FTL: Faster Than Light Review

FTL Logo Screenshot

*Sources of screenshots are listed in their respective file-names.

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FTL: Faster Than Light* gameplay from the Video Games and the Bible YouTube channel:

FTL: Faster Than Light makes you the captain of your own starship (ala Star Trek), with a unique focus on simulation rather than traditional first-person combat.

This means you can open airlocks to extinguish flames or suffocate an enemy boarding party:

FTL Screenshot 2

Extinguishing flames near the engine room and port side…

Reroute power from your oxygen system to your engines to dodge enemy fire:

FTL Screenshot 7

My oxygen is draining, but at least that Heavy Laser missed me…

These are just some of the many tactical options available. However, many of these decisions–from defensive positioning to when to fire your battery of flak cannons–must be made quickly.

FTL Screenshot 4

My Shields have been knocked down, the Rebel Flagship attacking me is cloaked, my Weapons system is damaged and my veteran Shield operator is about to die…What do I do?

To ensure players of all skill levels can enjoy the game regardless of reflexes, you may pause the action at any time by pressing the Space bar. This places any tactical mistakes squarely on the player, as you are given essentially unlimited time to plan your strategy.

FTL Screenshot 8

Cloaked just in time…

All of these opportunities for emergent tactics wouldn’t mean much if confined by a traditional “campaign” structure. FTL solves this potential issue with a clever Beacon/Sector map system.

FTL Screenshot 9

That red zone signifies the Rebel Fleet giving chase…

You hold information vital to the survival of the Federation and must navigate through 8 randomly-generated Sectors to confront the Rebel Flagship. To get through Sectors, you’ll move between the “Beacons” inside while trying to stay ahead of the encroaching Rebel fleet. Each Beacon contains a situation reminiscent of early Adventure games:

FTL Screenshots 11 (1)

The Slug captain explains that they upgraded the Rock ship’s reactor and now the ‘thick boulder heads’ are refusing to pay for the work done. The Rock Captain says the ‘slime balls’ did a poor job that is not worth their agreed upon price…

Your choices determine how events unfold and may result in rewards or permanent damage to your ship/crew. In the example below, your actions earn the Stealth Cruiser vessel for use in future playthroughs.

FTL Screenshot 12

No matter what quests you take and what decisions you make, everything leads up to “The Last Stand” at Sector 8.

FTL Screenshot 10

Here, you will battle the Rebel Flagship for the fate of the Federation:

FTL Screenshot 13

The Rebel Flagship…

Since FTL: Faster than Light is a roguelike, death at any point is permanent.

FTL Screenshot 14

Permanent death, combined with the various simulated/randomly-generated elements above makes FTL an extremely challenging game. Getting to the 5th sector for the first time is considered an achievement (and unlocks the Engi ship for future playthroughs).

FTL Screenshot 15

However, investing the time to learn the games’ systems and how to be an effective player make this Victory screen one of the most rewarding sights in gaming.

FTL Win Screen Image

My heroic crew…

The numerous achievements/side quests and their associated unlockable vessels breathe replayability into the game. Knowing you only have one more task to complete before receiving a new ship provides the motivation to try again:

FTL Screenshot 1

And again:

FTL Screenshot 16

And again:

FTL Screenshot 17

Conclusion:

The incredible design of FTL: Faster Than Light shines from every random encounter, every last-ditch flooding of the airlock and every panicked slam of the “Retry” button. Unfortunately, we also see some attitudes regarding God and religion that seem out of place.

Potential Concerns:

One of the systems you can have on board your ship (such as Hacking, the Medbay, etc.) is Mind Control. This turns one of the crew members of your opponent into an ally, wreaking havoc on the enemy ship.

FTL Mind Control System Image from Steam Store Page

Red circles surround the Mind Control system icons.

One random event has a crew “Thank the Gods” after you supply them with fuel. A Mantis rescued from an escape pod can also consider you “a messenger from the god of mercy” and demand to join your crew. 

FTL Screenshot 3

Thank the Gods. We can finally get out of here! We’re jumping straight home so take this extra weapon. We won’t need it, hopefully.

Although these are hardly referencing the biblical God, the following random encounter contains an interesting attitude regarding religion in general:

You encounter a small craft with minimal propulsion; its Rock crew-member explains that the Rock home-world is run on lies and propaganda that keep the populace in check, and that they want no part of it.

You encounter a small craft with minimal propulsion; its Rock crew-member explains that the Rock home-world is run on lies and propaganda that keep the populace in check, and that they want no part of it.

If you respond by saying their god sent them to be a part of your crew you will receive one of two messages:

They barely hear out your appeals before yelling, “These are the lies I sought to escape!” Looks like they’re charging weapons!

They listen to your appeals and whisper, “Traitors to truth. You’re no better than them!” Chaos ensues.

On the other hand, if you promise to share with them the “truths they’ve been denied” or your suite of scientific data, there is a chance for them to join you as members of your crew.

FTL Screenshot 6

Some instances of profanity are present, mainly involving the word for an illegitimate child:

The outpost hails you, “The pompous [expletive] expected free service just because they defeated the Federation. Take this for the help [gives reward].”

There are a number of alien races, including:

-The Crystal (race composed entirely of crystals)

FTL Crystal Race from FTL Wiki

 

-The Rockmen (race composed entirely of stone)

FTL Rockmen Race from FTL Wiki

-The Slugs (race with the power of telepathy)

FTL Slug Race from FTL Wiki

Buy Now! (Steam)

Buy Now! (Humble Store)

Purchasing this game through the Humble Store (above) not only gives you a Steam code, but DRM-free copies of the game on every available platform.

10% of each purchase through Humble Store goes to charity.

*This title was received for review/coverage. See our statement of ethics here and game review criteria here.
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*Do you want to be saved?

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*More reviews from Video Games and the Bible.

About Nelson

Writer, amateur #gamedev, and Founder o' Video Games and the Bible. My interviews bring the boys to the yard. Featured from Kotaku to Rock Paper Shotgun. Dropsy.
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