickly. As you have a better run, or you escape a fight you weren’t sure you would survive, FTL gets its claws into you. That lovely menu music, twinkling away, lulling you back in for the oh-so crucial “just one more”.

I might survive longer this time! I know my shields need to be improved as a matter of priority. What if I save some civilians and the give me an improvement on my ship?

This is where FTL thrives. The “what if?” and “next time”. It could go better, christ, it couldn’t go worst than that last one!

Moments after this, my whole ship was messed-up, and everything went to shit.

Give it a go!

This isn’t a review. It’s an over-excited piece to say that if people haven’t given FTL a try in the past 9 years, it’s still totally worth it. It scratches a lot of itches, it stresses me out and it thrills me like some games just can’t.

I rename my crew and then see my friends die due to lack of oxygen, or a boarding party wrecking them whilst I was focusing on trying to take down the enemy shields, and get my engines fixed.

FLT is a lot, and it’s relatively very little. A 250mb install from Steam. Very little going on graphically or technically (it was a mobile game, don’t forget!), but it all just works. FLT is a wonderfully crafted bastard that I want to keep going at until I get some unlocks.

I’ll never be able to write enough to help people understand what it is. But if you like a rogue-like game (Hades for instance, minus the pure sex!), and you love learning from your defeat, FTL might just be for you.

There’s a long way to go before I’m competent, but damnit, I’m trying! Just hope I don’t use your name as a new crewmate, because you might be killed sooner than you’d like. My mismanagement will often be the cause of failure, but I’ll learn!

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