I’m late with this FTL: Faster than Light review, I know. I could have sworn I had already done it but if I did, I don’t know what I did with it. In any event, here is our review.
FTL: Faster than Light is a game based upon managing a spaceship trying to escape a rebel fleet. You control which of the many stations – shields, weapons, engine – each member of your meager crew manages. The only station that needs manned for play is the ship’s controls but placing someone at, say the weapons allows them to skill up at running that system. That provides the system a performance boost so it’s a good idea to pick one crew per station and keep them there as much as possible.
I say “as much as possible” because it can be hard to just leave crew at a single station when enemy ships keep breaking various systems and putting holes in your ship. By directing a crew member to a room with something that needs repair they will immediately being fixing it. This can range from repairing a system to putting out fires to patching cracks in the hull.
Combat can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes you’ll fight even matches for the length of the game, but more often than not you’re fighting with either a sizeable advantage or disadvantage. This can be fun when you overcome long odds but getting boarded by an entire crew of Mantis people (one of the races in the game, one that specializes in man-to-Mantis combat) in the first system – as happened to me – feels a little cheap. The random nature of the game means that some games will be almost too easy while others nigh impossible when you can’t find a station to repair and restock for several systems, for example.
Visually the game is nice a clean with simple character sprites. Sound is almost non-existent, with simple weapons sounds and alarms blaring during emergencies. This basic, simple presentation doesn’t hurt the game at all. The minimalist appearance means that the system requirements are pretty low, plus it seems to feed into the isolation-of-space feel.
It may be too luck-based at times for my tastes but the experience as a whole is really fun. There’s something about the Star Trek feel of space combat that I really enjoy. It’s not perfect, what with its heavy reliance on random encounters and extremely sparse presentation but in the end it’s a fun way to spend 30 minutes at a time. I wouldn’t play it for long stretches, but if you like space command and have the patience for its slower pace I’d recommend you give it a shot.
|Good space combat command feel; Fun in short bursts; Unique experience||Minimal, sparce presentation; Randomness can be frustrating|