I love Indie games.
They have an air of freedom about them. Sure, a lot of them get bogged down in trying to replicate the past, but when they get it right they get it right. All the retro-style Indies out there blend the old and the new to create a beautiful and fun game.
I have a long list of indie games that I adore. Shovel Knight, Super Meat Boy, Undertale, Bastion, Broforce, Titan Souls, Organ Trail and Stardew Valley are all just a few examples of great games made by a small team of passionate creators. They’re all fun, beautiful, and many of them are very challenging.
And out of all of them, none have appealed to them as much as FTL and Into the Breach.
Both of these games are fantastic science fiction adventures. Each campaign is super short, usually fitting within 1-3 hours (if you don’t get murdered by something you weren’t prepared for) making them super easy to get addicted to. Their tactical strategy gameplay is both super challenging and super addictive.
Get ready to see the word ‘addictive’ a few times in this rant.
Both of these also have super simple stories that get you right into the action. FTL is a classic sci-fi adventure: you, a small flagship, need to survive a trip across the galaxy to warn the Galactic Federation about an upcoming attack from a massive rebel fleet. This also lends itself into the gameplay; you can’t spend too long on each sector of the galaxy, as the rebel fleet is drawing ever closer to you.
Into the Breach is just as simple. You are a time-traveler, sent back in time with a small squad of giant robots to defeat an army of giant insects in order to prevent the end of the world. This goes well to creating a gameplay loop: if you lose, you can send one of your surviving squad mates back in time again to try again. If you win, the same thing happens, but now he gets to bring back his robot as well. It’s not as tense as FTL’s constant time limit, but it’s still engaging.
But what really gets me sucked into these addictive drugs are tactics. In FTL, you control your crew on a spaceship of your choice. You can place them in control of the different systems, like the Shield Generators or the Engines and of course: the Captain’s seat. It feels like you’re playing a strategic game of Star Trek or Star Wars. On top of that, exploring the galaxy is both tense and scary due to the time limit and threat of death while being a ton of fun.
Into the Breach doesn’t have the same level of addictive grasp that FTL has for me, but it’s still pretty addictive. It’s much like a game of Fire Emblem, where a single mistake can cost you one of your mechs. And without those, the rest of the battle could very well go downhill, forcing a restart. Each fight is tense, fun and engaging from the moment you land to the moment one side is wiped out.
And that side could very well be you. Y’know, if you suck at the game as much as I do.
Combined with all the different resources you need to manage, multiple different kinds of weapons, and the environmental hazards, along with all the other random elements that could kick in at any time, each play-through of these games feels different than the last.
Seriously, I’ve been playing both of these since they came out and I still haven’t gotten bored. And to put that into context, the original FTL release happened when I was entering my first year of junior high.
Oh god, I’m getting old…
If you haven’t played either of these games, I’d highly recommend you do. If you need something challenging, fun, and addictive, I can think of only a few games that will scratch that itch as well as these two. Seriously, the developer behind these (they are the same devs, in case you were curious) know how to make a good game.
They also know how to make me cry and scream in frustration.