New release: FTL

So, FTL. In all likelihood, you’ve heard about this game already, which is part of why I haven’t been in a rush to write about it. The other part is that I wasn’t convinced that it was actually an RPG. Having now seen its mechanics in action, however, I’ve decided that (a) it is definitely an RPG and (b) I need to cover it. So here we go!

FTL is an outer space roguelike by Subset Games that plays a little like an extremely lethal series of Star Trek episodes (or a series of Firefly episodes without the wit and charming characters, or a series of Battlestar Galactica episodes without the Cylons, or…you get the idea). You make FTL jumps between sectors that contain unpredictable (and frequently deadly) situations for you to handle as you flee an approaching enemy fleet, making your way across the universe with an important missive for the Federation.

The developer writes:

FTL is a spaceship simulation roguelike-like. Its aim is to recreate the atmosphere of running a spaceship exploring the galaxy (like Firefly/Star Trek/BSG etc.) In any given episode of those classic shows, the captain is always yelling “Reroute power to shields!” or giving commands to the engineer now that their Warp Core is on fire. We wanted that experience, as opposed to the “dog fighting in space” that most videogames focus on. We wanted a game where we had to manage the crew, fix the engines, reroute power to shields, target the enemy life support, and then figure out how to repel the boarders that just transported over!

Which brings us to the trailer:

Your crew levels up various skills as you play FTL depending on what they spend their time doing. You also collect scrap, which you can use to upgrade your ship’s various systems as you go. Also, there is exploration and combat. So as far as I’m concerned, this is basically a sci fi RPG in the (largely abandoned) tradition of Starflight.

FTL is available for Windows, Mac and Linux for $10. You can buy it direct from the developer via Paypal, Amazon Payments or Google Checkout; you can also find it on or Steam, though of course the developer sees less of the money if you buy it there.

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