Originally released on the Mac, PC, and Linux machines in late 2012, FTL: Faster Than Light [$9.99 (HD)] has seen more positive reviews and won more awards than I can even reasonably list. Rocking a solid 86 on Metacritic, FTL has already proven itself to be a great game. If you missed all the buzz the first time around, here's the gist-

The premise surrounds around you being in control of a ship from the Galactic Federation, carrying vital data, and running from the rebel fleet who are on your tail. The game ends when you get the data to the Federation HQ, but of course, that's significantly easier said than done. Getting there in one piece involved seemingly endless combat situations with hostile ships, trading space scrap for new weapons, crew members, and ship upgrades, deciding when to use diplomacy and when to fire up your weapons and much, much more.


The depth of the game is incredible, and while jumping from point to point as your FTL drive spools up can feel slow paced, when the you-know-what hits the fan, FTL gets insanely hectic. Your ship has several core systems ranging from its engine, the shields, weapons array, door controls, sensors, and more. In a fight, enemies can (and will) end up disabling systems, making things exponentially more crazy.

For instance, when you take damage and parts of your ship catch fire, it seems the best way to take care of it is tricky airlock management to vent oxygen from those areas out in to space and in the process, put out the fires. Closing the doors again re-pressurizes those areas, the fire is gone, and you're good to go. If you lose your sensors and you've got a fire onboard, you won't be able to see where the fire is in any room that a crew member is. If you lose both doors and sensors, well, you're really in trouble.

Managing these kind of problems is what FTL is all about, there's so many neat interactions and way you can approach problems that I feel like I'm still discovering new things years after the first time I played it on the PC. At the end of the day, FTL is a game of putting out both literal and figurative fires, avoiding the rebels, and seeing how far you can go. You won't beat the game on your first try, and probably won't get much farther on the tenth time. Strategic iteration, unlocking new ships, and discovering new tricks is the core of the game.

Additionally, if you already played a ton of FTL on the PC, the iPad version also includes all the new "Advanced Edition" content which can be toggled on and off. This new content pack can basically be summed up as "more of everything." New ships, new events, new equipment, new ship features, and more.

With that all being said, and with a ton of PC FTL under my belt, I can say with complete confidence that FTL for the iPad is the definitive version of the game. The touch controls are great, and arguably feel more intuitive than playing the original release with a mouse and keyboard. Things that make sense to tap to select (like selecting crew members or directing them around) you control via tapping, and everything else is done via clever swiping gestures. It's all really, really well done.

FTL is also the perfect "play while you do something else" game. My best play sessions were playing on my laptop while half paying attention to a baseball game, or something similar. The game is super conducive to being paused, in fact, a lot of things are best done while paused as you can redo weapon configurations, issue orders, and everything else when the action is stopped. It's a weird way to complement a game, but I'm sure you guys all also play iPad games the same way- Chilling on the couch with the TV on. FTL fits flawlessly in with that.

In a way, it feels like games like Star Command [$2.99] and Out There [$3.99] were merely placeholders for the incredible FTL. With FTL here now, it's going to be really hard to top this totally random spaceship management combat simulation strategy game. A lot like Out There, one of the only negative things that you can say about FTL is it feels like sometimes you're depending a little too much on the randomization giving you a space station to re-supply or other resources you need… But, that's just sort of how these games work so I'm not sure how big of a deal that is.

If you've got an iPad and have found yourself even remotely interested in games like Out There or Star Command, you need FTL. Additionally, if you've played the PC version it's still beyond worth picking up the iPad version as it has translated to the touchscreen even better than my most optimistic expectations.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Maglor

    Thank you. Well Deserved 5 stars!!!

    • mike

      9 "guest" votes out of 10 votes up

      • Pete Osborne

        Why do you keep posting that?

  • Pete Osborne

    Absolutely agreed. It's now the first game I'll recommend to anyone buying an iPad for the first time, I can barely fault it. Glad I'm not the only one to feel that the touch controls actually improve it. One of my favourite games of all time just got better - it would take something incredible to take GOTY from FTL for me!

    • VirtualBoyFreak

      I'd go even further: if you ever thought there could be a game which forced you to buy an iPad, FTL is the game. There's nothing in the market identical to this game.

      • Pete Osborne

        I love that forum member Turakm actually did go out this night to buy an iPad for this game! You're totally right though - Out There is a great game in its own right but FTL just blows it away

      • turakm

        Had to do it man. Well worth it.

        -sent from my NEW iPad

      • vicsark

        Mini retina 64?

      • Patt

        Na, s/he went with a 32.

      • turakm

        Mini 32! Not gonna put movies on it so figured it should be good. Just music and games. LOVING It so far. Not sure why I didn't get one sooner, must be that I'm a broke college student in debt. Happy graduation present to myself.

        Oh and FTL is amazing people.

      • xx99

        I went 32 too and I am deleting games about twice a week. There are just too many good games these days that exceed 1 GB (XCOM takes a full 10% of 32 GB!). My next iPad will be at least 64.

        Of course, I have a two-year-old whose games take up a good share of that 32 GB.

      • Xexist

        Do yourself a favour, go for max capacity πŸ˜‰

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        A game which forces someone to spend $200+ ? Wow, that's quite a recommendation.
        (Not gonna buy one, though.)

      • turakm

        In all honesty, I've wanted one for awhile, this was just the tipping point. I woke up yesterday and thought to myself, "FTL is coming out, it's as good of time as any." Something like that

      • Xexist

        Forces someone to? You mean convinces them to. You could probably get 500 hours of gameplay out of this game, thats like $1 an hour :p

      • xx99

        500 hours is a bit of an exaggeration, but it'd be $0.02 an hour.

      • Xexist

        I was including the cost of the ipad

      • mike

        how does FTL make you spend over 200?

      • Gamer_Kev

        Ever hear of a game called Sundog for the Atari ST? Which was published by the way, by a company named FTL. I've never played FTL, but I own an Atari ST and have played Sundog and the ship in the pictures looks very much like the ship in Sundog. I loved Sundog so I'm tempted to try this but can't decide if this is supposed to be tribute or ripoff.

    • mike

      12 "guest" votes out of 13 votes

      • Pete Osborne

        What does that mean? lol

      • Salsander

        It means Half Life 3 has been confirmed

      • Endscrypt

        I take it he/she means that the votes are rigged by guest votes!

  • speedyph


    • Jake7905

      He must have been inspired by the title.

      • Zach

        LOL good one.

  • Chungston

    I love this game!

  • Jake7905

    This review justifies my decision to take a sick day tomorrow. Or at least helps me rationalize it.

  • the fish

    After the TA plays I pulled it out on my Mac again and got hooked for three hours again. Great game and I totally see how it only can get better with touch controls.

  • Stuart Nicholson

    Many a console I bought over the years because of ONE game. Luckily I already have the iPad. πŸ™‚

  • cymsdale

    This is the game Star Command wanted to be, but wasn't.

    • xx99

      Hey, Star Command is fun for one playthrough.

  • Frost

    Since I don't have an iPad and it seems unlikely to release on PS4 as well as iPhone I will buy it on Steam. The Out There comments made me want it.

  • onnlv

    I didn't play this on PC because I thought that it might suits better for mobile devices the first time I saw it. And now, I've gotten a well polished iPad game that I've been always wanted πŸ™‚

    I dare say it's totally worth 9.99. Go get it

  • khann

    I was disappointed when I heard it was ipad only, but after playing, I can see why. The tiny screen of a phone wouldn't do it justice. There is too much to this game that you would need to strip this game down to make is playable on the phone. In the end it wouldn't be as fun.

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    Review is absolutely right: Star Command and Out There were just placeholders for FTL.

    It is so good πŸ™‚

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    Review is bang on - Star Command and Out There were placeholders for FTL.

    FTL is the real deal, I love it!

  • cpc464freak

    $10! For an app. That's more than I paid for I to. A desktop... I'll pass!

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      So you can afford an iPad but not ten bucks for awesome software to run on it. Your loss!

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    Hmm, thought the first post hadn't posted. Someone can delete if they like πŸ˜‰

  • mike

    gona buy this based off your review...if this is nearly as good as Out There, I will be very happy. If its not, I will be pretty pissed you made me waste $10

    • Doc Robby

      You're either joking around, being an infected pus wart troll, or being serious. If serious, you may want to reexamine this victim mentality that says someone is responsible for you wasting $10 on a game you may not like. How the hell is the reviewer, in this case Eli, supposed to be responsible for your individual tastes and needs in ios games??? He can only express his view on the game as honest as he sees it and leave it at that. What people choose to do with this is their responsibility. I'm assuming you were being sarcastic as it's hard to believe that someone would willing castrate themselves by choosing to be such a pathetic victim when it's so self defeating to do so.

      • mike

        lol glad ur so stressed out πŸ˜‰

      • mike

        these guys also gave "Threes" a five star rating and I bought that and was not happy about that. I'm just trying to contribute as an avid consumer. you're getting mad at someone you don't know...and then adding 16 guest votes? That's fine you can continue with the insults and win this "battle"... yes i'm insulting you rawr! please take it personally.

      • Doc Robby

        That's your comeback to my reply??? Because you think I'm stressed out its proof for you that you should buy the game? You've proved my point. Do you even have the gonads to buy the game for your own reasons? And if if you don't like it that's it's your own forgivable mistake? And that if you do like it that it was your good choice? No, I'm not stressed out so you won't be able to use that excuse if you pay the $10 and don't like it. "Damn it! He was stressed out! That should have been proof that the game was good but it's not! Now I'm really pissed off!" I was just trying to point out that your reasoning is flawed and doesn't serve you nearly as well as you may think. My reply was as much for others here on TA who may suffer the same victim mentality that pretty much takes away any responsibility away from yourself. I hope the game works out for you because if it does, it is because you decided to buy it and deserve the credit. If it doesn't, guess who has to take responsibility...

      • mike

        rawr πŸ˜‰

      • Doc Robby

        No dingus. The like replies came from others. I don't even think its possible for me to give my own review that many points. Perhaps Eli can clarify if it's possible to do so. In any case you can't believe that so many people would like my comment so something nefarious must be afoot and I'm the one upping the votes. By doing this you can once again ignore what's being said to you and avoid looking at yourself for a possible defective reasoning process. The only reason I'm making an issue of this is because that it's this type of mentality the creates so many problems in the world.

      • Doc Robby

        'rawr', said the mouse.

      • mike

        you're the one who loses their temper....on the internet...at people you don't know lol must be dangerous in real life πŸ˜‰ by the way thanks for writing me so much...feels like a love letter, and taking the effort out to like your own replies so much...makes me feel important πŸ˜‰

      • trazer

        Don't bother replying to the idiot, he's just trying to cause trouble on here in general. Not worth the tin as you can't cure dumb lol. He actually thinks people can like their own posts more than once! Funny stuff. I know to flat out ignore whatever come out of that specific user.

      • Doc Robby

        Thanks Trazer. I'll take your good advice as this guy is doesn't seem to give a crap. If others want to, they can either up vote my comments or say what they think of him like you did. Then again, it may be a waste of time as you suggested.

      • Pete Osborne

        Ah, so that explains why he keeps commenting on posts say "9 guest like out of 10". Strange little lad.

  • Alexythimia23

    Ive not played any of these games yet mentioned in the review, last space game i played which i loved was Galaxy on fire 2 lol So anyone got a opinion on how it fairs to that game? Right now I've got way too many games that i have not got round to playing so I don't know which to buy, they all sound great, mmmm decisions, decisions??

    • xx99

      FTL is totally fantastic, but it's so different from GoF2 that it's hard to make a direct comparison. I guess FTL and GoF2 share the exploration aspect. Otherwise, GoF2 is a huge adventure where you load your save when you die and play through a linear story (with plenty of side activities). It's a full action game where you're moving in 3D space and you might be participating in a fight where there are many ships on each side of the battle. When you die in FTL, it's time to start a new game. The "story" is randomized each time, so each game can be quite different from the last. It's all about micromanaging the crew and gear of your spaceship. You choose your destination, but you don't actually have direct control over ship movement. Combat is there, and it's excellent, but it's much more abstract than that of GoF2. Check out some videos of FTL. If it looks pretty interesting, jump in with both feet.

      • Alexythimia23

        Thank-you that was great explanation, I've never played the ftl style management game, but as its been praised this much I'm pretty sure you guys will be right and i will discover a new experience for gaming, so I will defo be buying either-way, as it was a toss up between out there and ftl for now, so i think i will dive in head first, appreciated πŸ™‚

      • xx99

        Personally, I think Out There and FTL are about as far apart as they could get despite both being space-themed roguelikes. Out There feels like a Choose Your Own Adventure book while FTL feels much more "gamey".

        Out There is great, but I'd say FTL blows it out of the water. It features richer gameplay and much more replayability.

      • Alexythimia23

        If FTL is more gamey, then that is a defo for me, more console quality experiences the better, im always going on about more console ports so in truth i would have brought it for that alone πŸ™‚

  • DeNappa

    I didn't even get to play it on my pc yet (go backlog πŸ™ )!

    So the question that will obviously come to some minds is.... How does it compare to Oceanhorn?

    • xx99

      If you like FTL, you'll almost certainly get many more hours from it than Oceanhorn. I don't personally like gameplay hours as a measure of value, but I understand that many people do. It's hard to otherwise directly compare two games from such different genres because it's really going to come down to personal taste.

      Do you want a Zelda-like adventure or do you want to go on tons of smaller space adventures? Do you want to battle monsters with a sword or enemy spaceships with your guns, drones, and crew? FTL probably has the better game mechanics, but Oceanhorn is prettier and tells a deeper story.

  • Dethedrus

    I Kickstarted the original and have loved it immensely.

    This is a complete no-brainer, buy it RIGHT now, complete steal at $10!

  • classykeyser

    This is one of the few games I've purchased twice. The touch controls are actually an improvement. That's not something that happens often.

    • Patt

      Totally agree with you. I generally do not like to buy games twice, but did for this game.

  • flashbackflip

    The most passionate review i've read on TA in a couple of years;)

    And i share this passion as i wasn't playing FTL on PC waiting it to launch on iOS - so this is really GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!!

  • BalckJoe Joes

    The best iPhone 2048 game ever! It's free and beautiful! And you cannot lose!!! Try to get the best record!


  • FRnchFRy

    I think it deserves way more than 5 stars. In fact, I think it deserves 186,001 stars exactly πŸ˜›

  • LarryWP

    Does FTL save if you exit when not in combat? Could not find an answer on their web site for the iOS version.

  • ptrostli

    I went to see if my review was up.

    Looked at the rating, 99% 5 stars, 1% 4 star.

    4 star probably mis clicked the 5 haha

  • http://about.me/davidlnguyen David Nguyen

    I wished I gave this game a chance first on the pc vs that half hearted isometric game that was like this and came out either around the same time or after for ios. This game has tons more features and way more fun to play!

  • mike

    so far i like OUT THERE more.

  • PerfChick

    How is it compared to PSI 5 Trading Company?

  • mike

    story for Out There is better. The writing is better. The events are written better. FTL feels like Star Trek, which is cool, but Out There feels more ...mysterious, noirish, philosophical, visceral, human, real...etc... Feels as if it could have been a movie written by Michael Crichton, and hopefully directed by Alfonso Cuaron, with influences from Alien and Prometheus maker Ridley Scott. With also a complex, philosophical, no-nonsense unforgiving feel from the writers of the Watchmen and Frank Miller. There isn't really a combat system in Out There, which makes it less of a "video game" in the traditional sense, but it kind of makes it more real, can't imagine humans putting weapons on their "spaceships" to battle aliens any time in the near future, gotta admit there is silliness whenever and lightheartedness involved when that happens, but I imagine if that's what you're looking for, a star trek simulator, then you'll be very happy. Star Trek is fun; last movie with the Dragon from the Hobbit was awesome, its just a different experience from say...The Dark Knight (the one with the Joker)

    • LarryWP

      You need to get out and take a walk in the woods. πŸ˜‰

  • m1ta

    Whilst the controls have been very carefully thought out for the iPad, and are very good, I still think the PC controls work better in the heat of battle.

    Overall though, a brilliant port, well worth the money.

  • tommet

    Excellent implementation. Only advantage the PC version has is mods. Unfortunately that's pretty significant for me. Great for a fix on the go bit it won't replace the desktop version till I can mod it.

  • MidianGTX

    Ah, I've been waiting for this. I think I'm gonna continue to hold out for a sale though. I wouldn't mind a portable version, but considering I paid about a third of the price something like two years ago, I'm happy sticking with the PC version a little longer. Besides, the update just came out, so the copy I already own has just had a new injection of life.

  • nini

    Is it still distilled evil? Last time I played FTL, constant and harsh failure was a reminder of how I wouldn't ever make that fourth sector jump.

    I don't mind the challenge but I do mind having near undefeatable odds.

  • Papa Deuce

    I read that games can last as little as 10 minutes.... How long for a longer game?

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      Longer than 5 minutes. Games last as long as you've got the skill and tactical sense to survive for.

  • Repelstale

    "Out There" a placeholder? Really, Eli? I have to say it's the mobile game I've been most addicted to, like, ever. I haven't bought or played FTL yet (because I just HAVE to reach the red and the blue goal in OT as well as the green one...)

  • MarionCotillard

    I love this game so much. An undisputed masterpiece that composes itself as the greatest iOS game ever conceived.

  • Design by Adrian

    I just can't ignore the inconsistent graphics. It's worse than in Star Commad with it's horrid, hand drawn, backgrounds with enlarged pixel characters on top.

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      I have to say I just don't notice or care about any graphic issues you've mentioned there. The gameplay blows those 'concerns' away. For me anyway. Maybe you should stick to Infinity Blade.

      • Design by Adrian

        I'm not sure what Infinity Blade has to do with this...
        All I'm asking for is a good and consistent GUI, especially in a game which is all GUI.

FTL: Faster Than Light Reviewed by Eli Hodapp on . Rating: 5