FTL: Faster Than Light

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Innovative space strategy game rewards thoughtful play.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

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

Subjects

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • problem solving
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • set objectives
  • work to achieve goals
  • working efficiently

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

FTL's challenging and habit-forming play is sure to engage strategy-loving kids, especially if they're into science fiction.

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • engineering

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • problem solving
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • set objectives
  • work to achieve goals
  • working efficiently

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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?

QUALITY
 

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. 

 

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

  •  

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:$9.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Subset Games
Release date:September 25, 2012
Genre:Strategy
Topics:Space and aliens
ESRB rating:NR for NA (Mac, Windows)

This review of FTL: Faster Than Light was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 9, 15, and 18 year old Written bySpecimenB May 10, 2013
 

A very fun, space retro game.

Both me and my son really enjoy this game. It's really well done. It revolves around space battles. You have a ship that a crew you control maintains. Get upgrades, fight off boarding parties, maintain repairs, etc. The game is difficult. Don't expect to win. But you don't really need to win the game to unlock upgrades and earn a high score. The goal is to get as far as possible. I've played numerous times and only actually won once or twice.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old May 26, 2013
 

"FIRE EVERYTHING!"

If you ask me what roguelikes I like, I would say "The Binding Of Isaac and FTL." And hey! It seems like I'm doing a review on FTL right now! Simply put, If this is what Subset Games puts out for their first game, then I can't WAIT to see what they release next. I love this game, I really do. The art style is great, the ships are great, the vague humor is great, the alien races are great, the start gets me pumped and the final stretch makes me more tense and excited then any other game. ZOLTAN CRUISER ALL THE WAY, BABY! This is a roguelike nobody should miss.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bySkyTarts June 23, 2014
 
LEARNING

FTL: Faster Than Light Review by a 13 year old

I think this is a great game, I've come across many parents who are always cautious and protective of their children. This is a good thing but FTL is not the game you need to worry about. It is very fun, logical, and rewards you for being smart unlike other more violent games. FTL allows you to take command and control your own spaceship, I believe it helps teach the ways of leadership, management of supplies, and most importantly it helps you learn what you're capable of, because if you go headfirst into battle without thinking you'll be killed within seconds. But if you wait and tactically position yourself and take precautions you'll lead your crew to victory. I hope this review helps make some decisions. Enjoy the game. :D
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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