FTL Faster Than Light: How To Unlock Every Ship (2024)

FTL: Faster Than Light is an extremely deep game. With a whole range of ship systems and sectors of space to explore, there are all kinds of strategies players can employ to reach their destination. To lean into this idea, the game has ten different ships that players can use on their journey. Other than the Kestrel Cruiser, unlocked at the start of the game, each has its own specialty and is optimized for a specific style of play.

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While it is possible to unlock most ships by beating the game with the previous one in the list, the FTL: Faster Than Light's difficulty means that likely won't happen. Instead, each ship has its own quest associated with unlocking it. These can be somewhat rare to come across, and players must perform particular actions to get the right ending.

Updated on January 20th, 2022 by Hodey Johns: The enduring love for FTL is one that gamers still carry on. The reverence for the short game with a permadeath system that blends random encounters and player choice is a lasting one. After advanced editions and re-releases, it's clear the game is here to stay. Perhaps one of the elements of the magic is the game's brutal difficulty. Players will look up strategy after strategy only to fail when the answer might be staring them in the face all along; switch ships! This guide has been updated with fresh information and a breakdown of how to unlock the B and C layouts as well.

Engi Cruiser - Drones Controlling Drones

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A race that is at least half (and maybe completely) mechanical in nature, the Engi have a great aptitude for machinery. They can repair systems faster than any other race, and their ships specialize in using Drones for combat situations. The trade-off is that they are no use in hand-to-hand combat, meaning if anyone boards the ship, they may be in trouble.

How To Unlock

This ship is by far the easiest to unlock, having a unique unlock condition. Rather than having to earn a victory with the Kestrel Cruiser, players have only to reach Sector 5 with the original ship to get this one.

Federation Cruiser - Extra Firepower

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FTL's morally grey rulers keep order in the galaxy and put down the rebel uprising; it's one of the things that makes FTL such an amazing Indie game. The Federation has plenty of ships ready to aid the player's quest. Their unique feature is an extra artillery fixture on their ships, which essentially acts as an extra weapon. Players can put it to effective use if the rest of the ship's arsenal is built around optimizing it.

How To Unlock

Unlocking this ship is a simple but difficult feat. When exploring a Rebel Stronghold Sector, traveling to any regular beacon may land the player in a "huge rebel shipyard." Looking around, the players will encounter a second Rebel Flagship mid-construction. This ship is a weaker version of the game's final boss, but it is still a very tough opponent. Defeating it or killing all of its crew will earn many resources and unlock the Federation Cruiser.

Zoltan Cruiser - Shields For Days

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Players will quickly learn what the Zoltan are all about when fighting them out in the stars. Their ships have a specialized type of shield. This shield is impenetrable at first and must be worn down with many attacks before players can start taking down the ship. Additionally, Zoltan crew members can power a ship's system simply by standing in the same room as it.

How To Unlock

When adventuring the galaxy, players may enter a Zoltan Homeworlds Sector. Once there, when entering any regular beacon, players may encounter a "Zoltan peace envoy." Players will have the option to attack them or hear them out. Hearing them out starts their quest. Going to the beacon with the quest marker will show the peace envoy has encountered a Rebel ship.

Despite the instinct that the rest of the game instills in players, they must NOT attack it. Instead, hail them and talk. First, select the dialogue option that asks to solve your differences "without war," then the option that states "true progress can only be achieved without bloodshed." Doing this will impress the Zoltan captain, and the Zoltan Cruiser will unlock.

Mantis Cruiser - Fight The Crew, Not The Ship

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The Mantis are just what they sound like, aliens that look like Praying Mantis. They are brutally efficient in hand-to-hand combat, and their ships play to this strength. All of their ships feature a teleporter that allows the Mantis crew to attack the enemy crew directly on their ship. Use it well and it makes FTL one of the best Indie games on Game Pass.

How To Unlock

In a Mantis Homeworld Sector, a non-distress beacon (Long-Range Scanners will give a "ship detected" reading) will bring players into combat with a Mantis ship. To start the ship quest, players must defeat the ship by killing its crew. Simply destroying the ship will end the quest without unlocking the ship.

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Investigating the ship after the battle will show a wounded thief. Players with a Level 2 Medbay or Clonebay can save him. He will then tell the player where you can find a stash of scrap & weapons. The Mantis thief will join the player's crew, and the Mantis Cruiser will unlock.

Lanius Cruiser - Oxygen Not Included

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Added in the free Advanced Edition DLC, the Lanius Cruiser is a unique race, and these aliens feel more like something out of a horror game. They're the only race that doesn't require oxygen to survive; however, they actively suck the oxygen out of any room they are in. Their ships specialize in the features added by the Advanced Edition DLC. Systems like Hacking & Mind Control come pre-installed on their ships.

How To Unlock

Gaining access to these may seem like a mystery at first, but it's actually not difficult. Simply unlocking four other ships will bring the Lanius Cruiser into the player's hanger like any other ship.

Slug Cruiser - Slimy Telepaths

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They're giant, lifesize slugs — what more is there to be said? They're not the best in combat, but they have low-level psychic abilities that allow them to track the operations of an enemy ship even without sensors. This gives these aliens a distinct advantage in Nebulas, a harsh region of space where such mechanical functions don't work, and thus, they make them their homes.

How To Unlock

In a Slug Home Nebula Sector, entering a regular beacon with a ship-fight warning from Long-Range Scanners will encounter players with a hostile Slug ship. When the ship is almost defeated, they will offer surrender. Accepting this surrender may end the fight (if that happens, this is the wrong event). However, they may instead attempt to bribe players will a prototype weapon.

Players must reject this weapon and instead demand information. Doing this will add a quest marker to the Sector's map. Go there, and a Slug Cruiser will be attacking a construction platform. Tail the platform. To progress from here, players must either have Level 2 sensors or a Slug crew member. They will detect an interceptor ship which the player must then fight. Focus on the ship's engines, as it will attempt to flee. Defeating it unlocks the Slug Cruiser.

Rock Cruiser - A Massive Space Tank

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If players desire a ship with strong defensive capabilities, look no further than the Rock Cruiser. The Rock Playing augment means the ship has a 15% chance to negate any incoming ship damage. The Rock aliens also have extra health and are strong in hand-to-hand combat. Get a top-shelf gaming mouse, the Rock Cruiser, and things should take care of themselves from there.

How To Unlock

While exploring a Rock Homeworld Sector, a non-distress beacon with a ship encounter will bring players up against a large Rock War Vessel. They will taunt the player, and the player must bite back. They will give coordinates to another beacon. Go there, and players must fight the Rock ship while contending with the solar flares of the nearby red giant.

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The ship will attempt to flee when they get to low enough health. The player mustlet them escape. Follow the fleeing ship to a new quest marker. They will congratulate the crew on their victory, and the Rock Cruiser will be unlocked.

Stealth Cruiser - Hiding In Plain Sight

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One of FTL's most powerful systems is the Cloaking Bay. This allows players to evade almost all damage while charging up their weapons for their next attack and is almost vital for victory against the final boss. The Stealth Cruiser starts with one of these by default. However, it has no shields. It can be a mighty ship, but it requires a masterful captain.

How To Unlock

The quest for this ship can be found in an Engi Homeworld Sector on a regular beacon. Players will need an Engi crew member to start the quest. At the beacon, the Engi will tell the player that the Mantis have stolen some advanced tech they were producing. Annoyingly, two ships may potentially have it onboard. Two quest markers will be added to the Sector map: one real, one fake.

There is, unfortunately, no way to tell which is which before arriving. Players can potentially go to both, but it will likely be hard to get to both before the Rebel fleet catches up. Either way, go there, fight the ship and accept surrender when it is offered. Another quest marker will be added to the Sector map. Reaching that marker will have the player fight a Rebel-controlled Mantis ship. Defeat it, and the Stealth Cruiser will be unlocked.

Crystal Cruiser - An Ancient Race

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The Crystal race is somewhat of a mystery in the world of FTL. What is known for certain is that their ships are powerful, and the quest to uncover their ship is a long and difficult one. Unlike most quests, which require finding only one beacon, this requires finding three beacons in the same run, meaning players will have to contend with both luck and the game's permadeath system.

First Beacon

The first can be in any Engi, Pirate, or Rock Sector, and it will be a distress beacon with no ship detected on the Long Range Scanners. There, players will find an abandoned ship in an asteroid field.Searching for the ship gives a small chance of finding the remains. However, having the Rock Plating augment will guarantee finding it. There will be a choice between taking a weapon or a stasis chamber. Pick the stasis chamber.

Second Beacon

The next beacon can be found in any Engi or Zoltan Sector and will be a regular beacon. There, a Zoltan Research Team will ask the player to participate in their study. Instead, ask them if they can fix the stasis pod. They will do so, and the player will receive a Crystal crew member, who will ask to travel to the Rock Homeworld. The Crystal crew member must be kept alive to complete the quest.

Third Beacon

The third and final part is in a Rock Homeworld. The good news is that, as long as the Crystal crew member is still alive, there will be a quest marker here. There will be an ancient device at this beacon, which the Crystal crew member will activate. The player can now jump to a hidden Sector, the Crystal Worlds.

Go through this Sector to the quest marker, and the Crystal Cruiser will be docked and unlocked in the hangar. The player will also receive hull repair, fuel, scrap and the powerful Crystal Vengeance augmentation for their efforts.

Getting The B Layout

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For the B layout on all ships, the process is the same. Each ship has a total of three achievements. By unlocking two of the three achievements on a single A ship layout, players will gain access to the B layout. These achievements, however, will differ from ship to ship.

The Kestrel Cruiser starting ship's achievements will be vastly different than the Crystal Cruiser's achievements, so don't forget to check first. The C layout is inaccessible without the B layout, so those looking to skip a step will be disappointed.

Getting The C Layout

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Gamers will first have to unlock layout B before getting the C layout. Not just that, they'll have to use layout B and have a very successful run with it. By taking a ship with layout B to sector 8, gamers will get the final layout, C, unlocked.

Keep in mind that the B layout does not need to win the game in order to unlock layout C, just getting to the final sector is enough. For those desperate for layout C, plan on losing the final boss and build for maximum protection and survival.

FTL: Faster Than Light was released on September 14th, 2012, and is available for Mobile and PC.

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FTL Faster Than Light: How To Unlock Every Ship (2024)


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