Released in 2012 for the desktop, Faster Than Light from Subset games is considered to be one of the top indie real-time strategy games. In the game, you control a spaceship from Galactic Federation that contains critical information. You must escape the pursuing rebel fleet and make it across sectors to the Federation HQ to deliver your vital data.
This spaceship simulation game challenges you at every turn with rogue-like combat situations that sometimes require you to fire away with your weapons and other times practice diplomacy. Ship emergencies, often in the middle of combat, add a whole new level of complexity as you struggle to keep to vital systems like your weapons array on key sensors online. Though you start with a basic Kestrel-class cruiser, you can unlock upgrades, weapons and new ships.
Gameplay can be hectic at times, but FTL does include a pause function, allowing you to stop the action so you can plan your strategy. The pause function gives you some breathing room, but it doesn't make the game any easier. Always on your mind is the game's permadeath feature that doesn't allow you to start in mid-game when you die. If you are destroyed, you must start over at the beginning. Of course, starting over means you get to try to new strategies, unlock different ships and discover new tricks the next time around.
The iPad version of Faster Than Light ships with the new FTL:Advanced Edition expansion pack, which adds new ships, enemies, events, and weapons to the game. This pack can be disabled if you prefer to play the classic game. The touch interface translates nicely over to the game, making it easier and more intuitive to use than the mouse clicks of the desktop version.
Faster Than Light is available for the iPad for US$9.99. If you have any interest at all in this genre of game, then you won't be disappointed in Faster Than Light. The depth of the game in incredible and the gameplay has just the right mix of slow-paced waypoint jumping and resupplying mixed with hectic combat situations that require fast thinking on your part.