There is no doubt that indie games have become a serious contender against the multimillion mainstream titles. But rather than working against them, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and even Steam have drummed up their support for the indie games by allowing indie titles to appear on their platform and even devoting a large portion of their space. Titled as “Arcade Games” these games are available with Microsoft or Steam’s insane discounts and it is possible to get the latest indie game for literally pennies. They even showboat their love for indie platform games at E3, Eurogamer or Gamescom and you can’t blame them, it’s becoming a big business.
So when indie developer Subset Games released FTL back in September 14, 2012, you would have thought, like most games, the single-player, top down strategy and rogue like space combat simulator would be boring by now.
But no, two years later FTL still captivates the imagination of players who see themselves as starship captains like their sci-fi heroes from Star Trek, Star Wars and even Battlestar Galactica. Exploring the galaxy with a small crew and a starship has never been more challenging and exhilarating. You can voyage into a galaxy where you encounter various situations that require making captain like decisions that can result in many different outcomes. Since all events are randomly generated, each time you play will be significantly different.
As a strategic, real time combat game, you can’t just blast away your enemy with Plasma torpedoes or Laser beams. You need to ration your energy incase you need to hyperspeed the hell out of a sticky situation. The more you explore the galaxy the more you can upgrade your starship and manage the power between essential systems and choosing which enemy systems to target. However you can’t run a starship without a crew, so you’re going to have to make sure your crew are always at their battle stations incase they need to fight off intruders or mend your ship. In one playthrough you can be a helpful captain, willingly giving away your supplies to help others or you can be the tyrant of the galaxy, destroying and looting as you roam the galaxy. The choices you make in FTL ultimately determine your destiny in the game.
No matter how many times you travel across the galaxy, battle pirates or slave ships, there is always a new quest or distress signal that will steer you away from your maiden voyage to the final boss. When in one playthrough it may seem your voyage wasn’t too difficult but one battle with a rebel ship constantly breaking through your shields and the suns solar flares setting your starhip on fire can make any rogue like veteran want to abandon their ship.
FTL creates a brilliant limbo fear of knowing that your killing spree and smooth cruise through the galaxy may come to a fiery and explosive end. Even if you do survive a horrible battle, your vessel is still battered, some of your crew members are dead, fuel supply is low and you’re out of missiles. The phrase “”In space no one can hear you scream” comes to mind.
FTL: Faster Than Light is one of the most rewarding top down strategy and Roguelike games out there. For a game that provides hours and hours of galaxy fun, for a mere £6.99 on Steam it certainly is a bargain. FTL shows a voyage where you explore strange new worlds and seek out extra-terrestrials. It is up to you where you can become the tyrant or leader of the galaxy.