So I asked for feedback on what people would like to read about, and the first response was asking for what I thought of FTL the hugely successful indie game from last year
So what is FTL? The official website describes it as…
FTL is a spaceship simulation roguelike-like. Its aim is to recreate the atmosphere of running a spaceship exploring the galaxy (like Firefly/Star Trek/BSG etc.) In any given episode of those classic shows, the captain is always yelling “Reroute power to shields!” or giving commands to the engineer now that their Warp Core is on fire.
Me, I say it is a prime example of how in this day and age you DON’T NEED million dollar budgets, HD cinematics or sound, or even a large team to create an engaging, high quality game that can be played again and again.
The game has a fairly simple premise, you are the captain of a ship fighting on the side of good and right, and the bad guys are invading your home, you are carrying vital information for your people and you have to get it to them before the bad guys fleet catches up with you.
You travel through a series of sectors in space, encountering pirates, automated drones, said bad guys ships as well as a host of civilian ships, outposts and miscellaneous events. In most cases you have various options to select from in how to deal with these events.
For example you may come across a civilian ship being attacked by a pirate ship, you could choose to intercede on behalf of the civilians or instead just ignore the encounter and jump away. One of the aspects I enjoy the most about the game is that you get additional options appear in these depending on the equipment your ship has and the crew aboard. One example here is finding a stranded person on an asteroid, normally you have the choice of rescuing or ignoring them, if you rescue them you run the risk of them having gone mad and attacking your crew. However if you have a crew member of the psychic race you have the option of them scanning them to figure out if there is danger.
Every space fairing game comes down to a few factors, one of them being the ships your going through space in. In FTL you can eventually choose between nine different ships, these are unlocked by doing various things, from reaching milestones in the games storyline, or by completing specific randomised missions within the game.
You start with The Kestral, a human ship with all human crew that comes equipped with a pretty bog standard laser and a missile tube. to put this into perspective we need to mention shields, most ships have shields, lasers are blocked by shields but they weaken them, missile based weaponry however ignores shields but does not weaken them, the main downside is that they require missiles to use, which can run out.
The other ships each come with different capabilities and initial load-outs, in both armament and crew. This reflects the many different tactics for getting to your objective, you can go down the sheer fire-power route, or you can amass a Drone army to do your bidding, then there are stealth systems, or a crew teleporter which transports your crew to perform boarding attacks. There are more nuances than that but those should be enough to get across that this is way more than a one trick system.
There are 6 races in the FTL universe, as per normal the vanilla race is the humans, with no special benefits or hindrances. Then you have the others, each of them provide something unique and having them on board can unlock options in encounters. The Mantis are an insectoid race, fast on their feet and good in hand to hand combat, but can bearly figure out how to hold a screwdriver. The Engi as the name would suggest are engineers, great at fixing stuff not so great at fighting. Rockmen are High on hit points and immune to fire but slow to move, I’ll leave the others as a surprise.
Combat is both a simple affair and at the same time strategic. Your weapons have a delay between each firing, and you can aim each one at a different section of the opposing ship, taking out ship systems gives you an edge in differing areas. So you have to juggle where you are shooting at, with moving your crew about to repair your own systems, putting out fires and manning their stations (which provide bonuses to the combat). It is paced about perfectly, quick enough that you dont feel overly rushed but not too slow that you do still find yourself feeling the pressure at times.
Definately! And beleive me you will play it A LOT before you beat it, even on the easy setting. But this is not a bad thing, each run through will take 20-45 minutes roughly and you will learn from your mistakes the hard way. Combine this with the myriad of acheivements, ships and quests available the replayability will keep you playing long after the price tag has attained its value.