FTL: Faster Than Light

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
FTL: Faster Than Light Game Poster Image
Innovative space strategy game rewards thoughtful play.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

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.

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 & Representations

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.


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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySkyTarts June 23, 2014

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 t... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 26, 2013


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! Sim... Continue reading

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. 


Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate