I’ve been on holiday the last week and so I’ve been taking the time to play some games. One game in particular I’ve been playing a lot of is FTL. FTL or Faster Than Light is a sort of space-ship simulator with elements of rogue-like gameplay.
It’s available on Steam and GOG, but I’d recommend getting it via the FTL website as that way you get the Windows, Linux and Mac versions, as well as a Steam key too.
What I really enjoy about FTL is the fact that it really feels like you’re managing a spacecraft and the rebels constantly on your tail add a real sense of urgency and danger to each decision you make. In FTL you get to control power distribution to various ship systems, you control the doors and can vent oxygen into space via the airlocks. You control individual crew assignments and each crew member has their own health bar as well as the ship itself having both hull damage and shield strength.
The fact that the game employs the rogue-like of perma-death (no reloading from an old save) and randomly generated maps and events makes every game unique and even the events themselves have multiple possible outcomes which are randomly chosen meaning you can’t even keep an eye out for things you recognise, as that guy you rescued last game that joined your crew might blow himself up in a crazed rage taking out half your ship in the next game.
The game is also brutally hard and unforgiving. I’ve yet to complete it though I’ve been close on several occasions. To show just how fickle the game can be, I played one game on ‘Normal’ difficulty and managed to destroy part of the rebel flagship at the end, but got defeated. I then played an ‘Easy’ difficulty game and died on my first jump – the game lasted all of about 2 minutes!
It’s frustrating, but ultimately incredibly rewarding and satisfying. Every decision you make, every action you take in the game has a real effect on you chances of success which only adds to the aforementioned sense of urgency. It’s an incredibly fun game and if you’ve ever wondered what you’d do when you have aliens destroying you oxygen producers, your engines are on fire and you have a choice between firing one last shot in the hopes it’ll take out the attacking ship or diverting all power to the medbay to heal your crew so you can attempt to retake and repair the ship and retreat, well, FTL is for you.