Sirens blared as my ship, The Kestrel, was hit by a stray missile. With my shields down, the Mantis cruiser opened up with two lasers and quickly disabled most of The Kestrel’s core systems. With life support offline and fire spreading throughout the ship, a fire bomb pushed past my shields to destroy the hull of the Kestrel, instantly killing my three-man crew.
In hindsight, I realized that I could have avoided the battle completely by rerouting all power to my faster-than-light drive and jumping to a nearby system; decisions like these are what make “FTL: Faster Than Light” a uniquely enjoyable experience. Created out of a successful Kickstarter campaign by Subset Games, this spaceship simulation is just the type of game I have been waiting on for a long time.
As a member of the Federation, you are put in control of a spaceship carrying information vital to stopping the oncoming Rebel forces. The game is projected in a top-down perspective of your ship with different systems labeled as separate rooms. Crew members are individually controlled and each member has specific traits and proficiencies associated with the ship’s various systems.
Although “Faster Than Light” features quite a few ships, the sheer amount of customizations available is what makes the game so much fun. There are countless ways in which you can upgrade your ship’s systems and these choices directly influence how you approach battles. Upgrades rely on the use of “scrap,” which is the standard currency of space. Purchasing decisions are a balancing act as you will need to balance your fuel supply with hull repairs, while also carefully selecting between potential upgrades. For example, upgrading drone systems while neglecting weapons means you will be stuck relying on automated drones to attack the enemy.
Shield and weapon system upgrades will come in handy when you face up against the numerous factions littered throughout the galaxy. Combat is incredibly interesting and, although you can pause the game at any time, battles are frantic and exciting. Choosing which systems to power during a battle is an incredibly hard decision that usually has serious repercussions. Sending more power to your shields will give you greater protection at the cost of possibly being unable to use your weapons, or by completely deactivating another system such as the “medbay.” These battles can be fought in any number of ways with a focus on firepower over shields, or even by teleporting your crew directly onto the enemy ship.
This rogue-like spaceship simulator is an exciting game that comes at a bargain price. Although the overall game is hampered by a very limited number of in-game events and enemies, “FTL: Faster Than Light” doesn’t disappoint; it is a unique title that will appeal to both armchair tacticians and space-opera aficionados.