What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know FTL: Faster Than Light is a strategic, starship-command simulation game in which players try to navigate safely home while fighting off attackers, performing repairs, and salvaging resources. Starships are destroyed and crewmen die, but there's very little graphical violence. The focus, instead, is on logical, strategic thinking. Sly, thoughtful players will see their starships survive far longer than brash gamers who simply attempt to bowl through the galaxy. Consequently, the game could prove frustratingly difficult for some.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- work to achieve goals
- working efficiently
- set objectives
Engagement, Approach, Support
FTL's challenging and habit-forming play is sure to engage strategy-loving kids, especially if they're into science fiction.
The tactical action forces players to stop and think before acting. Kids will need to learn to prioritize emergencies, make strategic sacrifices, and plan for the long term while focusing on immediate events.
In-game instructions should prove sufficient for most players. Little official support exists outside the game, but some lively fan-based online communities have sprung up.
What's it about?
Among the first high-profile games to have been developed via crowd-funding, FTL: FASTER THAN LIGHT is a spaceship command and management simulation. It puts players in charge of a starship charged with couriering vital information back to central command by charting strategic jumps from one system to the next. You'll encounter various perils along the way -- including pursuing rebels and vicious pirates -- that will force you to plan out attack strategies while sending crewmen off to man specific stations and repair damages incurred to engines and other systems. Events happen in real time, but you can pause the game for as long as you like to consider and issue orders that will be enacted once you resume play. If you're lucky you might be able to salvage parts and equipment to upgrade your ship along your journey.
Is it any good?
It may lack the polished presentation of more mainstream fare, but FTL still has potential to be every bit as habit-forming as bigger-budgeted tactics games. A simple tutorial delivers everything you'll need to know about managing your ship and surviving battles in the space of about 15 minutes. From there, you'll launch into a campaign where your command skills will be put to the test. You'll need to experiment a little at first, figuring out how best to make use of finite reactor power and times when it's better for your crewmen to battle blazes personally rather than just venting fire-fueling oxygen into space, but the learning process is fun.
FTL: Faster Than Light can be unforgiving -- you will lose and need to restart several times before experiencing victory -- but you'll get a little further and gain a bit more confidence each time you play. Eventually you'll be commanding your ship like you were Captain Kirk.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about being strategic. Do you ever wish you'd stopped and thought before taking action? If you had, what would you have done differently? Do you think strategy game such as this one can help you to plan things out?
Families can also discuss space exploration. Do you think people will ever take to the stars in significant number and colonize other planets? Could it happen in your lifetime? Would you like to be one of them?