So, there’s no two ways around it. This game rocks. Apparently, there’s been a web version of this game for a while, but my first exposure to it was a Kickstarter campaign for the iPad version of the game, which launched early April. What follows is a quick run through on how you can beat the game on EASY. If you don’t want any spoilers, go play the game yourself. There’s a solid balance of pure strategy, luck as well as improvisation to winning.
Also, as I mentioned, there seem to be a lot of guys with Teleporter strategies to beat the game and the end boss. As a challenge, I wanted to go with a no transporter strategy. Not because I thought this was better, but it just seemed different. If you want to download the game for iPad, you can here:
From what I could see, there were THREE core fundamentals you need to understand in order to do well – Resources, Crew and Combat… This is only ONE method of beating the game, so take this with a grain of salt:
#1 – Resource Management:
– The main resource in FTL is “scrap”. You can also collect missiles and fuel and droid parts, but you need scrap to buy upgrades, items and weapons. There are three key ways to maximize your resources:
- First, spend as much time as possible visiting star systems. Only leave for the next sector, when you are forced to, by pursuing ships. Map out your route, to plan ahead. Nebula star systems are great for collecting resources, as you can visit more of them, especially if you fight enemies each time. If presented the opportunity, attack enemy ships. Always make choices which will maximize your resource collection.
- Second, avoid spending money on perishables. Avoid using missiles to beat early enemies. Your “Burst Laster Mark II“will work fine, well into several sectors later. And for the love of god, do everything you can to avoid taking hull damage. Any hull damage taken that could have been avoided is money lost for future upgrades. (eg. in situations like Asteroid fields where you may take additional damage, it’s OK to use missiles to end the fight early, if the cost/benefit seems to indicate that a shorter fight will result in less resources “spent”). Get into the habit of winning fights without taking any damage throughout the entire game.
- Third, get the Scrap Recovery Arm augment for your ship. This increases resources gained from fights by 10%. The earlier you get it, the more it stacks. In the very latest levels, when money is not an issue, trade this off for a more combat oriented augment.
In the early sectors, you shouldn’t need to spend scrap on practically anything, unless you see a good augment (which I’ll go into later). If you are conserving your missiles, you shouldn’t need to buy them at all in the first several sectors. Save and save and save. The same way money spent on hull repair is just lost money, resources spent on items you are not going to use for the eventual boss, are also wasted money. Have an idea of your eventual, long term strategy so you know what items will help you.
#2 – Crew Management
– Ships in FTL have various stations that can be manned by crew. This gives bonuses, as well as trains the crew to give even larger bonuses in later levels. There are two main things to consider:
- First, start early with building your crew. You want to quickly max out to 6 crew members quickly, in order to have enough time so they can train and upgrade their skills for the boss. While you do want a diverse crew, at least in my situation, because I wasn’t boarding, the specific races in my crew didn’t matter as much. Have at least a few Mantis or Rock Guys to repel boards, and a few Engi’s for engines and weapons. Before you finish Sector 2, you should have 4-5 crew already. By the mid-game, you should have up to 6. And you should ensure you are maxed out with 8 before getting to the last level.
- Second, ensure that you level them up to max. Some situations, where an enemy cannot penetrate your shields, gives free training to your shield crew and your pilot on evasion. Take advantage of those situations, even if they are boring.
- Third, ensure that your decisions for sending crew on missions, takes into account risk factors. In the early sectors, feel free to be more risky with optional missions.. If things turn out very badly, it’s easier to restart than to lose highly skilled crew right before a boss fight in the latter levels. There are multiple occasions to gain new crew through slavers or “blue options”.. ensure you have Sensors Level 2, and Medbay Level 2, in order to unlock these “blue option” outcomes.
#3 – Combat Strategy
– It is difficult to talk about combat strategy without having some idea of what your eventual strategy will be for the end boss. Of course, you need to have played through the game once or twice to understand what the challenges of the end boss will be for that to make any sense, but let’s assume you HAVE played through a few times, but get obliterated, like what happened to me, my first, oh, 15 times playing through, and need to be strategic about your choices… There are three main points to combat, with the strategy I used:
1) Offense: Have a weapons load that is geared to take down enemy shields quickly, and then do critical hull damage
2) Defense: Focus on turtling.. Get Max Shields when you can, high evasion (with engines) and cloak.. This is essential with a non teleporter strategy.
3) Augments: For this strategy to be effective, you also need very specific augments, which are very helpful, and perhaps critical. Specifically, you need 1) Stealth Weapons and 2) Weapon Pre-igniter
Ok, so let’s go into more detail…
- First, as mentioned, the offensive strategy that I used is entirely based around having the weapons necessary to take down shields quickly, and then doing hull damage to critical systems.
– In the early game, you can just target down the enemies weapons, which is a safer (if not longer) approach. This is because your Burst Laser has enough shots to take down shields and do enough hull damage to destroy ships.
– Later, in the mid game, when enemies have 2 shields, or high evasion, you must use your rocket launcher to supplement your “Burst Laser Mark II”… Fire your rocket first, then manually target your laster each cycle, so that your laster hits AFTER shields have been knocked out. Missiles can easily the method by which you eliminate the enemies shields. This works for everything EXCEPT when the enemy has Defense Drones which can shoot down your missiles. In that case, you need to have already, ideally, have bought your third weapons system to help out, or they will be tough fights (you need to target your enemy’s drone control first, and hope you get lucky)
– In the end game, the weapons load out that I found myself deciding with was: 1) One Burst Laser Mark II 2) One Flak Cannon Mark II and 3) A beam weapon – a Halberd Beam / all weapons in the game are based on a damage output vs energy requirements curve. You could also use missiles instead of the flack cannon to take down shields – I preferred flak cannons, after having a few tough fights with ships with Defense Drones. The Burst Laser was there to eliminate any shields left, as well as do some damage on any critical systems, in case my beam weapon was knocked out. And the Halberd Beam was there to just finish the enemy off. With this load out (along with the augments), you’re quite able to destroy enemies with a single volley before they even get a shot off.
– It goes without saying that this load out requires maxed weapons and 8 energy. Make sure you collected enough resources throughout the game to support this…
- Second, the defensive strategy that I used was entirely based on heavy shields and cloak. This method also avoided taking damage in most situations, for better resource collection.
– With the Weapon Pre-igniter upgrade, you start off in combat with weapons fully charged. This is a HUGE benefit, for two reasons. First, this gives an abnormally larger benefit towards large, heavy weapons which have normally large cool down rates. Starting off with a 15 or 17 second weapon immediately gives you a huge edge. Second, it also gives you essentially a free volley, which is key to the strategy.
– Then combined with cloak, AND Stealth Weapons augment, this is what happens:
a) You start the fight, and immediately fire off a full volley. First flack. Then when flack takes down shields, the laser. Then finally, the beam weapon. Often, this is enough to destroy the enemy ship completely, or severely damage them.
b) If they have somehow managed to survey, just sit back and wait for the enemy’s weapons to charge. You need to determine which enemy weapon is the most dangerous, as they often don’t fire them in sync. Whichever is the most dangerous (ie. anything that can bet past shields, like missiles or an ion cannon), use your cloak to dodge. I upgrade max cloat, so it lasts 15 seconds. At this point, you should basically only need 1 or 2 seconds in cloak until your ready to unload your second fully weapons volley. Disabled Shields, Weapons and I also like to target teleporters to make my life easier.
c) At this point, the enemy ship – if not destroyed – is extremely crippled. By the time you come out of cloak, your just a few seconds away from your third full volley. So far, the enemy has not even been able to get a shot to impact your ship. For a few seconds, your shields at level 4 should protect you if you’ve taken out the most dangerous weapons. If you haven’t killed the enemy ship at this point, you’re either doing it wrong or it’s the boss, in which case you need to improvise.
– Note, this strategy is VERY vulnerable if your weapons systems get knocked out however. You NEED your beam weapons AND your Flak Cannon. If I were to do this over again, I’d place my lasers on the top so those would be disabled first in the event that a missile hits my weapons room.
– Also, pause OFTEN… You’re timing needs to be perfect.
- Third, was going to be Augments, but I’ve basically already talked about them above… those two augments are essential for this strategy to work. But work it does. You can beat the boss on easy, without taking more than just a few points of hull damage, even throughout all its forms… Once you’ve knocked out a ship’s shields, your Beam weapons just do terrible damage…