A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn about logic, strategy, and problem solving in this challenging but rewarding space-based game of tactics. Players will need to exercise triage skills as they take into account a variety of variables ranging from the status of several ship systems to the health of her crew. They'll also need to exercise forethought and make some hard decisions as they consider which systems to jump to next and how best to upgrade their ships. FTL: Faster Than Light lets kids practice logical thinking as they learn to prioritize emergencies, make strategic sacrifices, and plan for the long term even while focusing on immediate events.
The simple story touches lightly on ideas ranging from armed factions rebelling against a government to interplanetary piracy, but the focus of play is on logic, reasoning, and strategy. The game encourages players to take their time plotting out the most effective means of accomplishing objectives. Mistakes are met with harsh consequences.
Positive Role Models
The only characters in the game are the player's crew, who don't speak but simply follow commands. Still, they often act bravely and selflessly as they risk their lives to repair the ship.
Ease of Play
A well-designed tutorial walks players through the basics of commanding a ship. However, this is a hard and unforgiving game. Players will likely fail many times before they succeed, even when playing on the easier of two difficulty settings.
Violence & Scariness
Tiny crewmen can die, often by fire. However, there is no blood or gore. Players simply see a health bar deplete. When it reaches zero, the crewman disappears.
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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.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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