The game is centered on a spaceship that the player selects at the beginning of the game. Only one kind of ship is available for new players; more can be unlocked by successfully completing in-game objectives. Each ship is rendered in top down 2D, featuring a specific layout of vital rooms including engine and life support. After choosing a ship, the game then procedurally generates the galaxy that the player explores in the form of "Jump Beaon" waypoints.
Each waypoint has a random event that unfolds based on player choices, including combat with rebel spacecraft conducted in real time strategic gameplay where players must manage the ship's weapons, resources and crew. Failure to defeat enemy spacecraft and completing the mission will result in the game purposely deleting the player's current save file, requiring them to start all over.
FTL: Advanced Edition was released in April 2014 as a free update for existing FTL owners, featuring new ships and playable races with their own abilities and challenges, plus a harder difficulty level.
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