In an age where a new Call of Duty title gets released any day that ends with the letter ‘y’, it’s hard to find something unique in an otherwise endless sea of first person shooter vomit. Don’t get me wrong, the original Modern Warfare will always be regarded as one of the greatest multiplayer experiences of all time – but that’s the problem; all them since have had about as much originality as a jacket potatoe. This, however, is where FTL kicks down your front door and sets fire to your grannies knickers.

To start with you’re given a ship and crew that you’ll use to navigate the vast wonders of outer space. Being the veteran, seasoned starship captain you now are, you will of course proceed to name both the crew and the ship as many different names for penis as your ever-immature mind can comprehend; before being thrown forward into unknown galaxies to fend off pirates and fiends.  Your job is to outrun the Rebel ships chasing you from one side of the galaxy, all the way to the big nasty boss on the other side, picking up as many weapons and upgrades you can get along the way like some kind of space age horder. You and the HMS Erection are now soulbound until either the ship or your patience is destroyed before your intergalactic eyes.

Starting at the core, the gameplay is based around individual space battles between you and other ships you find floating round the universe as if Jack Sparrow himself had commanded every pirate in history to simultaneously attack you and your fallic friends. Honestly it seems like every planet you land on has some smuggler holding a grudge against you like a futuristic soap opera. Despite the personal vendetta that Blackbeard seems to have against you, the game does well to keep the experience interesting by throwing a never ending arsenal of weaponry in your face like a Texas gun club. You’ve got tractor beams, missile launchers, hull lasers; enough weaponry to make a Star Wars fanatic pass out and sell his soul to Lord Vader. All that being said, you go through around eight galaxies in order to get to the final boss, and the Death Ray 3,000 that you spend half of your Mother’s life-savings on seems to bounce off his shield like Oliver Twist asking for a bit more soup. Although, that analogy is a bit more accurate than expected considering by the time that you’ve finished that boss battle soup is all you’ll be left with.

This leads me on to my next point; the learning curve, or as I like to call it, the lack of one. Thankfully, when you start the game gives you two options; Easy or Normal, and all I can say is God bless the person who can succeed on the normal difficulty level because they’ve got enough patience to make Mother Teresa look like a global dictator. You can lose hours into this game simply trying to find a new ship design; all the while seeing dozens of your crew get slaughtered like it was a Bah Mitzvah for your penis-named crew. Being good in battle is only half the fight though, it seems you spend a lot of time in this game doing inventory management; a bit like Diablo III where you spend most of the time picking up worthless junk only to sift through and eventually find some slightly better junk, rejoice in your new found golden wooly hat and continue on in your quest of shiny clothing. This does seem to be one of the few games that’s actually done it right though; you genuinely care about the choice between a missile launcher and a laser cannon. You can’t succeed at this game if you don’t make your choices carefully, and I use ‘succeed’ very lightly considering success in this game simply means to get slightly further than before and possibly get a new ship at the end of it if the pirate God’s allow. I can guarantee that after twenty four hours, ninety eight battle cruisers and enough crew to start your own Niké sweatshop this might get tedious but when I was a kid I wanted to be Hans Solo and if this is the closest I’m ever going to get then I’ll be damned if inventory management stops me.

The game literally feels like it could’ve been ripped right out of the early nineties; everything from the big, bold pixelated font down to the lack of pretty much any animation. Like someone drew a big fat line in permanent marker over the last twenty years of game development and said it’s been doing it all wrong; and truly, I adore it. If you can remember a time when you had to accept a game’s flaws and still love it; like Ocarina of Time’s water temple, or the ridiculous aiming system on pretty much any Nintendo 64 first person shooter, despite all of this you still love and adore the game and that is exactly what FTL is. A game with enough repetitive gameplay to give your mind carpel tunnel syndrome but despite it you can’t fault it at all. It’s easily one of the best seven quid I’ve ever spent on Steam. And if you’re still only questioning whether you should buy it, wait until it undoubtedly comes on the Christmas sale for less than a pair of socks in Primark.
All in all, if you’re looking to revolutionise the gaming industry and find something new and querky that’s absent in todays market, just look at the games of twenty years ago.




I build time machines out of DeLoreans and drink a lot of caffeine.