Each week our resident Indie Gamer Nicholas takes a look at a different Indie Game that you may or may not have heard about. Join him on his adventures as he sifts through the rubbish to find The Indie Game of the Week.
In today's edition of Indie Game of the Week, we'll be taking a look at FTL: Faster Than Light. If you're a fan of rogue-likes, spaceships, or both, then stay tuned - this is one game that's going to catch your eye.
There's been a lot of talk about the unfortunate trend we're seeing in gaming towards oversimplification - games that are far too simple to offer any real challenge; titles that treat the player like an idiot who doesn't know what button is the any key. FTL isn't one of those games: as a matter of fact, it falls on the opposite end of the spectrum.
That is to say, it tends to be wall-bangingly difficult.
I've very much a love/hate relationship with the game. On the one hand, it's damned fun gallavanting about through space, seeking out . On the other hand....the difficulty curve of FTL can be anything from a gentle slope to a cliff which drops off into an endless abyss. That's the thing about FTL - it's a roguelike. That means that if your ship goes boom, you're gonna be restarting. That means you might get ambushed by pirate after pirate after pirate with no store or source of repairs in sight, and you're just going to have to fight through or die. That means that you're entrusting your life to a roll of the dice as much as you are your own skills.
Honestly, I think maybe I might just be a sucker for punishment.
The premise of FTL is simple. You are captaining a ship serving a galactic body of government known as The Federation. This organization has recently fallen on hard times, with a crushing defeat at the hands of a collection of upstarts known only as the Rebels. Your task is to make it across the galaxy to the federation base with data on the Rebel Flagship - data which, hopefully, will lead to the ship's defeat.
Oh, and don't spend too much time in any one sector - the rebels are chasing you, and they probably won't take kindly to the fact that you've information that could spell their defeat.
It's pretty basic stuff, really. To be honest, the story of FTL isn't really anything you need to pay attention to. You have a ship. you are here. You need to go there. There are a bunch of planets, random encounters, and hostile ships between you and where you need to go. You'll need to blast through them, desperately hoping and praying you manage to get decent weapons along with enough scrap to upgrade your ship to a respectable level. Trust me, you'll need to do it: the final boss is a cheating cheater who cheats. Even if you've got the best ship in the whole friggin' universe, there's still a good chance you might die - it's simply how things seem to work.
Unlocking the other ships in the game is hit and miss, as well - every galaxy map is randomized, after all. As a result, it may prove downright impossible to unlock a particular ship on a particular playthrough. On the plus side, this means that FTL has virtually infinite replay value - there'll always be a new approach for you to try, even if you find yourself severely hampered by the ornery thing's arbitrary decision to be an ass. And in spite of all the frustration it'll likely cause you, it's actually very, very fun.
You can grab it on the Steam store for about $10. Definitely worth the buy.
Eight of The Most Memorable MMO Dungeons Ever Designed
Dungeons are a staple of the MMO genre; large-scale challenges requiring co-operation and co-ordination between anywhere from five to a few hundred players to adequately complete. Of course, not all are created equal, and some stand head and shoulders above their peers. Today, I'd like to tip my hat to those few legends, those instances that'll stick with us for years to come as shining examples of how to do dungeons right.
Ten Of The Best MMORPG Songs Ever Heard
In many ways, an MMO is only as good as its music. Many of the best and most memorable moments in an MMO invariably have a song associated with them; a piece of music which brings the memories flooding back the moment it reaches one's ears. Today, I'd like to pay homage to some of those songs - and some of those moments. Here, for your listening pleasure (and in no particular order, I assure you) is a list of some of the best songs ever heard in an MMO.
Facebook's Purchase Of Oculus VR Isn't The End Of The World
For those of you who've been living under a rock, Facebook recently purchased Oculus VR to the tune of $2 billion. Understandably, backers and developers alike were rather unimpressed, calling it a betrayal. As for me? I've never been more excited.
Seven Of The Worst Things You Can Say In League
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Six Reasons You Should Be Playing Dark Souls II
I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls II lately - and you should be too. Say what you will about the game's flaws, it's still arguably one of the best action RPGs released in the past several years. If you're up for a bit of a challenge, it's well worth the buy. Don't believe me? Let's talk, then.
Eight Reasons The Elder Scrolls Online Will Be Awesome
As you're all no doubt aware, The Elder Scrolls Online - currently in open beta - will be launching in a few months or so. In light of both the new release date and all the hype surfacing around it, I've decided that, over the next two weeks, I'll be looking at all the reasons to look forward to it...and all the reasons we shouldn't.
League of Legends or DOTA 2?
The debate between Dota 2 and League of Legends has been raging almost since the two games were first released. But which game is REALLY the superior of the two?
Ten Fictional Settings That'd Make For Awesome MMOs
Let's look at a few settings, worlds, and stories I'd love to see made into MMOs. I'm sure you'll agree, all the entries on this list have the potential to be downright awesome.
MMO Year In Review: 5 of 2013's Biggest Dick Moves
People are dicks - particularly on the Internet. While that shouldn't come as any great surprise, occasionally we come across someone whose level of sheer dickery reaches legendary proportions. As we move into 2014, let's take a look at a few such individuals from the previous year.
Censorship Spells Trouble for League of Legends Patcher
Internet filtering has been a hot button issue for the past several years. With the slow gutting of protective measures like Net Neutrality, and with governmental powers seeking an end to online anonymity, it's rather harrowing to see the slow progression of political and social policing of the internet. Recently, after about a year of lobbying, the United Kingdom enacted a piece of legislation that many have come to call the "UK Porn Filter." What the filter requires is for British ISP's to implement filters and controls, which are on by default, that will block access to "violent material," not imited to "extremist and terrorist related content," "anorexia and eating disorder websites," and "suicide related websites."