There sure are a lot of games that incorporate "roguelike elements" these days -- some that do it better than others.
Amid the endless reams of top-down turn-based dungeon crawlers of varying quality, FTL stood out as a game that was trying to do something a bit different. Describing itself as a "roguelike-like," it abandoned many of the genre's core principles in favor of creating an experience that was accessible yet deep; challenging yet addictive; infuriating yet fair.
Lest you've never had the pleasure of FTL, it's a simple yet effective idea. You command your ship by rerouting power to various systems and ordering your crew to man the most helpful stations. You'll make your way through various sectors, battling enemies and doing random good deeds along the way, with the eventual aim of beefing up your ship enough to take on the big bad guys who are constantly chasing you. More often than not, however, things go disastrously wrong along the way, and you'll find yourself blown into space garbage, sucked into a black hole or crash-landing on a sun -- at which point, you restart and do it all over again.
FTL's been out for a while now, and while it offers a significant amount of content, some people still want more. Those people are going to get more early next year, when a free update known as FTL: Advanced Edition arrives on the scene.
FTL: Advanced Edition features new game systems including mind control and hacking, as well as a whole new sector to explore. Said new sector will also include new events, penned by original writer Tom Jubert with a guest appearance from Chris Avellone, who has taken some time out from development on Project Eternity and Wasteland 2 to contribute some content. There'll also be new weapons and effects, plus more systems, drones, augments, enemies and environments to contend with, helping up the challenge and randomness factor for those who have seen everything the original game had to offer.
The new version will also include a few player-requested tweaks such as being able to save crew positions and recall them immediately -- good for ordering "battle stations" -- and the ability to save and quit in the middle of combat. You'll be able to turn the new content on and off from the hangar screen before starting a new game, too, so if you find you prefer the experience of the original FTL, you don't have to make use of the Advanced Edition's new features.
Alongside the new expansion, FTL will also be coming to iPad around the same time. It'll run on iPad 2 or better, and will feature all the content from both the base game and the Advanced Edition expansion. The team notes that once the iPad version is on sale, it'll look into the possibility of porting to other tablet platforms such as Android or Microsoft Surface, but having learned from past experience how challenging it is to develop for three platforms at once (PC, Mac and Linux) they have wisely decided to focus on one at a time going forward.
Don't expect to be playing FTL on your phone any time soon, however; the team's tried its best, but ultimately there's just too much going on to make playing the game in any way practical on such a small screen.
FTL: Advanced Edition and its iPad counterpart will be available in "early 2014." Stay tuned to the official site for the latest news.
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