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FTL Review

by Eric Farmer 6 months ago in product review
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Is FTL a Fun Game?

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

Being a Starship Captain Is Pretty Hard

FTL is a strategy based starship game that was released in 2012. FTL is one of my favorite games of all time!

I am going to review the game and explain what I like and what I don’t like about it.

Why Did I Review This Game?

FTL is one of my favorite games.

How Long Have I Been Playing FTL?

FTL was one of the first games I bought on Steam. I have owned the game for almost ten years.

But I have not played it that much throughout the years. I have 155 hours recorded on Steam.

How Did I Review the Game?

I recently started to play the game again to review what I think about the game. I downloaded the Steam version, and I played it on my computer.

What Kind of Game Is FTL?

The main goal of FTL is to command a starship. You are being chased by an enemy fleet, and you need to move around in each sector until you get to the exit.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

As you jump to the beacons on the map, you will fight enemy ships or find events.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

You have a crew, and they man stations. You can also move your power around and decide what stations to keep active or not.

As the captain, there are many decisions you have to make at each beacon you visit.

Fights in the game are an interesting version of turn-based attacks that happen in real-time. You can pause the game at any time. You can issue commands while paused as well.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

As you progress in the game, you will have to deal with more complex situations.

Your engines are on fire! But you are also getting shot at, and your shields went down! If you don't act fast, you will become overwhelmed and destroyed.

Expect to pause often. I am sure some expert players can beat FTL in all real-time. But I can't imagine it as I would become overwhelmed.

FTL is a rogue-lite game. You need to beat the game in one go.

If all the crew of your ship dies or the ship explodes, you lose the game.

You upgrade your ship and crew as you progress in the game.

The Fleet Is an Interesting Mechanic

Your starship has plans vital to the federation. An enemy fleet is trying to stop you at all costs.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

As you play the game, the rebel fleet will start to take control of the sector in an attempt to catch up with you.

If the fleet catches up to you, then you will be forced to fight a very difficult encounter.

Being caught is not a game over. But you will get damaged a good deal before being able to jump away.

If you manage to destroy your attacker, you are rewarded with nothing other than fuel. The game makes this encounter something to avoid.

You will need to explore to have any chances of beating the game. So you will have to task risks on how long you are willing to stay in sectors.

The Different Ships Are Fun

As you play and beat the game, you will unlock new ships to command. Each ship has a different crew and different ship systems.

Each ship has alternative configurations as well.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

Upgrading the Ship Is Fun

It is fun to get stronger in FTL. There are many ways to upgrade your ship.

Getting stronger weapons has one of the biggest impacts on gameplay. But every single upgrade feels worthwhile in some way.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

Even the upgrades I consider to be weaker can play a role in events or have uses I would not have thought of.

You can also add new features to your ship that unlock more upgrades.

Some starships have special features built-in. You can upgrade those features as well.

You upgrade your ship by finding scrap in the game. The most common way to get scarp is to blow up another ship.

Screenshot of FTL Steam game.

FTL Is Very Hard

FTL is one of the hardest rogue-lites I have ever played, and I have only beat the game on easy mode.

As you jump to the beacons on the map, you will fight enemy ships or find events.

Exploring and making progress in the game is not too bad.

But once you get to the last sector, there is one of the biggest difficulty spikes I have ever seen in gaming. At the final sector, you find out very fast if you are not able to beat the game.

I know people can beat the game on hard and many times in a row. Thanks to YouTube and Twitch, I can see firsthand how bad I am at the game and how much better other players are.

I guess I am just not that good at the game despite how much I like playing it.

The Game Starts to Fee Like a Checklist

There are many ways you can get to the final sector and win the game.

But from experience, I have found unless you complete certain upgrades or have certain weapons winning the game is very hard or almost impossible.

The game does not feel as open-ended as it seems.

FTL Advanced Edition

FTL Advanced Edition was a major update made to the game.

The update adds new ships, systems, weapons, and a new race of characters to recruit and fight.

The update is very good, and it feels like a free DLC.

Advanced Edition is interesting. You might think the extra content would make the game easier. But it makes the game somewhat harder as now your foes have access to these things as well.

The Mods Are Nice

The base FTL game is fun. But there are many mods for FTL as well.

One of the most popular mods is FTL Captains Edition (CE).

Captains Edition is a mod that changes everything in the game. There are far too many changes to note.

FTL with the CE mod is a longer and more epic adventure when compared to the base game.

The mod makes the game harder than it already is. But the mod is so fun. I recommend playing the game with the mod at least once to see if you like it.

Do I Think the Game Looks Good?

The game has a simple cartoony look. The game looks nice enough.

I like how certain mods make the backgrounds and ships look neater, as the base game is a bit bland-looking.

Do I Think the Game Sounds Good?

The game sounds nice. The audio plays a part in convincing you that you are a captain of a ship.

The weapons have distinct sounds, and they sound like they have force as they impact other ships.

I love the FTL soundtrack, and I bought it on Bandcamp years ago. I still listen to it somewhat often. The music is very atmospheric, and I love how it fits the theme of the game.

Is FTL a Good Value?

FTL costs $10 (USD). The price is amazing for the amount of content you get out of the game. FTL can be a game that you will want to play many times.

There is no DLC for FTL. The one major update the game had was free.

Do I Recommend Buying FTL?

I would recommend buying FTL for a few types of players. Those who want to be ship captains and explore space. Those who like hard rogue-lite games and don’t mind losing often until you learn to win the game.

If you don’t like very hard games, you might want to pass on FTL. The game is fun, but there is no getting around how hard the game is.

How Often Do I Play FTL?

I have not played the game in a while. But I recently started to play it more often again for the review. I am now trying my best to beat the game one on normal as well.

So I plan on playing the game for a while.

product review

About the author

Eric Farmer

I love writing about video games, and I often write reviews for my favorite computer games.

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