FasterThanLight's Sequel Into The Breach

Posted on March 5, 2018 by Richard Goulter

“Faster Than Light” (FTL) was a very cool game.
You basically got to play as the captain of a starship. Gameplay would be like “Divert power from the shields to the weapons. Target their engines!”.
But the game was also ‘rogue-like’. The gameplay didn’t take place in a single crafted, designed campaign of missions. The ‘campaign’ was procedurally generated. – So, in each playthrough, the encounters and opportunities to get better equipment or crew members would be different.
The gameplay was split between the 1-on-1 starship combat, and the overworld where the player navigates through a graph of nodes. The end goal is to beat the final boss, a super-starship.
– The dynamic is, I think, that you’ll fail most of the time. But every now and then you’ll win.

FTL is a popular game. I’d say I enjoyed it. Mostly.
A sequel just came out. And I’d say I kinda enjoy it, but it’s not really for me.

Superficially, the game is quite different from FTL: aesthetically, it’s a combination of “Pacific Rim” and “Fire Emblem”/“Advance Wars”. Giant mech robots fighting giant aliens.
The overall gameplay is surprisingly similar to FTL, going by the above description. It’s got gameplay split between an overworld, and the robots-vs-aliens. Procedurally-generated so different experience each time. etc.

It is different from FTL in that the combat is turn-based (like “Fire Emblem”/“Advance Wars”, or any “x Tactics” game) rather than the real-time action of FTL.
And the end-boss isn’t against a gigantic monster.
But overall, pretty much any detail I can think of is essentially similar to FTL. Huh.

The dynamic feels a bit closer to, e.g. XCOM’s.
Your team is there to save the world. You have to make the trade-offs for which things you can save, and which things you can do without.
– I think the game is fun for that reason. But I don’t enjoy it as much. Since the game is ‘rogue-like’, and each game is short: if the game starts going unrecoverably sour, then I can just start a new game and hope for better luck.

It does sometimes feel like ‘luck’.
The robots-vs-aliens turn-based mode is less “turn based combat” and more of a puzzle about the constraints.
Each of the robots-vs-aliens mode last about 4 or 5 turns. In each turn, there are a couple of aliens; and a couple more will spawn each turn. So usually the gameplay in each turn is to eliminate/neuter the aliens in that turn.

I do enjoy the puzzle-based gameplay.
But … I don’t enjoy the dynamics involved with the constraints.
Killing the aliens means your units gain a bit of experience.
If the aliens damage any of the cities, it’s very bad. Completing the optional objectives in each of the maps is good; you get a reward if you don’t miss any of them.
You can restart … a turn. (You can’t restart the map, or undo anything less granular than a turn).
Completing the optional objectives also earns you points which you can spend after every 4 battles. But you don’t get many points, and can’t upgrade your units very much.
– Throughout a really good game on easy, I was able to half-upgrade all three of the units. (Or was it fully-upgrade one, mostly upgrade another, and the third unit didn’t do much?).

The game just feels a bit too ‘scarce’ for me.

Newer post Older post