Welp, that's that then. Keep reading for a mini-review and another thing.
So, my overall feelings on FTL now that I've played it a bit? Well it's pretty awesome, honestly. Not a perfect game, but pretty awesome. You may not have been able to tell from my static pictures, but the gameplay can actually be quite frantic, especially later on when you've got to deal with fires, hull breaches, invaders, enemy weapons, broken systems, oxygen management, and more! Without the Baldur's Gate-style pause, from which you can issue orders to your guys, the game would be chaotically unplayable later on.
The graphics are fairly nice sprite-base fare. Not particularly wow-ing, but it's clear and easy to tell what's going on, and the explosions are nice enough to be satisfying/horrifying depending on which side of it you're on.
The sound design is pretty good. The lasers make a good "pew pew" sound, because all lasers must go "pew pew". Someday I will write a sci-fi game where the lasers go "honk!". The music's a highlight, with that kind of nouveau-chip tune sound that Dustforce also has. Retro-sounding and kinda bleepy, but without sounding like it was ripped from the NES.
The main flaw in the game, in my opinion, is the randomness. Now hear me out for a second. As you might know from my King of Dragon Pass review, I'm a big fan of random events. Plus, FTL is a rogue-like(-like), which means that randomness is a big part of the game. However, sometimes the game feel a little too random. There are a bunch of events that live only to screw you over, are completely unavoidable, and seem to pop up a little too often, which can be very frustrating. You sometimes feel a little too out of control, like whether you live or die isn't so much on your skill (though skill is important) as it is on whether the random number gods favor you. A big improvement would be some way of decreasing the lethality/occurrence of these events via some sort of upgrade or special maneuver or something.
Over all though, it's a great game. Definitely worth $10, if not more, I'll be playing it for a while. If you've ever wanted a game that let you be a captain from your favorite sci-fi show/movie, definitely check out FTL. If you like frantic, fast-paced combat with a unique feel, definitely check out FTL. If you like rogue-likes and the constant thread of permadeath, check out FTL. If you like sci-fi or space at all, definitely check out FTL. If you're easily frustrated, however, FTL may not be the best game for you.
FTL can be acquired: at GOG (comes with wallpaper, music tracks, avatars, and artwork), at the developer's site (comes with a DRM-free download, a Steam key, and Windows, Mac, and Linux versions), or on Steam (comes with, er, nothing). Alternatively, keep reading...
Still here? Good. Well, I'm happy to announce that I am running a giveaway for one (1) copy of FTL - Faster Than Light on GOG! To enter, simply post below the first thing you'd do if you were captain of a spaceship. The giveaway will close in a few days (end date depends on how many entries I get), and the entry I like the most wins. This code was very generously contributed by Starmaker over on the GOG forums, so please shoot her a PM saying thanks if you win.
Let the games begin!
The giveaway is now closed, thanks everyone for entering.