FTL brings something to the table that has been lost in a lot of new titles that come out. Death matters and brings some stress while at the same time not actually being a huge deal. FTL is almost rogue like, in that the game is random and death comes quickly and almost instantly if you do not pay attention. At the same time the the game is easy to jump right back into with a new knowledge of the systems at play that give you a better chance of survival in the next play through.
The game itself is kind of hard to describe but bear with me. It is almost like a version of Oregon Trail but in Space. Your screen, and most of your time in FTL, is centered on your ship managing the minute to minute going ons. You are constantly managing your currency called scrap material and using it to manage your ships systems, upgrades, fuel and crew. There is a constant choice battle between upgrading parts and fuel that is a little overwhelming at first for some people but makes perfect sense very quickly.
There is a meta map that has your ship traveling from point to point to get to hubs with random encounters at every click of the mouse. Your goal is to take a message to a specific destination to save the federation. Before you can do that you will have to deal with some random space pirates and friendlies in trouble. These encounters that happen after every notch in your travels might be as simple as fighting an enemy ship and as complex as opening up a multi-part quest that has your crew escorting a friendly ship to a destination. After finishing each event you can be rewarded with more scrap , weapons or crew members that will join you for the rest of that game.
What really makes this game work is how bite sized the game is. At any point in the encounters and battles you can press the space bar to pause the action and really take in what’s going on. This makes the game flow at the pace of the player. You can go as fast as you want, flying off the handles and taking care of every disaster by the seat of the pants. It also allows the more meticulous players to slow down and really think out every move. Every jump point on the map is a quick thing as well. It’s rewarding every time to win a quick battle or to help out a civilian cruiser. The rewards at the end give you a carrot to constantly be chasing.
FTL is a fun quirky game that almost any computer can play. It is great for killing time and playing with something in the background. It’s not the most in depth game, but for $10 on steam, it is worth a play through.
This review is based on a retail copy of the PC version of FTL