Friday Feature: FTL

Here’s a real life situation I encountered this week, and I think it’s pretty universal:

You’re sitting in your room lazily watching Star Trek: Voyager when you hear the peerless Captain Kathryn Janeway say something like, “reroute all available power to the shields and begin charging phasers!” You begin to think to yourself, “Gosh, I wish I could reroute power through some stuff and charge things to shoot other things…”

Well, the good news for you is that there’s a game that lets you do just that!

Enter the video game, FTL: Faster Than Light.

In video-game classification, FTL is a roguelike space-sim with simplistic graphics and a high degree of difficulty. Its almost flash-game-like graphics make it a very unassuming title in the ever-highly detailed landscape of AAA video games, but as I mentioned when I recommended the Infinity Engine, graphics don’t make a game!

And it’s also worth noting that FTL is definitely not a AAA game. It was kickstarter funded and can now be purchased on GOG.com for a whopping $9.99, but I’ve seen it dip down to $2.49 during their more aggressive sales.

FTL has a vague background story-line but the real fun of the game comes in the trial and error execution. When you play FTL, you’ll almost certainly lose the game a handful of times before making it to the final level. The random encounters and equipment drops mean you can never really count on having the same ship more than once.

Your starting ship isn’t much, but it gets the job done until you find some more impressive equipment.

Occasionally this is a frustrating aspect of the game. It hurts to have a really awesome layout and a great crew only to have your ship boarded by insectoid aliens that just tear it up from the inside out. Sigh.

Such as war, they say.

Dying is just part of the game! Eventually you learn the best way to deal with certain problems, but prepare to see your ship blow up a few times before you do.

BUT, even when you lose a really good setup, you won’t lose much time. The game can be completed in about an hour and a half (if you make it to the end) so you’re rarely going to be giving up more than just a little while and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy the process!

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