FTL – On Board the Iron Typhoon

A look at the popular indie game.

The scene is set, my ship floats lazily through space while I prepare to make my first Faster Than Light (FTL) jump. With a small, unskilled crew of three, I set them to their duties throughout the ship. Mak is set to be my pilot for this little adventure, with Jack and “Lil Jack” setup to cover the weapons and engines. The name of my ship is the Iron Typhoon, a Kestrel class cruiser and apparently fairly old. This is the setting within the first sector as the game prepares to devour the next hour of your life.

At the outset it doesn’t seem like a terribly difficult game to master, but after the first battle with a pirate I quickly came to realize there was much more to this scenario than previously imagined. The concept is fairly straight forward, you are looking from the top down at your chosen star ship, controlling the distribution of your crew, power, and ammunition. However, as the first battles unfold you soon realize there are several different solutions to any of the problems that may arise. For instance, during the course of one of my many battles, one of the incoming missiles from the enemy ship managed to breach my hull and start a fire in the engine compartment. With my weapons still engaging the pirate ship, I had to make some quick decisions as to the best course of action. Instinctively I snatched up two of my close crew members and set them to the task of extinguishing the fire. Unfortunately, as they are fighting the fire they are taking damage, in this particular case they nearly both died. Naturally with such a limited number of crew members I had to pull them back to the medical bay and heal up… but the fire was still raging in the engine bay. That is when I started looking at alternatives. I’m in space… there is no oxygen in space… fire needs oxygen… OPEN THE AIR LOCK! (and so I did).

Engaging in a battle against a drone ship

This is just one small facet about this game that I find amazing. Once the air locks were open the ship started to lose oxygen and once again threatened to kill the crew, however this time the fire was extinguished and no lasting harm done; all the while I am still targeting the enemy ship and trying to take out their shields and weapon systems. Juggling between damage control, crew and resource distribution, all while battling a shielded pirate ship is what makes FTL a very engrossing game to play. Constantly having to watch your fuel and ammunition add to the dynamic of simply trying to traverse the sectors of space one after the other. Exploring dangerous asteroid belts or aiding alien ships in distress, all en route to your ultimate goal at the other end of space.

As you can imagine while making such a journey it would be crucial to outfit your ship with top-notch weapons and equipment. Luckily for you, there are stores sparely populating various beacons throughout the sectors of space. These vendors are necessary for your survival in the ever dangerous realm of space. Items available for purchase range from missiles and fuel to combat drones and crew teleporters. I have as of yet to try out the crew teleportation, but the pirates actually used that trick on me quite a bit.

All in all, my Iron Typhoon only survived for about 30 minutes… But I am ready to load up and start my voyage anew, with a jump that’s Faster Than Light.

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