Friday, 11 July 2014

FTL: Faster Than Light

!^(&#R!@)*@ game, that keeps !&@*&!)*@ me over. Yet, why can't I  !@@^!_^*@! stop playing it?!?!

FTL; or as I like to refer to it "For the Lose", is a spaceship simulator that can be best described as Nethack in space. When I say spaceship simulator, I don't mean anything like Wing Commander, X3, or so on. No...think more indie, and much more simpler. 

Yes, something like this. The gist of the plot is simple. You're supposed to bring an importance macguffin somewhere to your leaders and people are trying to stop you. If you don't bring it there, you lose. If you run out of fuel you lose. If you get destroyed, you lose. Seeing a pattern here? 

The gameplay itself is fairly simply but also fairly nuanced. You are the captain of a spaceship and you start with 3 crew members. Crews get higher skill levels the more they perform one task so if you have a crew manning your weapon system and another one your shields, you probably want them to keep doing the same thing so that they skill level helps your battle chances. Ideally you want one crew manning one room at least since having a crew man a system room helps boost the efficiency of the system room. 

Your ship itself is split into rooms, with several of the rooms being system rooms, which hold your important systems such as your weapons, shields, engine, cockpit etc. If that room is damaged, your system loses efficiency. If it becomes disabled, your system is disabled as well. Your crew can repair the rooms though so that's not much of an issue. What they can't recover is your ships hull points or HP. Only stores and certain events can repair hull points so you really want to take extra care to make sure that you don't lose too many of them or you won't be able to make it to the end. 

Battle itself is fairly simple. You attack enemy ships and aim for their weakpoints with your weapons. In return, they'll do the same to you, hence it's probably best to upgrade your shields as soon as possible since that will help block most enemy attacks. The only things it won't block are missiles and people teleporting onto your ship. Which is always an annoyance. If you can capture the enemy ship intact without blowing it up, you get more scrap than you normally would; with scrap being the games currency. 

With scrap you can repair your ship, upgrade your ship, buy fuel, buy weapons and missiles and get extra crew members. There's actually a lot you can do with the scrap and you almost always never have enough scrap for everything you need to do, which means it comes down to 'what do I need first?'. There's also the issue that you don't always get stuff that you need from the stores. You could be looking for missiles weapons but the store only has droid weapons. Or vice-versa. The game is just that random. You can go entire games without finding stuff that you want from the stores, which leaves you fighting the enemy boss with your default starting weapons and whatever crap you pick up along the way. Not a fun fight. 

Overall, I'd say this is a pretty fun game. There are a lot of times I've started playing and then suddenly, it's one or two hours later. It's that fun, even if it's a bit frustrating at times in its gameplay.