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FTL: Faster Than Light ,

The player controls a faster-than-light (FTL) travel capable spacecraft whose crew intercepted a rebel fleet data packet. The goal is a Federation fleet, waiting several space sectors away, while avoiding destruction or capture by the pursing rebel fleet.

At game start, the player chooses a spacecraft with several specific systems rooms (piloting, engines, weapons, life support, etc.), and a crew. The game randomly generates multiple space sectors à la roguelike games, with twenty-some interesting way-points per sector. The player must “warp” the ship between way-points, normally unaware what awaits at each point, making headway to an “exit” point leading to the next sector until the Federation is reached. Players can revisit way-points, but each warp jump consumes fuel and causes the rebel fleet to occupy more of the space in each sector. Encounters are more dangerous deeper within the rebel sphere of influence.

The player’s ship (left) in combat with an enemy ship in the game FTL: Faster Than Light. The GUI along the top, left, and bottom of the screen indicate the status of the player’s ship.

Way-points may include stores (in-game currency) offering ship systems, fuel, ammunition, and recruiting new crew. Other way-points may appear as distress calls, from stranded ships or traps set by rebels or hostile groups. Certain destinations are hazardous to the ship or ship functions, asteroid belts continually damage ships remaining within, or nebulae disable sensors. Hostile ships often attack the player then the game becomes a real-time space combat simulator where the player can pause the game for situation evaluation and command input. In combat, the player manages ship’s systems considering power demand, orders crew to specific stations or rooms to repair damage, and fires weapons upon the enemy. Ship damage includes specific system failure lasting until repaired by crew, hull breaches venting air into space, fires extinguished crew or air starvation, and hull damage is repaired only at stores and other specific locations. The game upon hull failure, ship destruction, or complete crew loss. The game uses permadeath; the player can save games between sessions but the saved game is overwritten on relaunch, preventing restarts from previous saves. The player wins combat by either destroying the enemy ship, eliminating the enemy crew or damaging the enemy ship into surrender. Wins earn resources for bartering, upgrading, or combat. Alternatively, the player may evade combat by jumping to another way-point after the ship’s engine to charge.

The game begins with a single ship, eight further ships are unlocked by completing objectives. Each ship has a second layout (different color scheme, equipment, and crew) unlocked by completing base hull specific objectives. Each ship design and layout begin focused on different game play aspects; the ship roster has designs for stealth, boarding, drone systems, and other variations. The game also has separate achievements with no game play impact. The game can be modified by the user to alter the various ship configurations.

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FTL: Faster Than Light Review 4.75 September 16, 2012