FTL: Faster Than Light – Review

What is FTL about?

FTL: Faster Than Light is a roguelike developed by the indie studio Subset Games. You have critical information for the alliance fleet, but you are followed by the rebel fleet. Most of the game comes down to micromanaging your spaceship’s systems, crew and weapons and learning when you prioritize specific upgrades. There are several systems you have to maintain to make it to the end. Since it’s a roguelike, you can keep replaying the game at a higher difficulty.

At times the game also felt like a text-based adventure, and although it lacks the glitz and glamour of some of the more popular indie titles, it makes up for them in its superb yet overly complicated Gameplay.

How to play FTL?

Ship Selection Screen for the Kestrel A - FTL: Faster Than Light
Subset Games 2014
Subset Games 2014

You have your ship which you can customize to face the enemy in battle and cruise through space. You start with a basic ship but unlock more powerful ones as you keep playing.  FTL focuses on two key components, the system, fighting enenmy spacecraft and the star chart. Your ship is composed of different subsystems and you have to efficiently manage them by cutting off or rerouting power to other levels. All that while still managing crew and weapons to shoot down the enemy ship.

As you progress through the map, you upgrade the onboard system with scraps and get more powerful gear to fight off enemies. The controls appear rudimentary at first but after a while, I was genuinely impressed by the depth in combat mechanics. It’s a pretty fun game once you know what you’re doing. One of the things I learned during the playthrough is the importance of system management.

System management is one of the core component of the game. Whether you’re engaging enemies or trying to escape, or simply out exploring, you need to know how to control your ship and upgrade its capabilities, aka Systems for facing off against tougher challenges. Each system occupies a single room and requires reactor power to function properly. Subsystems, though somewhat similar, do not use power.

Main Systems:

  • Shields – These bubbles keep us safe from harm
  • Engine – We need thrust to evade and cruise through space
  • Medbay – Come and get a free injection
  • O2 – No air, no life on this ship
  • Weapons – In order to pew-pew we need power here and also installing some weaponry


  • Piloting – With a Pilot in hear, you can evade some shots
  • Sensors – Lets you see your and enemy ships interior
  • Doors – These prevent enemy boarders from freely moving, so you can suffocate them from outside space

Other Systems:

There are more Systems in the game, which we did not get here.

  • Clone Bay – Will replace Medbay and resurrect any dead crew member
  • Hacking – Disable and depower an enemy system
  • Crew Teleporter – Board that ship and wreak havoc
  • Mind Control – Lets you control an enemy crew member to help you fight
  • Drone Control – Like Missiles they need Drone Parts, but are an automatic help


  • Artemis – A beefy missile launcher. Needs missiles to work, but can pierce shields
  • Burst Laser MK2 – Pew Pew those enemy ships

There are other types of weapons you can find. Some examples:

  • Beams – Beams hit in a straight line and try to hit multiple rooms
  • Ions – Then can stun systems. Really good against shields

As you keep playing you get better at managing your system, rerouting power to them, and learning the perfect time to buy upgrades.

Small Tip: Could can always depower Medbay or O2 to get a free energy. Just make sure to repower them, or your crew is going to die… not that this has already happened to me…

The game can be roughly divided into four stages. The beginning (sector 1), early game (sectors 2-4), mid-game (sectors 5-7), end game (sector 8).

Sector 1-4

Sector 1 is only about survival. Upgrade the bare necessities and keep extra scraps handy so that you can spend when required. Try to get as many Distress Beacons as you can.

Sectors 2-4 are a bit tricky and take into consideration your random load out. If you’re blessed with weapons, then focus on upgrading your offense. Focus on defense if you started with a decent boarding team. While boarding make sure to kill Clone Bays. On fighting Drones make sure to hit their engines or they will evade everything.

You might want to think about investing in an optional system this time around. Once again, you’ll get better at choosing as you keep playing the game. Here are a few pointers that you might find handy. In case you have only average weapons, getting a Teleporter might be better. However, if you have a decent load out, get mind control. Hold off on cloaking until the late stage of the game, because it’s way too expensive. If you’re confused, always buy hacking, as it comes in every situation.

If you struggle with boarders, get Doors to Level 2. Suffocating the enemies gets way easier then. Always make sure that you can deal with at least level two enemy shields.

Sector 5-7

Once you get into the rhythm, you’ll discover it’s more of the same micromanagement with more advanced systems, and against powerful enemies. You should have at least level three shields and level five engines by now and two optional systems. Now that your ship can hold its own against tougher enemies, upgrade all your level one systems to level two.

By now your weapons should be able to take down level three shields and by the end of sector 7, level four shields

Sector 8

It’s time for the showdown. Make sure you can handle level four shields, and at least level three shields on your ship. Level five engine is a must and any number of optional systems that’ll make the fight easier for you. Picking the right combination of systems will take practice, so don’t lose hope if you cannot defeat the Flagship the first twenty times, at least I didn’t.

My Conclusion

During my play through, despite the game having no actual plot structures, the game amazed and intrigued me. You always want to get better and not do the same idiotic mistake again. Its really harsh to learn, but you get better over time.

It feels like I am progressing no matter what happens. The game is insanely difficult and has a steep learning curve, but each play through appears challenging and more enjoyable than the previous one. The music track is also quite intense and reminds me of various space-themed films, making for a great gaming experience.

While shields are easily repaired and regenerated, fixing the hull necessitates a pit stop at one of them, to be fair, rather common “stores.” Despite this, the constant possibility of catastrophic destruction made me feel only somewhat safe when I had 100 percent hull integrity. So, in most games, I try to quickly enhance my shields so that laser and beam strikes become less of a threat. When I got my hands on the Stealth Cruiser with no shields, my tactic went entirely off the rails. I had to relearn how to play by concentrating on the ship’s cloaking mechanism rather than shields. I approached conflicts with increased trepidation, and I double-checked to see whether there were ships in the beacons I was headed towards. It was terrifying, tense, and brutally exhilarating all at the same time.

The Engi ship, on the other hand, begins with drones, Ions, and no missiles at all. Fighting in the spacecraft necessitates paying greater attention to opposing shields and concentrating on shutting down systems rather than dealing direct damage. With each ship the game feels somewhat different. You struggle differently, but its still fine to lose.

Like with Rimworld I had a great time struggling. Nothing is more boring that always have it go your way. You struggle and struggle. Then you get better and better. Then you get to the Flagship your first time. Over and over again you enjoy the game more. Its a really good pickup, so get your own!

Where to buy?

Keywords and Explanations

  • Humans
    • + Skills improve slightly faster (5%)
  • Engi
    • + Repair speed is doubled
    • – Combat damage inflicted is halved
  • Mantis
    • + Inflict 1.5x damage in combat -> Great for Boarding
    • + 1.2x move speed
    • – Halved repair speed
  • Rockmen
    • + Immune to fire -> Great to repair rooms on fire
    • + Health is increased to 150
    • – Movement speed is halved
  • Zoltan
    • + Provides power to occupied system 
    • + Explodes upon death, dealing 15 damage to each enemy in room
    • – Maximum health is reduced to 70
  • Slug
    • + Telepathic powers reveal rooms and lifeforms even when sensors are down (or nonexistent).
    • + Immune to mind control.
  • Crystal
    • + Lockdown power (activate in crew box)
    • + Half suffocation damage -> Great for repairing Breaches
    • + Health is increased to 125 – Movement speed reduced by 20%
  • Lanius
    • +/- Drains oxygen from rooms. 
    • + No damage from lack of oxygen. -> Good against boarders
    • Movement speed reduced by 15%.

If you like this you might like

Well, if you have already played FTL, and you are now looking for another game similar to it for you to play, I am here to help you with that! I will now share with you some games that might fill the void that FTL might have left you with:


If you want to relax in your own timely manner then come watch me on YouTube:

If you want to read more about FTL: Faster than Light here is a list of interesting articles:

YouTube Releases

If you want to read more about FTL: Faster than Light here is a list of interesting articles:

Slay the Spire – Game Sheet

Slay The Spire is a super fun game, that does an amazing job at putting together card games with roguelike elements. And yes, nowadays roguelike has become extremely popular, and Slay The Spire was able to do put together something great. You get to build your deck, and you get to expand it while climbing the tower, so while doing that you will come across amazing cards that will combo with what you already have, making it even easier for you to defeat your enemies. There are hundreds of cards for you to use, and each time you venture into the spire, the layouts will be different, and you can always choose to take the safe path, or the riskier one.

DeveloperMega Crit Games
PublisherMega Crit Games
Release DateJanuar 23th, 2019
PlatformsPC, Android, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Playstation 4, Xbox One, macOS, Linux
GenresRoguelike, Deckbuilder, Card Game, Turn-Based, Strategy, Singleplayer, Roguelite, Indie, Dungeon Crawler, RPG, 2D, Fantasy
Subset Games 2012
MegaCrit Games, 2019
Awaken Realms Digital 2021
MegaCrit Games, 2019
Awaken Realms Digital 2021
MegaCrit Games, 2019
Awaken Realms Digital 2021
MegaCrit Games, 2019

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