One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.
This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.
What do we have in store for you for Day 9 (admittedly, going up a day late)? FTL for Mac, about the closest experience to sitting down in the Captain’s Chair on the U.S.S. Enterprise you’re likely to find on any platform for less than $10.
Space. The Final Frontier.
These are the continuing voyages of — what’d I call my ship this time again? Oh, right — the U.S.S. Buttfart. Her roughly 90-minute mission? To boldly go where no man has gone before. Oh, right, and to blow the crap out of a galaxy’s worth of aliens, and rack up some sweet loot while she’s at it.
FTL by Subset Games is one of the most delightful games I’ve had the pleasure of discovering this year. It hits a lot of my sweet spots. It’s a simple, infinitely replayable game with a lot of hidden depth and emergent gameplay. It’s randomly generated, so no two games are alike. It’s got charming graphic and sound design. And, oh yeah, it’s about as close to a Star Trek rogue-like as we’re ever about to see.
The idea behind FTL is that you’re the commander of a starship traveling through deep space, being relentlessly pursued by enemies. You need to explore the galaxy, amassing weapons, ship upgrades and crew members, all the while staying one step ahead of your pursuers, who draw closer to your location every time you jump into a new solar system. The only way to outpace them is to keep moving forward, but each time you jump into a new sector, you jump in completely blind, with no telling what will be on the other end of the voyage.
Here’s how a short game might start out. You board your ship and jump into the first sector, only to immediately be attacked by pirates. Fighting them off, they surrender, and give you a rare new weapon if you’ll spare their life. You agree to do so, and randomly jump to the next sector, only to find a decrepit space station orbiting a planet. Exploring the space station, you find an old stasis pod that you choose to bring back to your ship. In the next section, you are approached by an alien pursued by an enemy cruiser, who asks for your help. Agreeing to give it to him, the alien quickly turns on you, and beams two of his fellow villains aboard your space ship, who immediately disable your weapons. You are able to repel the boarders by opening the airlocks, sucking them out into deep space, and jump out of the sector before the enemy space ship destroys you. Luckily, your next jump is a space port, where you are not only able to repair your ship, but manage to crack open the Stasis Pod, inside of which you find a crystalline alien life form who is eager to join the crew of your ship.
And that’s all in about the first five minutes of a game. FTL is just a charmer, through and through, and each game you play is like watching a new episode of Star Trek or Firefly. It’s one of my favorite games of 2012.
You can get FTL on the Mac right now for the steal of a price of just $6.00.