FTL : Faster Than Light


FTL is one of few games I’ve been really, really excited to try. It reminds me of the short-lived (RIP) series Stargate Universe, among other things. The developers describe it themselves as a roguelike spaceship simulation. Basically, you get one go at piloting and managing your ship. Blow up, and it’s all over. Your choose where you ship jumps, it goes, and you hope for the best. Waiting on the other side could be some traders, a space pirate, rebels, a planet, or any number of random experiences. Don’t trust the distress beacon though, you never know if someone actually needs help. Manage your crew, put out fires, and stop the enemy, all while avoiding the rebels who are trying to chase you down.

Yesterday, the FTL team launched a Kickstarter project, hoping to raise $10,000 in just over a month. They reached their goal in 10 hours and, as of the time of this writing, they have collected almost $30,000. Kickstarter is really an amazing thing. I know I donated, way back when the total raised was around $300, and I won’t lie, I was hoping they would do this months ago.

Along with the Kickstarter campaign, the crew launched a demo on OnLive. OnLive is a streaming service, available in the US and the UK. Just install the launcher program, and the game is streamed right to you. The benefit being that piracy is essentially impossible, since your computer, be it a netbook or a tri-SLI gaming rig, doesn’t download a thing. The demo of FTL is limited to 30 minute play periods, of which you can play as many as you’d like. But be warned, you’ll die. A lot. 30 minutes may not seem like a lot, but that can be two or three games.

Onto the game itself. What do I think of it? I love it. The interface is simple but accessible. Direct your crew members around, repairing damaged parts. Seal doors to keep fire away, or open the hatches to suck the air out and put out fires. In a pinch, do you decide to repair shields, or do you repair your weapons? Managing all this is simple and fun, to say the least. Upgrading your ship, while limited in this demo, is also great. You can gain new weapons, drones that fly around you or attack your enemies, and power up sections of your ship.  And did I mention that I love it?

I honestly can’t wait for the closed beta to start in a few months. OnLive is great for some things, but my current Internet connection is a bit unstable, leading to less-than-stellar results. I know that with these additional funds, the game will be even better than I was imagining. Summer 2012 is the estimated launch of the final game, which I will be waiting for. Impatiently mind you.