FTL: Faster Than Light Review – Strategic Space Exploration

Experience the immersive world of FTL: Faster Than Light, a captivating and strategic space exploration game. Read our review and uncover the wonders of this epic space odyssey.

I recently had the chance to embark on an incredible journey through the vastness of space with FTL: Faster Than Light, a captivating and strategic space exploration game. In this immersive experience, I found myself captivated by the endless possibilities as I commanded my own spaceship, making critical choices and facing constant challenges along the way. Whether it was governing resources, skillfully navigating through treacherous enemy territory, or managing a diverse crew, FTL kept me on the edge of my seat with its thrilling gameplay and strategic depth. Join me as I share my review of FTL: Faster Than Light and uncover the wonders that await in this epic space odyssey.


FTL: Faster Than Light is a strategic space exploration game that offers an exciting and challenging experience. In this game, players take on the role of a spaceship captain tasked with delivering critical information to the Federation fleet. Along the way, they must navigate through a vast and dynamically generated galaxy, making strategic decisions, managing resources, and engaging in tactical combat. The game has received high praise for its innovative and engaging gameplay mechanics, as well as its replayability and variety.

Overview of FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light, developed by Subset Games, is a unique blend of roguelike, strategy, and space exploration genres. It was released in 2012 and quickly gained popularity due to its addictive gameplay and challenging difficulty levels. The game can be played on various platforms, including PC, Mac, and iOS devices, allowing players to experience its thrilling adventures wherever they go.

Gameplay and Mechanics

In FTL: Faster Than Light, players control a spaceship and its crew as they navigate through an ever-changing galaxy. The game is played in a top-down perspective, with the player making decisions and issuing commands from the captain’s chair. The gameplay revolves around managing resources, upgrading the spaceship, and making strategic decisions to survive encounters with hostile forces and random events.

Reception and Achievements

FTL: Faster Than Light has been praised by both players and critics for its unique and challenging gameplay. It has received numerous awards, including the “Excellence in Design” award at the Independent Games Festival in 2013. The game’s roguelike elements, strategic decision-making, and replayability have been highlighted as its greatest strengths. FTL has also gained a dedicated community of modders, who have created an extensive variety of mods to enhance the game’s content and customization options.

Storyline and Setting

Introduction to the Game’s Story

In FTL: Faster Than Light, players embark on a mission to deliver crucial data to the Federation fleet, which is engaged in a desperate struggle against the Rebel forces. As the captain of a small spaceship, your objective is to carry this information through multiple sectors, facing various challenges and dangers along the way.

Exploring the Galactic Sector

The galaxy in FTL is divided into different sectors, each containing multiple star systems and beacons. Players must explore these sectors by jumping from one beacon to another, encountering a mix of friendly or hostile ships, events, and stores. The nonlinear nature of the game allows players to choose their own paths, creating a unique experience in each playthrough.

Encounter with Rebel Fleet

As players progress through the game, they must be aware of the pursuing Rebel fleet, which is constantly advancing towards the Federation base. If the fleet catches up, it will engage in battle and potentially destroy the player’s spaceship. This adds a sense of urgency and pressure, forcing players to make quick decisions and prioritize their objectives.

Gameplay Features

Ship Management

One of the core gameplay elements in FTL is managing the spaceship. Players must oversee the ship’s systems, including weapons, shields, engines, and more. Allocating power to different systems, repairing damaged components, and upgrading the ship’s capabilities are essential for survival.

Crew Roles and Abilities

The crew members in FTL come with various abilities and roles, such as pilots, engineers, and combat specialists. Each crew member has their own set of skills, and players can assign them to different tasks on the ship. Managing crew assignments and ensuring their well-being is crucial for a successful journey.

Resource Management

Resources play a vital role in FTL: Faster Than Light. Players must manage their limited supplies of fuel, missiles, and drones, as well as collect scrap, the game’s currency, to purchase necessary upgrades and repairs. Balancing resource usage becomes especially important during long journeys or when faced with scarce supplies.

Upgrades and Unlockables

As players progress through the game and defeat enemy ships, they earn scrap that can be used to purchase ship upgrades. These upgrades can improve various aspects of the ship, such as weapons, shields, or hull strength. Additionally, players can unlock new ships and layouts by completing certain objectives or discovering secret encounters, adding to the game’s replayability.

Strategic Decision-Making

Choosing Paths and Routes

In FTL: Faster Than Light, players must make strategic decisions when choosing their path through the galaxy. Each beacon they encounter presents a choice that can have different consequences. Players must consider factors like potential rewards, risks, and the proximity of the pursuing Rebel fleet in order to make informed decisions that align with their objectives.

Balancing Risk and Reward

Throughout the game, players will face multiple encounters and events that involve potential risks and rewards. Engaging in combat with hostile ships, exploring derelict space stations, or assisting distress signals all involve varying levels of risk. These decisions require considering the potential rewards, such as resources or valuable items, and weighing them against the dangers they may pose to the ship and its crew.

Tactical Combat Decisions

Combat in FTL is tactical, requiring players to manage their ship’s systems and crew effectively. Players must maneuver their ship, target enemy systems, and make strategic decisions during battles, such as when to use certain weapons, activate special abilities, or deploy defensive measures. Victory in combat often requires careful planning and adapting to the enemy’s actions.

Challenging Difficulty Levels

Easy, Normal, and Hard Modes

FTL offers different difficulty levels to cater to players of varying skill levels. Easy mode provides a more forgiving experience, allowing players to explore the game’s mechanics and systems without being overwhelmed. Normal mode offers a balanced challenge, while Hard mode is designed to test even the most experienced players, introducing additional hazards and reducing the margin for error.

Randomized Events and Outcomes

A significant factor contributing to FTL’s replayability is the game’s random events and outcomes. Each playthrough presents different encounters and events, ensuring that no two games are the same. This unpredictability keeps players engaged and encourages experimentation, making each journey a unique experience.

Unlocking Additional Ships

FTL features a variety of ships and layouts that players can unlock by completing specific challenges or fulfilling certain criteria. Each ship has its own strengths and weaknesses, enabling players to experiment and find a playstyle that suits their preferences. Unlocking new ships provides additional goals and incentives for continued exploration.

Replayability and Variety

Unique Spaceship Layouts

Each ship in FTL has a unique layout, featuring different room arrangements and systems. This adds variety to gameplay, as players must adapt their strategies and tactics based on the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen ship.

Customizing Loadouts

Throughout the game, players can acquire new weapons, drones, and augments, allowing for customization and experimentation. Being able to tailor the ship’s loadout to suit different playstyles and facing varying challenges adds depth to the gameplay and enhances replayability.

Randomized Events and Locations

FTL’s dynamic universe ensures that each playthrough is unique. Randomized events, encounters, and locations keep players on their toes, as they never know what they will find in each sector. This element of surprise, coupled with the game’s challenging difficulty levels, guarantees that FTL offers hours of engaging gameplay.

Graphics and Sound Design

Pixel Art Style

FTL features a charming pixel art style that pays homage to classic retro games. The detailed sprite work brings the spaceships, crew members, and environments to life, immersing players in the game’s universe. The visuals are both visually appealing and functional, conveying the necessary information in a clear and easily understandable manner.

Ship and Environment Designs

The spaceship and environment designs in FTL are diverse and imaginative. Each ship has its own distinct look and feel, reflecting its role and capabilities in the game. The various sectors players encounter also showcase unique visuals, ranging from asteroid belts to nebulas, adding visual variety to the gameplay experience.

Energetic Soundtrack and Sound Effects

FTL’s soundtrack is a standout aspect of the game, featuring a mix of energetic and atmospheric tunes that enhance the gameplay and immerse players in the space-faring adventure. The sound effects, from the clashing of weapons to the alerts and warnings of various ship systems, add depth and immersion to the overall audio experience.

Community and Modding Support

Active Modding Community

FTL has a dedicated and active modding community that has created a plethora of mods for the game. These mods add new ships, weapons, events, and countless other features, significantly expanding the game’s content and customization options. The support from the modding community ensures that players can continue to enjoy fresh and unique experiences long after completing the base game.

Expansion Packs and DLCs

The success of FTL led to the release of expansion packs and DLCs that further enhance the game’s content and gameplay. These expansions introduce new ships, events, systems, and challenges, providing additional value for long-time players or those looking to extend their FTL experience.

Sharing Custom Built Ships

FTL allows players to save and share their custom-built ships with others. This feature enables players to showcase their creativity, share effective strategies, and discover new ship loadouts and playstyles from the FTL community. It fosters a sense of community and promotes collaboration among players.

Comparison with Similar Games

Elite Dangerous

While both FTL and Elite Dangerous are space exploration games, they offer different gameplay experiences. FTL focuses on strategic decisions, resource management, and tactical combat in a more compact and fast-paced format. Elite Dangerous, on the other hand, provides a vast open-world experience with a strong emphasis on immersive space simulation and player-driven narratives.

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky shares similarities with FTL in terms of space exploration and randomization. However, the games differ in their focus and scale. No Man’s Sky offers a massive procedurally generated universe with an emphasis on exploration, base-building, and cooperative multiplayer. FTL, in contrast, focuses on strategic decision-making and tactical combat in a more condensed and challenging gameplay loop.

Into the Breach

Into the Breach, also developed by Subset Games, shares some gameplay elements with FTL. Both games emphasize strategic decision-making and feature a turn-based combat system. However, Into the Breach focuses on managing mechs and preventing the destruction of cities from invading alien forces, offering a highly tactical and puzzle-like gameplay experience.

Final Verdict

FTL: Faster Than Light is a highly addictive and engaging game that offers a unique mix of strategic decision-making, resource management, and tactical combat. Its challenging difficulty levels, replayability, and variety make each playthrough feel fresh and exciting. The game’s charming pixel art style, diverse ship designs, and energetic soundtrack further enhance the immersive experience. With an active modding community and expansions, FTL continues to provide new content and entertainment for players. I highly recommend FTL to those who enjoy strategic space exploration games and are looking for an exhilarating challenge.