Product Review: FTL: Faster Than Light
Pros: – randomly generated levels and scenarios leads to high replayability
– exciting to be the captain of a spaceship and its crew
– sometimes impossible situations can be difficult to accept
– randomly generated elements can sometimes repeat noticeably
FTL: Faster Than Light is a roguelike set on a spaceship escaping a Rebel fleet to deliver vital intelligence to the battle-worn Federation. It’s fun, challenging, and unforgiving.
“Man is a gaming animal. He must always be trying to get the better in something or other.”
The player is the invisible captain to a starship (perhaps the commanding officer is AI?) commanding the crew to man various stations and attack various parts of enemy ships. Occasionally there will be fires to put out, intruders to fight, hull breaches to repair, and ship systems to fix. There’s no shortage of tasks and that’s not even accounting for various random events that can crop up as the crew jump from beacon to beacon evading the Rebel fleet.
Part of the charm – and sometimes frustration – of FTL: Faster Than Light is that every game is randomly generated. There are up to 9 official ships to choose from at the time of writing with much more available through community mods and even if you choose the same ship 10 times you’ll have 10 vastly different playthroughs. Sometimes the situation is impossible to come out from so the player has to give up the idea that success is always possible and this can be a drastic change for anyone who has not played a rogue-like before.
Adding to the challenge is a subtle soundtrack that picks up excitement in hostile encounters and retreats back into the background otherwise. It’s not immediately noticeable but the modulations in the music add to the adrenaline of encountering enemy ships while on the run from a looming enemy fleet.
The interface is crisp and clear and the graphics are colorful. Sometimes it can be a bit difficult to select specific crew members or recognize them quickly but most of the time everything is pretty clear. The player can also pause the game at any time to plan and give orders to be executed when resumed. This largely mitigates any trouble with the interface.
FTL: Faster Than Light is a great way to spend time on a lazy afternoon and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in games with role-playing elements, randomly generated levels, and space-themed setting.