The beta is happening now. What do you guys think?

#1 Posted by BisonHero (8562 posts) -

As far as I know, the beta is only open to people who donated a certain amount through the Kickstarter. It's the only game I've played for the past couple days, and I'm really liking it so far. One or two encounters seemed a little buggy (one said that an enemy ship was supposed to suddenly appear, but then nothing happened and I was able to freely move to the next area), but otherwise the game seems to be coming along fine, so I think the devs are looking mostly for player feedback and balance changes.

The game pretty much has all of the cool shit that you would want a game about spaceship combat to have. Let's run down the checklist:

  • Reactor power as a resource, meaning you can cut corners a little bit, if say you want to divert power from your medical bay to boost your engines, WHICH IS TOTALLY BADASS
  • Oxygen as a resource, meaning that if an enemy hits a room in your ship so hard that fires are started, it slowly consumes that room's supply of oxygen and continues to damage your ship. You can send crew members in to put out the fire, or you can open the airlock on the rooms that are on fire, quickly jettisoning all of the oxygen into space and effectively smothering the fire, WHICH IS TOTALLY BADASS
  • On a related note, if enemies teleport onto the ship, you can open the airlock doors of the rooms they're in to deprive them of oxygen, softening them up so you can swoop in and finish them off with your crew members, WHICH IS ALSO TOTALLY BADASS
  • And the ship-to-ship combat is surprisingly good, with about 5-6 meaningfully different weapon types. While there are low quality and high quality weapons within each weapon type, this is one of the rare games where none of the weapon types ends up being that one weapon you hate getting because it is garbage. In my experience, just about any weapon combination you come across is viable if you plan your attack accordingly and time the weapons properly.

I've unlocked three of the five ships, and I still find myself liking the default ship the most. The other two are almost like alternate game modes, in that you have such different starting equipment and have to change your playstyle considerably. The sci-fi setting in the game is fairly straightforward, with just enough little flourishes here and there to make it an interesting fictional world. And the game's main conceit is quite cool, in that you're always staying one step ahead of the evil rebel fleet who are trying to track you down, as you are trying to bring vital information to the Federation home base, which for some reason is like a zillion sectors away.

It's a pretty cool game, you guys.

#2 Posted by BisonHero (8562 posts) -

Awww, nobody else? This is what I get for starting topics late at night.

#3 Posted by Demyx (3240 posts) -

Sorry, I don't have the beta. I already don't like it much because it has space combat.

#4 Posted by BonOrbitz (2405 posts) -

I heard nothing about this game until I read an article in the latest PC Gamer. After checking out a couple of YouTube videos online, I'm ready to give them my money. I hope you'll be able to mod this to install Star Wars, Trek, or Battlestar Galactica mods.

#5 Posted by Extreme_Popcorn (846 posts) -

I just got access to the beta today and I think the game is great. It's pretty challenging trying to manage all the different systems, especially during a battle.

#6 Posted by spree4567 (161 posts) -

I just started playing it today. I was doing pretty well, but then like 6 enemies boarded my ship and quickly overwhelmed me. Lots of fun though.

#7 Posted by Daitre (4 posts) -

Full game is out now, for those of us who donated anyway.

I have to say that I'm disappointed. Everything works well, its a lot of fun, its just frustrating. The mechanics feel like they belong in a game where you progress, build a crew and a ship, but the game is more of a survival horror.

Does anyone else feel like this? If only you were not being chased and the game was longer than an hour then the mechanics could shine. When playing the game I have visions of playing the same crew 3 or 4 hours later with a bigger ship and a crew of 10 or 15, but since the game almost starves you of resources and doesn't expect you to survive it crushes all hope of a long epic journey.

What I was hoping for was a game with the same mechanics just in an open world where you could take quests (with the chasing fleet being one of those quests), and build your ship. In the end the game makes me think I've wasted my time on it.

Anyone else feel the same way?

#8 Posted by Brodehouse (10627 posts) -
@Daitre Well it is a roguelike. It would interesting to see them take the bones of this and make it more of a long-term strategy game rather than stick to the core roguelike tropes.

But yeah, it's super savage. I understand roguelikes wanna be roguelikes, but I prefer games where my strategy matters to survival, not the fell whims of dice. With a game you expect your input to decide the outcome, but you can just wind up in unwinnable situations through no fault of your own.
#9 Posted by Daitre (4 posts) -

@Brodehouse: I understand that its a roguelike, and that's what I bought into. But as I play it I can see the potential of the mechanics they built, I can see myself playing for hours on end if they let me. The fact that I see so much potential is what disappoints me so much.

In my unprofessional opinion it wouldn't take much to make a much better game. Make fuel much easier to come by, remove the ever present perusing fleet, create a few simple quests and make the sector map a grid instead of a linear line and give the player a few friendly areas to rest and call home.

They made an incredible game that is just held back by the tropes of a roguelike.

#10 Posted by Ubersmake (771 posts) -

I got the beta "invite" while I was at PAX, so I installed the game late last night. I'm having a lot of fun with it. I spent the remainder of my Monday trying to get to the end of the game on Easy, and failing every time. I don't plan on attempting Normal until I get a better grasp of strategies while trying to stay one jump ahead of that death-fleet.

@Daitre: I totally see where you're coming from, but I don't know if I'd enjoy that more open game. It'd definitely take a lot of balance tweaking to make it work, along with the addition of more content. With what l've seen so far, if you've played "right," you *might* stand a chance at the end of the game, and that's why I think this works with that fleet chasing you. Every choice you make affects that final encounter, assuming you make it that far. If you got to fly around with an over-powered ship, I don't know how long that would be fun.

Still, what you describe reminds me of a 2D Privateer, and the very dissimilar Flotilla. And while I can see FTL working as a non-roguelike, it'd be a very different game. So different, in fact, that there might not be a reason for me to play it over those other two games I mentioned.

#11 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12872 posts) -

The game is pretty fantastic, actually. Have yet to finish it, but I guess I'll try playing on easy more often or something.

#12 Edited by Kidavenger (3919 posts) -

I watched the first part of the Idle Thumbs playthrough on, I was interested up to the point where he kept dying due to having to fight orbiting a star/sun; I can appreciate randomness, but having something that is an auto loss that early in a game is really off-putting.

#13 Posted by BisonHero (8562 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

I watched the first part of the Idle Thumbs playthrough on, I was interested up to the point where he kept dying due to having to fight orbiting a star/sun; I can appreciate randomness, but having something that is an auto loss that early in a game is really off-putting.

Do you recall what ship he was playing as? Fighting near a sun isn't so bad as long as you have a shield; most ships start with a shield, except for the stealth ship, which starts with the cloaking system instead of a shield. That tradeoff is actually a HUGE drawback, because even the weakest possible shield helps out a lot during fights near the sun/fights in asteroid fields. And even in regular combat, the weakest possible shield is slightly more reliable than the cloaking system. The stealth ship is an incredibly hard ship to play (they actually nerfed it slightly during the beta, which is baffling), and despite the fact that I've beaten the game maybe 3 or 4 times with other ships, I'm not sure I've ever made it past the halfway point with the stealth ship.

@Brodehouse said:

But yeah, it's super savage. I understand roguelikes wanna be roguelikes, but I prefer games where my strategy matters to survival, not the fell whims of dice. With a game you expect your input to decide the outcome, but you can just wind up in unwinnable situations through no fault of your own.

I really, really like this game, but I agree that at times, the game is too random. In the sense that there's not much of a difficulty curve and I feel like I've pretty much mastered what little player input there is during combat (selecting targets, moving crew around, powering/depowering systems). So now when I lose, it's mostly because I get unlucky with items and am just constantly short on money the whole playthrough and end up not getting good enough weapons and eventually get outgunned as the enemies get tougher and tougher.

In general, if you aren't getting free crew members and weapons from various random events, you're in trouble, because then you have to waste money on those things at shops, meaning you have even less money to upgrade your ship with. This is a problem, since money is insanely scarce to begin with. Sure, most roguelikes are NOT like The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky and allow you to use your mad skillz to compensate for poor items, but to use a recent example, as long as you're smart in something like Dungeons of Dredmor, you can get pretty far even without any particularly impressive item drops.

The biggest problem I see is that the money ("scrap") in the game game creates feedback loops, one way or the other. If you're doing well, then you keep crushing every ship you encounter and keep getting even more money, further improving your ship. If you're doing badly and your ship is underpowered, you either A) take a shit ton of damage each battle, and have to spend your money repairing yourself at shops constantly, leaving you almost no money for the upgrades you desperately need, or B) you FTL jump away from every battle as soon as possible, meaning you take little damage, but also meaning you're earning basically zero money because you keep running from fights. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Despite those criticisms, I still enjoy the game, though seriously, playing the stealth ship is frustrating as fuck.

Anyway, it's nice to see this thread suddenly come alive a full month after I created it.

#14 Posted by YoThatLimp (2066 posts) -

I fell in love with this game the moment I eliminated an enemy crew by shooting a breech bot at a ship in desperation and having it destroy its oxygen room and having the run out of air while fighting off my lasers.

#15 Posted by YoThatLimp (2066 posts) -

God damn it, was having such a good run until a few Mantis intruders beamed in and took out my skilled captain. I had 7 crew member, 30+ missiles, almost fully upgraded shields, etc. I killed them with ease but lost my last encounter because I had 4 intruders beam into my engine room. I opened up the air locks and started sucking the air out of the cabins slowly killing them, but because my new captain had no skill I was destroyed by 7 or 8 missiles while my 3 other hand-to-hand crew cleaned up the intruders and put out the fires..

#16 Posted by Nethlem (470 posts) -

Oh it's finally getting released!

A few weeks ago i spent hours just watching a guy play the game on youtube:

Watched him play trough the game several times on easy difficulty with different ships as such it looks and feels pretty balanced for a roguelike. Because much of what you do in the game depends on your knowledge about other things in the games world, if you set out with a plan about what to do and how to do it then it can work out pretty well.

Yes just like other roguelikes it also has the chance of screwing you over, but that's a given with any game that involves a lot of RNG for level generation, as such "balance" is a pretty subjective term in that case.

Also the guy mentioned that the developers are looking into an "endless gameplay" mode down the line, haven't checked up on that claim but i don't think it's so far stretched. But it's only 2 developers or something like that, so getting all the stuff inside the game takes time.

#17 Posted by crusader8463 (14755 posts) -

I go nuts for it for an afternoon and then curse the game and swear I will never play it again by the time I'm done. Then a few days later I come back and play it again. I'm at that point where I have seen most of the events so discovering new ones isn't that much of an occurrence for me anymore, and I have hit a wall with new ships and am starting to get tired of playing the ones I got. I do great and can get to the end no problem, but the Boss just rapes me no matter what strategy I use. I'm usually pretty good with getting past phase one, but I am destroyed on phase 2. May try a missile build and see what I can do, but as is the game is a breeze until that one guy and it's game over every time.

#18 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -


Ha ha, I do the same thing: Get real into the game and ragequit for a day after I lose spectacularly.

A teleporter is great for fighting the boss since the weapon rooms aren't connected to the rest of the ship, so once the guy in each room is dead, the guns won't be repaired. If you're rich enough to afford a drone system with a repair drone, you can hold out against the boss ship as long as you have drone parts since one part = 3-5 health every time you activate the repair drone.

I've defeated the boss only once, and that was with the Engi ship, dual tier-2 ion cannons, and multiple attack drones. Seemed real easy, but I had gotten a real lucky run so far.

#19 Posted by crusader8463 (14755 posts) -

@Ravenlight: Ya, as I was typing that the teleporter idea dawned on me and I think I will combo that with a couple attack drones or one level 2 attack drone and a defense drone. Will see how it goes when I get home from work tonight.

#20 Posted by Jams (3043 posts) -

Fuck guys I'm still waiting for it to unlock on steam so I can buy it. Been waiting for this game since PC gamer had an article on it for (what seems like) a year ago.

#21 Posted by Eldrien (25 posts) -

Interestingly, you could actually buy it from the FTL website then activate and play it on Steam a few hours before the Steam version launched.

The game is really interesting. I've played through a few times and think of the two ships (original and Engi) I think I prefer the Engi so far. I've reached the end boss once and thought I was doing fairly well but I got completely ripped apart by the boss.

Cool game, but while I understand roguelikes are roguelikes as some of the others have said, it feels a little too much like you're against the RNG sometimes and not able to rely on your own skill.

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