A galaxy to be saved

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
Author and references

We discussed FTL: Faster Than Light roughly a year and a half ago, on the occasion of the release of the game on PC.

It is a roguelike title with a space setting that caused a certain sensation not only for its remarkable qualities confirmed by our review, but also for the enormous success achieved by the funding of the project via Kickstarter: compared to the expected $ 10.000, the Subset Games guys managed to bring home over $ 200.000, so they could put the idea they had in mind into practice in the best way. A very good idea, obviously, because FTL has become a true little classic of the indie scene; at the same time as the release of the free Advanced Edition expansion for computers, the awaited version for iPad has also been published on the App Store, which includes the contents of the aforementioned add-on. All this at the more than fair price of € 8,99.

FTL on iPad has nothing to envy to the PC version

Faster than light

But why has FTL managed to attract all this attention to itself? In addition to the necessary coincidence of lucky factors, the main reason - and what interests us most - is that it is a really good video game.

The setting, as already mentioned, is science fiction, in the most classic sense of the term: therefore intergalactic wars, spaceships, planets, pirates, aliens, unlikely creatures, laser beams and so on. And one of these shuttles is the absolute protagonist of FTL, as well as one's travel companion with whom to share victories, successes, dramas and, very often, death. As the rigid dictates of the roguelike genre impose in fact, also in this case the game over is a definitive, irrecoverable event, from which one can redeem oneself only by starting a new game from scratch; an element destined to add drama and pathos to the adventure during which each step, each leap into hyperspace can be the last. The concept is quite simple, as is the task assigned to the player: in summary it is about being able to reach the eighth sector to warn the Federation of the imminent attack of the Rebels. The journey is destined to be accomplished by passing from one node to another of the map which develops with a kind of tree diagram, therefore full of crossroads and choices regarding the "way" to go to reach the exit of each sector. Each node brings with it an event: only very rarely will you find yourself in an empty, passing area. Much more often there may be an enemy ship, or a request for help, or a planet to explore or whatever, thanks to a truly remarkable variety of situations. Virtually everything is described through short text screens, thus leaving the player's imagination to fill the events with images; this is because FTL is instead totally focused in its gameplay at the purely management phase of its own spacecraft and fighting, thus reducing any digression to a minimum.

And the minimalist approach is also confirmed by the graphic component, which certainly leaves no room for fireworks; indeed, the only omnipresent thing on the screen is precisely the shuttle, seen from above in section, so as to allow you to always keep an eye on and therefore manage the various rooms and the crew. A fundamental part of the experience is precisely that of maintaining the functioning of all the systems present on the galactic medium, and of keeping the men alive within it. And the administration of resources is also very important, starting from the fundamental ones for the subsistence of the ship up to the use of funds - which are never enough - to improve some elements, add new ones, expand offensive and defensive capabilities or simply repair the damaged hull. The contents of the Advanced Edition expansion, which can be activated at will from the start menu, also bring a considerable amount of elements that add further complexity to the experience, for the pleasure of veterans: new systems for the shuttle, weapons, an alien race, events from face on the map and so on. Finally, as regards the adaptation to the touch screen, the work done by Subset Games is truly commendable, making this edition for iPad even preferable: the interface is in fact perfectly manageable through touches and swipes, and the small changes made are they have proved to be perfect for solving the (few) contingent problems.


Version tested: iOS (1.5.4) Terminal used: iPad Mini Retina Price: € 8,99 App Store Link Resources4Gaming.com


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Your vote

A year and a half after its debut on PC, FTL has reached the iPad in great shape, keeping the original experience intact and expanding it with the contents of the Advanced Edition. It therefore remains a particular game, very challenging even in the easy mode, and therefore certainly not destined to be appreciated by anyone. But if you are intrigued by the idea of ​​a strategic one with a space setting, you could easily find in the title of Subset Games a small pearl capable of devouring your free hours.


  • Fascinating setting
  • Random development of each game
  • Challenging and rewarding
  • Inevitably repetitive
  • Often frustrating
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