FTL is a rogue-like space exploration and survival game that began as a Kickstarter earlier this year. You play as a Federation starship with the mission to deliver vital information to the fleet with the Rebel armada in hot pursuit. The interface is relatively simple with you moving crew members from stations aboard the ship and repairing damage while making use of the ship’s systems like weapons, shields, and engines to overcome obstacles before jumping to the next star system. The game has some RPG elements where systems can be upgraded and new items bought at stores to increase your effectiveness.
This game is a lot of fun. I’ve heard others describe it as a Firefly-esque game, which I wouldn’t say is entirely inaccurate. You manage your ship’s resources so you can keep flying, and, sometimes, you can’t play the hero if it means your crew’s survival. It’s easy to become attached to the crew aboard your ship and get invested in the situations they find themselves in. In one system, you could find a crashed ship whose surviving crew member has been trapped there for years. He joins your crew after rescuing him and assists in repelling boarders, putting out fires, and even taking over for the weapons officer who died trying to rescue civilians from giant alien spiders, only to be laid to rest with his new family when your crew gets in over their heads and their ship is destroyed. There are dozens of possibilities, and I keep discovering new scenarios! What makes it even better is the game provides new options to deal with certain problems depending on your available resources, such as a crew member of certain species or a new system like the teleporter.
While it’s easy to become attached, I wouldn’t recommend it, because FTL is a hard game, which will force you to watch your beloved crew and ship die again and again and again. I’ve poured countless hours into it already and have yet to beat the game (but I’ve been really close!). The thing is you won’t mind blowing up along the way, because the gameplay is so addictive. Aiming for achievements or unlockables, trying out a new ship, or even just the randomized nature of the map keeps the game fresh.
FTL is available on Steam, GOG.com, and through the FTL main website, ftlgame.com, for $9.99.
Presentation: 8.5, Story: 9.0, Gameplay: 9.5, Overall: 9.0