I am not going to pretend that there is a single game that is better than all other games that I have played this year. I am not going to force myself to pigeon hole my favorite games into categories that would never occur to me when trying to make a purchase. Nor am I going to force you to read an arbitrary ranking which I made up minutes before writing. All of those types of articles have been written, many with more skill, dedication, and thought than I may ever muster. And many with far more playing time and experience with this year’s titles.
My capacities are limited. I also believe that a good game is a good game, and, like apples and oranges, entirely too hard to compare. That’s why I am doing Games of the Year. First up and not any better for it, hit indie roguelike, FTL: Faster Than Light.
I wrote about FTL: Faster Than Light a few months ago in nothing but glowing terms. Even after not playing it for a while now and never getting very good at it (though I did win a few times), I still regard it as one of the games of the year. It perfectly balances strategy, accessibility, and replayability, to introduce new players to roguelikes or remind veterans why the genre is so endearing. It is the sort of game you fall in love with instantly. The graphics are charming, the stories that emerge from the various gameplay systems and random exploration are memorable, and it manages to be challenging without absolute frustration.
Perhaps even more importantly, the soundtrack is phenomenal Game music as a whole has definitely been on the rise as of late, given Journey’s grammy nomination, but FTL’s soundtrack is the sort of lightspeed-capable engine making that rise happen. It has this haunting blend of bleak loneliness with an almost wistful look toward exploration. In other words, it is a perfect match. If you haven’t already, check out the game’s title track:
FTL: Faster Than Light is one of my games of the year for a lot of great reasons. It’s fun, cool, and constantly surprising you. Without cutscenes, voice acting, or even the sort of action most people have come to expect in games, FTL hits hard enough to breach your hull. It is the definition of a must play title.
It is also on sale now. If you haven’t bought it yet, go grab it on GOG.com for $4.99. You won’t be disappointed.