Review: Faster Than Light

Review: Faster Than Light
3.0/5 Review Score:

Subset Games sets foot on the game industry by releasing the game Faster Than Light, for PC. The developers Matthew Davis and Justin Ma created an unique intergalactic battleship strategy game that puts some new and classic features together into a new style of playing. After pledging on this site (click for the link) they had an incredible feedback, so this achievement goes not only for the developers, but also for the guys who helped them financially by this site above. Now let us go deeper into the game and see what Subset Games are offering on Faster Than Light.

You are the commander of a Federation starship on an important mission. You have to deliver some info you’ve gathered about the Federation Rebels to your Central Command. Of course this will not be an easy task – you will have to cross 8 systems, full of dangerous rebels, pirates and aliens. You must not only rely on your crew, but on your capability to issue them the correct orders, at the right moment! First thing you need to do is select a ship that matches your style… Actually there is only one at the beginning (that’s mean, Subset Games, come on!), but you can unlock more by playing through the game and completing the levels. Let’s see some gameplay print screens I’ve made when playing Faster Than Light!

faster than light hangar faster than light beacon map faster than light levels

As you could see, the HUD seems a little complex at first, but it comes quite easy as you go through the tutorial to learn the game basics. You have your starting crew, each one with dormant skills, ready for putting to use. You can assign them to pilot the ship, caring for the engines, sustaining the shield and boosting your weapons firing rate. The nice part is that they get better and better as they remain assigned to those jobs. This means that when you get one crew member assigned for shield maintenance, your ship’s shield will generate faster each time it is attacked, and even faster if the crew member that works there has had some time working in that area before.

Along with the crew you also need to be prepared for enemy assaults. So let’s talk about weapons and drones. There are different weapons available on the game for you to buy (I’ll write about currency soon). Each one has its ups and downs, but you will surely find your good piece of trouble-maker to match your style. There are missile launchers, lasers, fire assault and drones… Oh, the drones! Those chaotic robots can turn the tide of battle in a matter of seconds. For you to get a better picture (literally) let’s take a look at some ships so you can see how to equip a weapon.

faster than light ship upgrades faster than light ship crew fasther than light ship equipment

The missile launchers can get past the shields, but they take a little longer to activate and require ammunition. For the lasers, you only need energy for activation, but they can’t penetrate shields, only damage them. So you need to find the perfect combination of damaging your enemy ships with missiles and laser canons, but there is also a nice trick to it, the drones. Unlike the weapons they have an instant activation and they fire even faster than lasers, but for each use you will need a Drone Part. As they are faster and don’t rely on the missile supply you will find them to be the sudden attack you need to destroy your enemies along the way.

Well, you know about managing your crew and your weapons, but… This is all about fitting them to your ship, so let’s talk about it! When selecting your ship, pay close attention to its layout. As you can see there are some icons for almost each sector of it. They are called systems and require constant vigilance so your ship can work effectively for you. Each icon represents the ship’s individual systems, as the HUD below has the energy listed for each system. The Shield protects your ship’s hull from direct damage (from lasers, for instance) but an enemy’s missiles can still cross it! The second icon in the lower HUD is the Engine System. It effects your evade percentage, so when you put a crew member on the ship’s Engine System Room, your ship evasion capabilities goes up according to the system level. The higher it is, higher the likelihood your enemy will miss your ship. Then it’s the Oxygen – you are in space, so yeah, you need to pay attention to your Oxygen System! The Medbay heals your crew and the Weapon Control is how much you can pimp your ship for a robust weapon arsenal. Have a look at some ships here:

faster than light title screen faster than light rebels faster than light engi ship

When you set your course towards the level exit – jumping on each level sector, you will find some quests and events with some dialogue for you to interact with the system you are in. There are enemy zones such as pirate/rebel encounters and after beating them, you get some fuel (for travelling), missiles, drone parts and scrap parts. You can upgrade your ship systems with the scrap you collect and see it fits your gameplay strategy.

The game has its pretty painted graphics, and a classic look to it that I liked very much, but there are some choices that disappointed me a little. As the game itself has this simple graphic style, they could get us some customizing features like coloring the ship or other crew customization. You can only change your crew gender (when human) and name! Also the background is too simple. No animations at all, and when your ship jumps to another spot, it simply shrinks and grows again on the other background. Well, that could be better.

As for the gameplay it is very interesting because you not only do you manage your crew and your ship, but it also takes planning for attacking other ships and good decision making during the events, so there is  lots of stuff to do in this game. But I need to point something sad about it. The game is too hard! Maybe I haven’t made a good strategy, or I upgraded my ship poorly… Maybe it was a wrong course of actions or bad choices for my weapons, but as you try different strategies and still keep getting the “Game Over” it gets more and more frustrating. There is no way to replay a level from its beginning. You work hard to upgrade your ship and crew with highly expensive options (they could cost fewer), and if you make any mistakes, it wasted the whole time you’ve spent in the game. Then you will get back to the beginning! That’s right, no level selection after you’ve beaten it, no “replay from the level beginning” or something like that. If you go quickly to the exit you save fuel but get fewer scrap then fewer upgrade capability; if you get to visit more places, the rebels get to you quickly and you are in deep trouble!

This game could be much better, actually. Some midbosses, more quests, better prices for weapons and ship upgrades (as I’ve said, they are stupidly high). And the animations could get some more effort on it! For its unique gameplay experience but its exceptionally hard when it comes to its difficulty, I give this game a rate of 3 out of 5!

Read more on the official site of Faster Than Light, or alternatively you can buy it from gog.com

Review: Faster Than Light, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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