Stand-out iPad title with great replay value

Possibly the cruelest time-waster ever conceived, FTL: Advanced Edition is nevertheless one of the stand-out iPad titles in recent times. It isn't often that a mobile game gets reviewed here but this one truly warrants the word space. With replay value by the bucket, I can see this game hanging around for a long time to come.

One of the joys of FTL is that you can never feel safe. Nestled within the cutesy pixel art and tiny animations is a brutally clever gameplay engine with so many permutations that it makes the enigma code look more like morse code. It may seem rudimentary at first glance, but the enormous variety of offensive and defensive options means that tension is kept to a surprisingly exhilerating high.

The many ways in which multiple versions of blasters, beams, flak, missiles, ion blasts, teleported bombs, attack drones, boarding parties with six distinctly different races, and mind control interact with shields, cloaking devices, defensive drones, engine speed, medical bays and cloning facilities, reinforced doors, and more is endlessly interesting.

Many choices surroud every key decision in FTL, particularly when it comes to an assault with the enemy. This leaves you wondering. Do you weaken their shields first, or take out their weapon systems? Or do you send over a boarding party and take them head-on? You could use mind control to attempt to turn the enemey crew against each other. You could even try power up your FTL drive and high-tail it out of there.

You'll even make some very poor choices, such as sending your boarding party over to an unmanned drone in order to disable its weapon systems. Only to realise that it's an unmanned drone and doesn't contain any air.

Each time you jump around the map it forces even more choices. You can try exploring as much as you can, upgrading your ship before reaching key battles. Sometimes this can backfire, though, and you can meet big pirate vessels that are just dying to take advantage of your moment of weakness. You're also just as likely to run into interesting little text adventures that are always well-written and choc-full of some surprisingly profound moral decisions.

This is an absolutely terrific title, and one that really takes the cake as far as mobile titles go. Also available on PC, this is a sure title for king of the time wasting games. Each run through provides a different story, and a different sense of reward. Even the ones that leave your entire crew dead.

Wexford People