‘Immersive’ is not a word I throw around often because it requires context, otherwise it could just as easily be a negative thing.
For instance, in my Growing Up With Video Games series, I mentioned the throes of a first-person shooter. That is immersive, but in a way that doesn’t make me want to play the game. Immersive can also mean 15 hours fly by and you won’t even know it… something we ought to view as a negative thing, but I’m sure some view as a positive trait.
Yet Faster Than Light (FTL) is immersive and in the best possible way.
FTL engages your imagination. The story is so basic (warn citizens of rebel invasion), but the stakes are high since every battle is a challenge where a hundred things could go wrong. The challenge (and there is a steep STEEP learning curve) forces you to fill in the gaps of the story and create context/content where there is none. This is incredible game design — and could even be used as a learning tool — as a natural consequence of this is it actively engages your imagination. For instance, I start making characters up!
When a fire lit up in sensors room, Law gave the orders, “Without knowing if there’s been a breach in the hull, we can’t risk running out of oxygen. Batman, you put the fire out; KC, stay on standby, we can’t afford to lose Geoff’s guns in a firefight, but should the fires spread, you’re first up to put them out.” Geoff continued firing on the enemy ship, the first 2 burst lasers missed, but the final 3 brought their shields down. They scrambled to get their systems back online while the pike beam ripped apart their defenseless ship. They were nothing more than space debris.
It wasn’t long before another fight broke out… and we had the misfortune of being caught near a red sun. Being in desperate need of scrap metal to upgrade our shields systems, Law knew we needed to leave this enemy ship intact and ransack it whole. Batman and KC hopped into the teleportation pod and attacked the enemy ships oxygen systems. It wasn’t long before they found out and attacked.
Batman’s health was running low, but Law couldn’t teleport him back until the systems cooled! If he could hold out just a little longer.
Things went from bad to worse. The red sun was about to send out a flare, Batman was in critical condition, but new recruit “Bowditch” was repairing our shields — hopefully in time!
Law teleported Batman and Casey back aboard and the two were immediately planted in the healing bay while the systems cooled and they healed up. A fire broke out just behind the cockpit, so Law opened all four doors to vacuum out the flames. Once, KC and Batman were healed, they teleported back over to finish the job. It was a quick work.
That is immersion in the best possible way, it’s the way I always want to feel with a video game.
Faster Than Light is one of the pricier games on the app store and it is absolutely worth it. I could play this game on any occasion. And although I skip much of the narrative now, it is not without a sense of humor with Giant Spiders and timid pirates. There’s unlockables galore and it’s never dull or dreary as there’s a randomness to each playthrough; in fact, the randomness increases your willingness to try new things as you may find new weapons that have a profound impact on your strategy.
Perhaps best of all, winning isn’t everything. There’s more entertainment and enjoyment to be gained from exploring and unlocking new ships than there is from winning the campaign. It is absolutely worth the price for casual and adamant gamers alike.
For more iOS reviews, visit Derek Hobson’s Article Archive