Simplicity wears the crown in this brilliant space simulation roguelike. It’s always great to see a game that focuses on what makes it great. FTL’s gameplay is all about taking potentially devastating risks and managing your ship during fights. The straightforward commands that you can give to your ship’s crew members are easy enough to welcome all players, beginner or advanced.
Your first time experiencing combat will get you hooked. At first, it may seem simple: provide power to your weapons and shields and target the priority systems of your enemy. However, you will learn that there are much more efficient ways to manage your ship and turn those rebels into floating debris.
Permadeath looms over every choice you make in Faster Than Light because your next one could be your last. Combine the roguelike formula with the deceptively simple combat mechanics and you’ve got an infectious game on your hands.
The gameplay mechanics make it feel like Christmas morning, but the story of FTL is clearly not a big part of the experience. There is just enough to give you motivation to move on, and that’s about it. You will learn right away that you have important data for the Federation fleet and you are fleeing from the rebels who are desperate to halt your progression.
If you are craving a delicious storyline with lots of cutscenes, you will probably be left unfulfilled. All of the story will be presented via popup text boxes explaining your current situation, which is pretty straightforward. With each jump, the current sector of the galaxy you are exploring will reveal a randomly generated pickle that you will have gotten yourself in. It will then be your job to take care of business, guns a blazing.
Even though there isn’t a rich story to sink your teeth into, it still makes for a great experience due to the randomized encounters. Occasionally you will happen across stranded pilots in need of assistance while the rest of the time you will meet with pirates and smugglers who won’t hesitate to pierce your shields with burst lasers or poke holes in your hull with exploding breach bombs.
Alongside the basic presentation of the story, you will probably notice that the art of FTL isn’t a huge selling point either. Don’t get me wrong, the graphics are definitely not going to drive you away, but they also won’t be your main reason for playing this game.
Even though you may be left wanting when it comes to story and artistic style, the music and sound effects in Faster Than Light will force you to maintain a persistent grin throughout each run. That is, if you aren’t getting blown up by a ship full of Mantis pirates; in that case, you might not be grinning at all. Once again, simplicity is key here and the music is beautifully simple.
No matter what your interests in video games are, I think you will agree that Subset Games has created a great experience worthy of your time and money. If the addictive gameplay was on par with the story and graphics, I would have to say that the game wasn’t worth your time; however, the gameplay in FTL is what makes it a masterpiece. You can’t go wrong by showing the creators some love and picking up this game right away.