FTL: Faster Than Light – Guide

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Faster Than Light is a unique game based on classic space simulators and inspired by sci-fi sagas. It has a pretty simple graphics and sounds but complex gameplay features combined with roguelike mechanics. We prepared the ultimate guide where new players and experienced fans can discover some new useful strategies or basic things.

This guide starts with primary features, so we recommend newcomers reading the first paragraph. There also will be observed main parts of FTL including the very last fight, random clashes, characteristics of ships and best strategies to beat the game. Don’t forget to check the last paragraph with cool hints.

It’s time to start our guide!

Basic info

FTL is a simulator where you control a single spaceship with all its crew. Your main goal is to deliver news to your friends from Federation. Hostile rebels are chasing you, so the time for each run is limited. FTL is roguelike with randomly generated events like classic dungeon sims. To beat it you have to pass 7 sectors and destroy the boss in the 8th sector. Select the vessel and start your journey!

The game consists of only a few screens which will be described below. FTL features jump from one space system to another and from one sector to the next one. In each system, you can trigger positive or negative event. More often negative encounters will occur, so it means you have to fight with enemies. The combat screen is probably the most important, so pay attention to it in the next paragraph. To succeed in battles it’s better to develop your own vessel. You can do it by upgrading systems or buying new ones for scraps. This in-game currency can be collected through the game as well as missiles and drone parts which can enhance your attacking power.

And there’s another thing you should know. You will die. And die again. And again. The game is designed for several runs, so you even cannot hope for success during the first one. Every new playthrough grants new experience and makes further games easier. And, of course, you can unlock more powerful ships! So, just accept the fact you will die and be ready for frequent replays. Per Aspera ad Astra.

Main screens

There are only 3 main screens where you will spend a lot of time:

  1. The Hangar.

It’s the first screen of FTL where all flights start. Here you can browse available ships and their main features. Despite only one ship is unlocked at the start, there are also hints on getting new vessels and achievements related to them. Don’t forget to select a difficulty level near the Start button. We recommend Easy so far as it’s the best option for everybody except the most experienced heroes.

  1. Beacon Map.

This screen offers the map of available space systems and sectors. Here you can select a new destination point or jump to the next sector. There are markers of stores, distress signals, and quests. Stores offer you repair services, fuel, ammo, crew members and new systems. Distress signals show that certain ships require help but there are also fake signals which mark traps. Quests can reward you with money, crew members or even new ships. Also, pay attention to rebels who chase you every turn. It’s better to avoid extremely tough battles with them.

  1. Battle Screen.

The most informative screen appears in battles. Explore it to be familiar with all your systems. Top part presents the power of shields which can absorb energy damage. Green bar near shields shows the durability of your hull, i.e. health of the ship. Once it runs out you will lose the game. Watch for a number to the right of hull health. It’s your fuel which is the main resource for jumps. Keep the fuel stocked up to be able to escape from tough battle.

There is also info about scraps, missiles, drone parts, oxygen for the crew, and evasion which shows the chance of dodging. The bottom part of the screen shows your energy and systems as well as weapons. Each system including gun-related ones is linked with certain room. Crew members can maintain rooms and increase the efficiency of systems while you can add or take away power from them. Use the Pause button to plan the energy and weapons usage.

The right part of this screen shows the enemy ship, finally. Depending on the level of your sensors you will see only the hull or the scheme with rooms like your ship. Thus, it allows targeting certain systems or rooms. We suggest focusing on shields and weapons, so enemies will have neither defensive systems nor attacking ones. Also, there’s an option to teleport your crew onto a hostile ship and destroy it from within.

Final fight

While each sector and space system may surprise you with a difficult combat, the last 8th sector offers the final battle with rebel’s flagship. Map of this sector will have a few stores where you can repair the ship, be sure. However, other places may also trigger minor battles which are dangerous before the toughest fight in the game. Try to avoid them and head to the boss.

The flagship’s battle divides into 3 stages:

  • Stage 1. It’s the most difficult part of the fight so far as the boss has 4 shields, 4 weapon systems and many staff. Focus shields and then destroy weapons, so the flagship cannot protect itself. Try to increase your hull’s durability to survive after missile strikes.
  • Stage 2. The boss will heal and jump away. Chase your target to start the next stage where about 1/3 of the flagship will be destroyed. But the boss will try to attack you with drones, so maximize shields now. The attacking strategy is the same here.
  • Stage 3. The last stage is the simplest. It will have only 2 guns but the main weapon is its crew. Improved door systems are wonderful against intruders but you always can send your own crew to kill them. Again, focus on shields and weapons of the boss.

After the last ecnounter, the flagship will be destroyed once and for all. And that’s the final of FTL! Additionally, the game offers a lot of side tasks, e.g. new ships and quests, so we suggest replaying even after the last fight.

Random encounters

Here is the full list of events that can be triggered by a jump to the next system:

  • Automated ships. Small vessels without the crew which are pretty simple enemies. There are also dormant automated ships which you can hack and get resources without a fight.
  • Giant spiders. This event requires from you to decide whether to help strangers fighting with spiders or ignore them. If you have the Fire Beam it’s easy to destroy spiders.
  • Haywire defense system. The similar event that allows you to destroy broken systems of an automated station or ignore it. Engi crew member or ion gun add safer options.
  • Simple fights with enemy ships turn into complex battles in final sectors. Be sure to disable rebels’ engines to prevent their escape attempt.
  • Wonderful encounter if you are ready for battles. Attack slavers immediately by boarding it, so you can get both new crew member and resources.
  • The ultimatum. This battle will be pretty unusual as the enemy disables certain system of your vessel at the start. Select the one that is less useful for the ship.

Be ready for additional events that can appear in the background. There can be asteroids which damage your ship for 1 point each or solar flares which deal a huge damage every minute. The worst thing about background events is that they can appear together with powerful enemies. There’s also a chance of empty place without any encounter.


Only one option is available at the start but you can unlock new ones by completing certain quests or simply beating the game. We will describe vessels and their features shortly:

  • The Kestrel.

It’s the first vessel which is the best option for attacking strategy. It has 3 Humans on the board, 1 missile launcher, and 1 laser gun. The Kestrel is really universal vessel which suits different playstyles. Don’t underestimate its power. 

How to unlock: start the game.

  • The Torus.

This ship has 2 Engi guys and 1 Human, 1 ion weapon, 2 drone systems and special Engi med-bot. The Torus is pretty unusual as it’s based on drones without attacking weapons. So, you should disable shields and then attack enemies with powerful drones.

How to unlock: reach the 5th sector.

  • Man of War.

It offers 2 Slug members, anti-bio beam, breach, lasers and specific repair system. This vessel is designed for eliminating crew members on hostile ships. For further details check the paragraph about strategies.

How to unlock: complete a quest in Slug’s sector.

  • The Osprey.

It’s the ship with the most varied crew: 1 Human, 1 Engi, 1 Rockman and 1 Mantis. It also holds a laser gun and a unique artillery weapon. The Osprey suits attacking strategy so far as its artillery can deal devastating damage.

How to unlock: finish the game successfully.

  • The Bulwark.

This one comes with the crew consisting of Rockman guys. It holds different missile launchers and a subsystem which can reject damage. The Bulwark is wonderful for attacking strategies but you should install some lasers on it.

How to unlock: complete a quest in Rock’s sector.

  • The Adjucator.

The main cool feature of this ship is its shields. They can block any shot including even powerful ion bombs! However, its reactor isn’t too powerful, so you should place Zoltan crew members wisely to add energy to specific rooms.

How to unlock: complete a quest in Zoltan’s sector.

  • The Gila Monster.

This vessel is maintained by Mantis and Engi crew members. It allows you to board targets from the very beginning as Mantis are cool fighters. The Gila Monster also starts with a system which increases the speed of your crew.

How to unlock: trigger a random event in Mantis’s sector.

It’s the hardest to unlock but the coolest ship in the game. Bravais holds cool Crystal weapons and unique Crystal crew. It also offers a good option of boarding enemy vessels but you should pay attention to hostile drones that are dangerous for Bravais.

How to unlock: trigger a random event and reach Crystal’s sector.

  • The Nesasio.

This ship is designed for stealth playthrough. It has no shields at all but exploits its high evasion and cloaking system. Probably, it’s the most difficult vessel but it offers a completely new strategy featuring stealth, dodge and correct timings.

How to unlock: trigger a random event in Engi’s sector.


You can have different crew members on the ship. It’s useful as specific races give unique benefits and dialogue options:

  • The first basic race has normal characteristics without specific bonuses. But they can repair systems a bit faster than regular races without better features.
  • They are best engineers that repair systems twice faster. But they deal only half damage in battles, so we don’t recommend using them in combats with intruders.
  • Large guys made of rocks. They are immune to fire and have increased health but they also move slower than other races. Rockman race is good at boarding.
  • Fast and deadly Mantis are wonderful fighters. They deal 1,5x damage and have 1,2x speed but pay for that with slower repair speed.
  • Weak creatures that can provide additional power to systems they are related to. They have decreased health, so try to protect them.
  • The regular race which has an interesting ability. These guys can see enemy rooms without improved sensors. So it’s a good decision to hire at least one Slug.
  • The hidden race that has increased health decreased speed and reduced damage from asphyxia. They also can block targeted rooms. Note that Crystal race and Crystal ship can be unlocked after triggering specific random quest series.

Best strategies

FTL offers a lot of randomly generated events, so it’s impossible to create a universal strategy. Instead of this, we offer two best options for developing your ship:

This way provides for creating the most powerful ship with enhanced weapons and shields. The Kestrel, your starting vessel, suits this tactic the best but you also can select any other ship to create wonderful destroyer. The strategy is based on diving into the battle, attacking an enemy with all weapons and focusing on the bridge and engines.

Systems to upgrade: missiles to pass shields, burst lasers to damage systems and hulls, maximized shields to protect you from attacks, and a large crew to maintain all rooms.

  1. Crew Killer.

If you want to obtain more scraps and weapons try to keep your victims undamaged. For this, focus on shields and then eliminate all enemy crew members. Try to disable weapons and oxygen system for additional effect. You also can teleport your team and board the hostile ship. Man of War is the best vessel for this strategy.

Systems to upgrade: anti-bio beam to kill living creatures, fire weapons to damage systems, maximized shields or high evasion to lower damage you take.

Other tips

In conclusion, here are a few helpful hints that will help you during FTL runs:

  • Use ion weapons to destroy shields. Ion bombs are wonderful so far as they can deal with shields with a single shot. This tactic works against the boss as well.
  • 2nd level of med-bay can help when the level of oxygen is low. Just move all crew members to med-bay when one of them will repair the O2 generator.
  • Improve door systems to protect from intruders and increase the movement speed of crew members. Doors are cool, don’t forget about them.
  • Try to open airlocks. This may sound pretty strange but the vacuum can help you. It will extinguish the fire and kill all living creatures, e.g. intruders.
  • Choose blue options in dialogues. They provide the best solutions with a lot of rewards. However, you may need specific crew members or equipment.
  • Explore the universe constantly. Learn about ships, races, and encounters as well as about enemies. It will help you during next runs.

And enjoy Faster Than Light!

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