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Best New Apps: 'FTL' for iPad

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Exploring space is even better with a touchscreen

FTL: Faster Than Light is one of the most addictive spaceship simulations you can play — and it turns out it's even better with a touchscreen. First released in 2012 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, FTL tasks you with delivering some very important data to the Galactic Federation headquarters. Standing between you and your goal, though, is a whole lot of space, filled with hostile aliens and treacherous asteroid fields. Your hyperspace drive lets you quickly jump from one star to the next, and along the way you'll do battle with space pirates, barter for fuel, and explore abandoned relics, all while trying to move fast enough to avoid the fleet of rebel ships that's on your tail.

Ideal for playing on the go

Like most strategy games, FTL’s gameplay boils down to menus, whether it's diverting power to your weapons and aiming them at your enemies, or customizing your ship before you venture out into the unknown. This was never quite perfect with a mouse and keyboard, but the new touchscreen controls make the game much easier to play, especially during the intense combat scenarios. Once you get used to the interface, you'll be blasting Mantis Cruisers with ease. The game’s structure also makes an excellent portable experience. FTL is essentially infinitely re-playable — the experience is randomized each time you play, and you'll unlock different ships and equipment that let you try out different strategies. And since a single playthrough can sometimes last less than 10 minutes, it’s an ideal game for playing on the go.

The iPad edition also has all of the same content as its desktop counterparts, including the just-launched "advanced edition" expansion, which adds new features like the ability to clone dead crew members and an even harder difficulty to struggle with. The iPad version will cost you the same $9.99 as on desktop, but considering it's the same game with better controls, it's a fair asking price. You can grab the game now for iPad 2 or higher.