I LOVE this game.
And when I say love, I got the game on the 20th:
And, by the 23rd, this is what the steam page looked like:
Now I don’t know about you, but I might have a problem… and too much free time. And for those of you that don’t see why, I’m averaging 6.3Hrs/day! That’s more than a quarter of a day, every day, for three days!
For those of you who don’t know, the basic premise of the game is that you’re a captain seeing your ship from a top down perspective, you have the ability to tell people where to go, what systems to power, what to repair, what weapons to fire, who to fight and so on. You advance by jumping between FTL nodes. Each time you arrive at a node you get greeted by a little bit of text which pretty much says one of the following:
- There’s nothing here
- There’s something potentially dangerous here, do you want to check it out
- There’s someone here who needs help
- There’s someone here who needs help and you have a system/person that can help them
- There’s someone here attacking someone else
- There’s someone here who hasn’t noticed you
- There’s someone here who has noticed you
Said in a billion different ways. Basically, you can find all the info you need about an area by looking at three or four choice words in the opening text box.
My experience of the game has been very mixed for almost every playthrough I do. By the end of it the ship I’m in usually has some shields, a good range of weapons and a balanced power supply (and the optional crew teleporter). The purpose of the game is that one should build up what they can scavenge before fighting a missile/drone/laser spewing supership who likes to run away despite being advertised as the biggest, baddest boy in the shop. But most of the fights aren’t that.
Now I hear what you’re saying “Surely that gets boring super quickly” and yes, I can see why you’d think that but I’ve found that the game make excellent use of rarity. It’s highly unlikely that by the end of two playthroughs, regardless of if you had the same ship to begin with, that you’ll have the same upgrades – even if you tried to. This is due to the random factor which, unlike most games, isn’t determined at the beginning but rather, composed throughout every different node you go to. It’s this randomness that makes the game enjoyable after so many playthroughs because hey, this MIGHT be the time you get the ion launcher II and can finally shred the shields of that guy you hate!
Which brings me on to my next point: Dying is fun. Whereas most games use dying as a punishment for poor judgement (not saying you’ll last long by doing that) in FTL, death feels much less punishing, and much more like “Well then, that was fun! Let’s do it again!”. Even thought you got that one weapon layout that would wreak havoc, it doesn’t matter because chances are you’ll get a better loadout next time. And a fair few times, dying doesn’t feel like you made a mistake, but rather that you just had some poor luck. What’s the chances there’s would be a Zoltan in the Rock homeworlds? Pretty slim, but there was, and you died.
So to sum up:
- Interesting gameplay
- Excellent replayability
- Nicely segregated unlocks
- Amazing use of rarity
- Pretty smooth real time combat
Which earns FTL the MeeM Sticker of Approval.