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FTL: Faster Than Light Available on iPad 2 or newer Subset Games

Full disclosure:

I consider the original FTL: Faster Than Light, released for the PC at the end of 2012, to be one of the finest games of the past decade. Not only is it wonderfully engrossing and easy to pick up, it's endlessly replayable thanks to its randomly generated levels. Now it has arrived on the iPad in a shiny and upgraded version boasting so many new features it's less of a reboot than a new game built on top of the original's greatness. And while I'm a traditional keyboard-and-mouse gamer, I have to concede that FTL works best on the Apple's device, where you can direct the action with well-thought out prods and swipes.

Like most good things, FTL is based on a simple concept - guide a spaceship and its crew through seven zones, jumping from waypoint to waypoint as you try to outrun a fleet of enemies following behind. But first a word of warning: a casual glance at my Steam profile shows I've spent 98 hours of my life steering my little voyager through the galaxy, braving extra-terrestrial dangers such as pirates, meteor showers, sun flares and the odd giant spider, all the while humming quietly along to game composer Ben Prunty's delightfully boppy synth-pop soundtrack.

And here's my other full disclosure: in all that time I've managed to beat FTL on just three occasions. Playing on normal difficulty. This is a frightening statistic as FTL is a short-form game that takes roughly two hours or so to complete, not some sprawling RPG where travelling between locations takes a day in real-time.

Space is littered with the burning and blasted hulks left behind by my failures. But there's just something about FTL that begs me to have another go.

No two sessions are ever the same. There are a number of ships to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses (trust me, I know about their weaknesses) while the different species which make up the crew also have their own individual skills. You have standard humans (a sort of intergalactic jack-of-all-trades), warrior insect people, slow but hardy rockmen, weak but technically-minded robot-people The Engi and other beings who can boost the ship's power or suck oxygen from its rooms or even read minds.

Each jump to a waypoint plays out like a potted episode of Star Trek. Sometimes you encounter helpful aliens willing to trade - an essential feature as you seek to bolster your loadout - while at other times there's a ship or a space station in distress or a quest that needs sorting out. But more often than not it's battle you face, and it's here that FTL truly soars. All ships, both yours and the enemy's, rely on essential systems - mainly weapons, shields, oxygen, engines and cockpit, although there are many more add-ons - which can all be targeted individually.

Once the fight is joined, these intergalactic slugfests descend into frantic, panic-inducing melees as you desperately try to knock out your opponent's defences while scrambling to keep yours online. With a massive arsenal available to build upon as you plot your way through the galaxy, fights can turn on a single snap decision that either leaves you smiling smugly as your assailant is reduced to its component parts under the barrage of your phasers, or weeping with regret that you didn't pick missiles over beam weapons, equip your hull with better armour or hire a slightly less flammable crew.

But even as you watch your whip blow apart, or gaze sorrowfully on as your crew slowly asphyxiates in the vacuum of space, there's always the comfort that maybe - just maybe - your next run will be better.

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